Warshaw Ghetto

Sahbra Markus Surviving The Holocaust Part 6 Wild Train Ride

by Ari Schonbrun



Sahbra Markus Surviving The Holocaust Part 6 Wild Train Ride



In this episode, Sahbra Markus continues sharing her story from the point we left off with her father being arrested by the Russians. She describes how her mother’s constant letter writing came in very handy. The miraculous way her father is released from the prison and where the family’s journey took them next. This story is so complex you are not going to want to miss a minute.

Episode Transcription


Intro Plays

Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Barry Sherman. I’m your host. We are now going into part six of Sabra marks amazing story from the Holocaust. Please help me welcome Sabra. Marcus

Sabra How are you last time we spoke


Sahbra: My mom had done some amazing miracles that you know hiding the saccharin in your brother’s diapers, which was amazing. And then your dad came home your papa came home. And then we left off it seems that the Russians came to the door again and then they knocked on the door and they came to arrest your papa. And that’s where we stopped. So what happened? So before I go there, I forgot to mention that when those soldiers were in the house searching, they kept walking by next to my brother saying they stink. Why don’t you do something you lazy woman? Why don’t you wash them? They stink the place they use take overs think everything is things? Is your daughter filthy also. And my mother looks at me and I could see that she says to do not Yes. Yes.


I was no longer in diapers, the boy that I stayed.


So the door Yes, broken this time hanging halfway off the hinges. Marcus, you’re under arrest. You’re a thief. Somebody came forward


and told on him.


Now, obviously, it was a lie. But he was promised a loaf of bread. He would have said anything. Oh, God was one of the workers that worked with Papa, someone that pretended to be his friend


that a loaf of bread can do many things.


They took away.


My mother was a prolific letter writer. I think everyone on earth has received at least one of her letters.


She kept in touch with everyone just to find out that they’re still alive. If Hitler didn’t get them.


She remembered she had a cousin in Moscow.


A woman that is or was


in charge of transportation. She was a very high ranking officer


in charge of transportation for father for mother, Russia, during the war.


She wrote to her letters and wrote and wrote and wrote


and was hoping that she could at least influence someone to let Papa go


up my Topas


will send up to the around mountains where the coal mines are.


That Mama was informed and everyone in the camp there knew no one leaves those mountains. No one needs those caves. No one leaves that place. Once you’re there, you become part of the scenery you become part of slave gangs. And that’s it. You just have to write your own appetites. You’d say you’re done.


Proper try to stay by the wayside. mind his own business, stay in his own cell. Stay away from people my father’s English and my father’s Russian. You could tell he was not a native Russian.


And if you listen very carefully, you could tell it’s a Jew.


And those criminals were not about to allow a Jew live.


And so they came to conclusion that Papa better be put in isolation, or they’ll be missing a worker.


Time was going by.


Time was going by weeks are going by


and why


One day there is noise.


It sounded like a revolution was taking place. And in essence, it was a revolution.


The convicts, the prisoners decided,


working so hard as they have,


not having food. And drinking horrifically filthy water, and becoming more and more sick,


was not going to be a way to survive. And so they decided, you’re going to be dead in a few weeks or a few months anyway.


Maybe some will succeed, and get out of that hell, and make it into civilization and survive. So it was worthwhile to have an uprising


in that prison to see maybe a handful which survive.




papa sees many of them running by himself.




one of them screamed at him, hey, Marcus, come join us. You may be one of those that will survive come Marcus.


Persisting self well.


My chances of surviving staying here and then I might as well take a chance. It’s a prisoner pricing is stupid. You shouldn’t join it. Go do it.


So papa joins them. And he’s running.


And he follows everyone that’s running. And it was done so well that they were actually outside,


outside the prison gates, outside that entire confinement.


