Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Food Rations in the Ghetto

Random. Tell me what it was like, if you can remember. Did you remember standing in line for the rations?

For the food rations? No. For the, for the uh, uh, soup, yes.

This is at work.


And what were the rations that you would get for the family?

That was the food rations. You'd get a piece of uh, turnip, maybe uh, some potatoes. It was all on a scale, you know, but little pieces. You'd get uh, maybe uh, bread, like, well at first you'd probably get about uh, 200 grams, which was a nice slice. But later on as it went on it got smaller and smaller.

Was your father able to supplement this with uh, when he worked in the, in the field?

Some of it, yes. Yeah, yeah.

With stale vegetables?

That's right. And also when he worked in the uh, you know in the summertime he worked in the field. In the winter he worked in this uh, uh, vegetable warehouse, which we probably had it better than the average person because uh, always somethin' gets rotten, you know. Before they throw it away, why he'd uh, take it home.

Would he have to sneak it out?

Uh, I don't think so. No, he wouldn't, no, he wouldn't steal. He wouldn't take a chance on stealing, because he, it was a good job and he would uh, lose the job. So apparently it was uh, uh, it was okay with the higher ups to take something that was half rotten.

Were, were people starving?

Oh yeah, oh yeah.

And what was that like, to see people starving?

Always saw people's swollen legs like, like balloons and once your leg, you saw 'em, whe...whe...when their legs started to swell up you knew they were ready to...they wouldn't last very long. You know, they were real skinny on their body but their legs would be very swollen from the knee uh, down. Oh, the ankles I should say mostly, uh.

Anyone in your family?

No. No.

You said that there was no running water and the sanitary facilities were less than...


Sanitary. Um, so were there lice?

In the ghetto, not too bad, no. I suppose there were some, but not, we didn't have too, we didn't have too much, no. We tried to, my mother was a real stickler for cleanliness and uh, I don't remember having any lice in the ghetto. But plenty of 'em in the concentration camp.

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