Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Living With Catholic Peasants

Did she, did she feed you? I mean, did you give her any money, or how, did she?

My husband promised that the, if the war is over and she feel that she give him, he give her a big amount. But if, she didn't need for it for that one, because how could she know that we will give it. She did it for good will. And the first night, so we couldn't sleep and I asked her to put on the light, and we had millions of fleas. It was impossible to sleep. So she told us to, to, to wash our body with petroleum and then, and the fleas didn't like the smell...

But neither did you.

but we couldn't sleep. So we slept, we stayed with her only for two days, because it was impossible to sleep. And I had this book already so I started... We were thinking, if I think back now, how did I have the guts after two days to go and look around for another house who would they accept us. How I have the guts after two days, and went, in fact, and went to the next village and there I got a room with a clean, peasant person. They had two bedrooms and they had a living room. They were, uh... How do you call it, unalphabetic? They cannot...

Illiterate.

Illiterate. But they were rich as, as, what, as, as peasants are concerned. They, they were richest in the village, but they are very plain peasant, peasant people. Peasants

And again you promised to pay them after the war?

No, no, no. I, they didn't... Then I went already as a Catholic. I didn't have to promise anything. From then on when I was sitting on the truck I became a Catholic person.

But even as a Catholic would somebody feed you like that?

No, no, not, I rented a room from her.

Oh.

I rented a room from her and our... We were safe partly that this period was coincided with that, that, the Germans were, German forces were... forwarding?

Marching forward. Yeah.

Yeah. And people were running from certain villages who didn't like the Germans. And then the, there are, in the country there were a lot of refugees. So I rented this room and I said. I'm a refugee for running away from the German Army.

Ah, I see.

From the, running away, I don't even know it was that time it was, yeah, running away from the city. So anyway, I became a refugees, but not a Jewish refugees, but refugees of the war. And she gave us a room where we lived for a few months in peace and they loved us. And they loved my son. My name was in, in this paper was Elizabeth and I gave my son the name of Joseph. But he didn't have extra papers, so, but they, I didn't have to show the papers. So he came with me as my son and we lived there for a few months and they liked him very much. In fact the woman said, the peasant women said that ??? it was my name Elizabeth Packney. But not my real name, my real name was Peroshka but they called me Bzsi. I want to adopt your son, he's such a good boy, you have no husband, what will you do? We would like to adopt your son. So I was a widow according to the papers. And so she, they wanted to adopt my son.


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