Here’s someone breathing heavy next to him. He looks and it’s one of the first parts. And the prisoner the prison guards are saying, hey, Marcus,


what’s wrong with you fool? Why are you running with them? He says well, better to die in free air. Then be in that stench? He says, but your release papers came this morning.


I’m chasing you.


Idiot. If you keep running with them, you will die for sure.


I have papers to take you to the train to send you back to Murray.


You do. So purposes I don’t believe you. He says


he shows him a big package. He says a letter doesn’t come in a package. He says it’s full of money.


Black Market money. He says for work. He says for your transportation to get out of here and to go to Moscow to your cousin.




What the black market can do is quite phenomenal. Because you see, just because you don’t know how to deal with it or how to operate. It doesn’t mean there are some people that are in procession in that field.


So he grabbed Harbor, he grabbed by zebras father, he grabbed my father by the arm, and the two of them are running because my father’s feet are in terrible shape. They’re full of blisters, and they’re bleeding.


So he drags and carries and helps him. And he said I was to release you when I came to your celebree there. What is wrong with you?


He says I was gonna die of starvation and disease. Not according to your content. Who the hell is your cousin?


He was able to send money look at this money. So Father says Well, why didn’t you keep it?


So generous? That’s exactly what I was thinking. Why would he? Why wouldn’t he have kept the money even say that the money arrived? Right? He says because that person cousin of yours is so big. If you are not found alive where she says you should be. And if you don’t say you receive this amount.


The common dance of this person will slit my throat. Oh my God.




he said I will take you to this station. I brought you clothing. I brought your socks and shoes


and made sure everything is big. I used money from your package to buy everything. And now do all this on one condition. And Papa says oh I knew there would be a condition but condition coverage.


And he said the condition is bigger


Half and half on the money, I’m starving.


And Papa looked at him. He says, Take me there.


Show me a way to get back to my wife and children.


And I will let you have half of what’s there he says, I already use some of it for clothing and food for the for you have packages.


So in that you can say he was kind, or you could have totally taken all the money and escape the present during the Prison Break. Sure, and pop over the head nothing.


He got him to a place where he was able to find rides to go home.


He came back


again, my father day, absolute eternal optimist. Those finds a job in a different nature.


got eight. And Mama says we have some money now.


And he said lawyer, how did you do this? She says remember cousin galena?


Sortland. Your cousin She’s your cousin, her father and your mother.


Or brother and sister? She said yes.


You found her. I said I wrote the styling.


You wrote the letters to starting vote Are you insane?


She says with the letter got bearish and they read the letter and they found galena Cogan, and she’s a big hero in honor. And for the love of her nation. She not only is in charge of the transportation, prep, transport,


bringing food and bringing weapons and bringing everything else to the frontlines. She lost an eye in honor of her motherland.


So of course, they will do what she asked.


Peppa said, after working in the bakery for some weeks and excelling in his job and doing fantastic work, and soldiers were eating, and he was making special wonderful things for the officers.


They decided that he can’t be just a regular peasant. They have to make him an honorary member of the Communist Party.


Popper came home that evening from work, and he said, joy over. That’s Deborah, in Yiddish. We’re leaving.


And she says, But Velvel I don’t think we can. Why not? She says, he’s she says that you’re shaking, your malaria is back. You’re sick. You need to go into bed and you need to stay there.


I’m just gonna keep an eye on the children.


Again, I’m there with two toddlers.


And Mama runs away. Mama comes back with a doctor and he’s got a whole bunch of little packets had paper packets.


And they’re full of quinine.


And the doctor I’m listening to what he says and you are to take a glass of water and you’re to open that package and you pour it in a do it so many times a day and put all the blankets in the world you own on top of him. So while Mama was done, I kept covering him with blankets and he kept kicking them off and that just went on till she came back.


Two days went by and Power BI still violently ill.


And he said well, we have to get out of here. I did not apply for the Communist Party for the documentation. They will arrest me I will be send away again.


She says I went to the


I went to the train station to see how we can possibly get out.


