Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Living in a Bomb Shelter

You lived in this, the proletariat section for, how long did you say? I didn't uh, I don't think I asked.

Six months or so.

And by that time, then what happened?

So there, there was a lot of bombing, we went, we went to live in the shelter, in the same house, in the shelter. But they didn't have a big shelter, they had coal, they, they stored coal inside, in the basement. That was our shelter.

So you had to live in the basement now.

In the basement. We lived there for, sometimes we didn't even come up. We lived in the last two, three weeks, we lived always in the shelter because there was too much bombing and we couldn't just, we went up, went up and the siren sound again, sounded again. We had to go down and up. And it was dangerous, so everybody lived in the... So we didn't change dress for three weeks. So you can do a lot...

How many people were in the bomb shelter?

I can't tell you, I really can't tell you. Just I know that one person slept next to us. We slept on haystacks, one person slept with us, next to us who coughed a lot, he had TB and I was so worried about it.

So the hygiene must have been terrible.

Oh yeah, sure. And then we lived with this woman, before we came, went to, to the basement, they had a four-year-old daughter. We lived there. The mother and the daughter and the daughter's daughter, a grandmother, two generations in the same room. You know they had, I told you that they had only one room and no toilet. And, and the little girl four-years-old, she had to go, at night she had to go to the toilet. But they didn't take her up. They had a basin, a little basin where you washed your hand and you washed yourself. She made pee in this little basin. And we washed in the morning and we washed ourself. And my son was very upset that we always had to wash ourself in the, after Ethel, E-t-h-e-l, Ethel, Ethel, Ethel, so that she made pee pee at night and we had to... You had to adjust.

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