Plock became a ghetto annexed to the German Reich and towards the end of 1941 the town’s Jewish population was displaced to Piotrkow “General Government”, a fictitious Polish governing entity. From there it was taken to small labor camps and a starving existence, especially one named Blizyn near Skarżysko-Kamienna. In Blizyn was manufactured military uniforms and I repaired sewing machines.
From there we were evacuated to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. In Auschwitz (where the number tattooed on my armwas 1241-B) my job was to dismantle shot-down German aircraft for reuse of ball bearings and tires, until the Soviet Army cameclose, and Auschwitz-Birkenau was closed and the inmates were sent to different concentration camps. My destiny was Mauthausen, Austria. From there I was taken to Vienna, where I worked in a truck factory.
When the Russian Army closed in, the camp was sent back to Mauthausen walking all the way.
Our food consisted of grass, literally.The transport from Vienna were over 3,000 starving people, reaching Mauthausen less than 300 emaciated skeletons.
My liberators were Jewish-American soldiers when they broke the steel gates with their tank. The clock above showed 5 minutes to five in the evening, so my new birthday is 5 times 5: 5minutes to 5, the 5th of May 1945. Since then I celebrate the fifth of May as my birthday.
After recovering for a while I was on my (way) to Italy with the intention of reaching Palestine.
In Italy we were separated in Adriatica camp, Milano, where I was hospitalized. Pela, Genia, Samuel were taken at midnight for departure to Palestine, without my knowledge.
A while later Adriatica was dissolved and the people were sent to different displaced persons camps in Italy.
Our theater group were sent to Rome as a unit.
Rome, Italy. 27 December 1946.
From there we traveled to camps of survivors, “She’arit Haplaita” and played Yiddish theater.
Our repertoire consisted mostly of comedy and lively sketches in order to boost their mood and morale. They could not get enough.
Displaced persons camps in Italy : Rubin Bri in the center holding a bottle acting a play
Displaced persons camps in Italy : Rubin Bri in the center with a hat acting a play
Displaced persons camps in Italy : Rubin Bri in the center with a black hat and a beard
During that time letters started arriving from Pela from Cyprus advising me not to go illegally, not to go through the same ordeal as they had suffered.
When the Italian authorities decided to close the displaced persons camps, I decided with the advice of the Shaliach from the Sochnut who was also our theater director to choose the USA.
So I came to America. In New York I worked in a factory producing industrial sewing machines and played partially professional theater there by the name of Folks-Bienah (Folksbiene).
….(Part missing) speaking theater (professional) left inthe United States. (I) participated in the theater without pay, until Pela andI were married in Montreal, Canada with the participation of the brothers Borenshtein and family.
Pela wanted a child very much against the advice of doctors because it was discovered she had a congenital heart failure,a hole between the chambers.
Pela disregarded their advice and became pregnant twice, but unluckily she had miscarriages.
We both lived with the intention of coming to live in Israel and prepared for it. We wanted to join the families Liderman who came to Israel from Cyprus and Garbasz who came previously from Italy.
Destiny was cruel to Pela. She had an accident at home and broke 2 ribs. She was taken to Montefiore hospital where she contracted Legionnaires’ disease.
Pela and Rubin Bri. New York.
She died in the hospital in the presence of her sisters Genia Liderman and Renia Garbasz, and myself.
We decided to bring Pela’s body to Israel for burial in Kiryat-Shaul cemetery in Tel-Aviv.
This is the 14th memorial anniversary which I observe yearly