There’s not a single passenger train coming by.


Well, what did you see? I didn’t see a train other than military trains that are going to the front. Nothing nothing or trains that are carrying goods to the front.


And he says we can stay here. Today’s the last day pack everything we can have everything we can use.


Mama packed. So there we are. We are hiking and Jaco and I and big Backcolor big bundles of things.


And she says why are we going to the train? He said Leave it to me. I’ll take care of it.


Mama spreads a blanket on the train station on the floor, only a matter of maybe 1015 feet from the actual railroad tracks.


And we’re sitting there, I’m holding out to my little brothers and I’m have my legs are one bundle and my brother’s pressed against the other two. And I’m holding on to the bundles as well.


And Mama is standing next to us seeing waiting for a signal from top if there’s anything she needs to do.


Then she sat down with us and she wasn’t sitting all of maybe five minutes when another train came in every time that came was full of soldiers. Half of them were leaning out the windows hoping there was someone there, they could buy a piece of something.


And finally another train came we were there for hours and hours. And we were starving. And mama had hidden the food in the packages. Finally she took out a chunk of bread and gave us each for us to munch on an old woman came down she says I’ll watch your children. Give me a few few pieces of bytes of bread, just a couple of bites.


So Mama gave her a chunk of bread and she sat there guarding us.


Until she decided to rob one of the packages. Mama slept her hand and told her to get out, slapped up, slapped her and never saw my mother hit anyone.




a train came again overflowing with humans. My father said take that big package and come stand next to me.


So Mama took that gigantic package.


And she came to stand next to him.


The train stopped. Papa ran a few steps further to the left.


He looked and look and look and he said Joy violet, come here.


He grabbed my mother. And I saw him attempting to push her through a window.


You couldn’t push anything through that window.


When she got to the taxi, shoved them shoved and open the window a little more.


He said My mind’s too big and she was a skeleton for God’s sake. And he shot and he shot then she got through the window. And then he served a package that’s 50 times bigger than the window and Mama grabbed and yanked and pulled and he pushed and she grabbed and yanked the package went in. Papa came running took high and


practically threw him into mother’s heart arms. She pulled him through the window. Then she did with Yakov. Then he took the packages. Then he grabbed the rag and me the blanket that we were sitting on. He threw us to the window. Mama slept us say. And she kept looking at us and doing this Quiet. Quiet. No one’s say a word. No one’s Be quiet. And look. Where’s papa? And Papa is jumping. And mumbles buddy is more than halfway out the window. So I was holding on to her legs. I was afraid Mama was going to pull up. So she pulls an iPod and she pulls then I pull them then I saw my father’s fingers holding onto the windowsill and she dragged him in. Then I saw her holding his spins. And she dragged them and drag them and then he came tumbling on top of all of us. And then Papa turn immediately sitting with his knee in my chest. And I thought he was going to crush me. And he yanked on the window and closed it and then he looked at us and he said she helped


me to Nishan Sheridan, it is forbidden to speak. You mustn’t speak and there we are. We’re lying on the floor, on top of packages on top of each other


to speak, we are dying of


our eyes are burning from the stench of the place.


They’re not speaking. No one is speaking and we’re breathing Quietly, quietly


and I hear voices from outside.


I tell you I saw them


they sneak them through the window.


are a bunch of Jews. I am sure of it. I tell you I saw them go look in that room you’ll see I am telling you that to all You’re an idiot and you’re drunk get outta here. I tell you I saw them he pushed him through the window urinated took the besides of that when the nose human can go through that window and they pushed in big banjos once he started talking about all the big bundles, for sure he was a drunk and stupid to now get rid of that bum.


And they told them you had to rock your stupid.


Nobody can go through that little window. Let us all an adult man and a woman and gigantic bundles. So some berries shoved them because I couldn’t hear his voice anymore. And so when the train started to move,


and it’s moving, and it’s moving,


and Papa whispers to us. Is anybody in pain? Is anyone hurt? Are you okay? Is anyone hurt? Is anyone in pain? No, papa. No. They dragged out. My brother is hurt. I don’t know where he was. But I can I I had his shoulders. So I figured the rest of it was attached. So I kept pulling and pulling. I said these high definition.


Kotlin native Ciriaco young color. Young color. Yeah. Okay. Young color. And he looked at me and smiled. Young color was always ready for a smile in their receipt. And then we were not moving.


So papa and mama and the kids. Were all trying to find out where the rest of our limbs are. You were looking for arms legs, and


my mom was putting the two little ones on the big bundle.


Imma let you okay. Yes, Mama. Time. My leg. Okay, you okay? Yes.


As we’re getting organized. A fist


is better banging on the door. Now let me ask you something before you go on. What was like? What was this? This was already a train car. But was there like no Pete? Was it a cargo


compartment or was it most of matrix when I said it was packed with soldiers going to Right? Right? I know. But I’m saying like you’re I can’t I won’t answer this question right now. You can have to wait another minute. Okay.


So that’s this is banging on the door. You’ve been there a long time get out.


You’re not the only one in this train that needs to pee.


And Papa such soon give me another minute.


So he gave him another minute and then he banged on the door again. I’m gonna pee in my pants. Get out.


Come on. What’s the matter with you? You’re not the only one on this train. That’s the only bathroom.


Wow. Get out. And still my father was making a move.


After 10 minutes of others banging and more banging and more banging somebody yelled. Maybe that drunken the train station was right. Maybe there’s a Jew hiding in there.


And so Papa had to open the door because the officer said did you open the door immediately or I’m going to shoot through it.


And Papa responded if you shoot through the door, you will kill two beautiful Russian boys, future soldiers. So Mother Russia.


So they will know shooting.


The door opened up.


The problem was you couldn’t open the door. We were taking up all the space and all the air and every inch of it.


So we had to rearrange ourselves.


Papa said we will need help to get out. We are stuck. How many of you? He says a family and many bundles.


Several soldiers volunteered. They helped our packages out of there and put against one of the doors by roll.


Then they started peeling out humans out of that bathroom.


They brought us all out


and they stood there in shock.


The size of the bundles the size of the humans and the number of people that came out of that battle.


And the officer said, you know, the punishment for boarding a military player train. And Father said, is it more than death?


He says, No, it is death.


Now going to the front, Father said, well, Had we stayed we would have died of starvation or beatings.


What are we going to do with you?


Father said, I am a great cook. Armies walk on their stomachs. I can help cooking I’ll feed you. I am good.


The coming down to that


officer looked at an SSR cook. That second step behind you want to cook for you says I am great. That’s where I learned from my father. When many, many years ago, some anti Semite said can you actually dance? And I said, Don’t be silly. I am great.


I remembered my father’s words. And because it was an anti Semite, he deserved to be put down like that. I am great. Wait till you see me. I will charge you double. And that was a magnificent, big night up in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


The number one anti Semite club have ever entered owners and patrons.


So they brought us out of there.


One soldier yelled, give me him.


And they insisted they want to hold Yaakov in their lap and play. Then a voice from another side. From the right side of the train by the window. A beautiful tall man stood up. He says, I want her. She looks just like my little girl at home. Give me to hold her. Give me the beautiful little girl. So he took me. I was handed from soldier to soldier to soldier from one row to the next over everybody’s heads. They just did the same with time. One soldier actually jumped up and walked over to my mother. Mom’s mom’s cadivi and he almost carried dragged her to his seat for her to set.


And all the soldiers kept offering us food.


Ari: Wow. Wow. Wow.

Okay, that’s you’ve been listening to whispers and bricks. This was part six of sobre Marcus’s amazing story. Until next time, when we’re going to continue with part seven. Listen to the whispers avoid the breaks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.