Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989


So, I assume you didn't bathe regularly?

Oh, not at all.

Did you get sick?

Yeah, I was sick, I was very sick I remember I almost died once. I can see my mother being terribly upset. I can see that she was crying, she was sponging me and she, and the farmer came and I see my father on his knees and to bring something for me. Anyhow, I obviously I didn't die, but again I don't know if my parents or my sister were sick I don't remember this. I just remember the things that were painful to me. I know that in the beginning I said I didn't talk and all this, but I remember in the beginning when I used to cry when I used to not be able to go downstairs. I remember that I, you know my mother, that's the only tender thing, although she did all these wonderful things, she used to take my face and she used to hug me and hold my face with both hands and um, [whisper] she used to tell me to be quiet. She used to call me a little kleinekädigen. And I can still hear it, isn't that funny?

Were there vermin?

That is all I remember, you know, um, there was no way of washing, there was no water, just for drinking purposes and I see us day after day after day sitting and cracking lice off each other, I refer to this as monkeys do in the zoo, you know, that is the way we did it. I see, there was a special noise, and the blood would come out, but you had to do it, you know, there was everywhere we were covered, we were absolutely covered because it's not just a few days, we were there such a long time, that you decay and I remember my mother, again, see my mother, I remember by mother laying me down and my father from one side and my mother from the other side they were cracking lice on me, cleaning me up and I remember my sitting and doing this to my father, crackling lice, not see my sister, but that was a daily routine we had to do it, you know we all developed such a welts from the lice, they used to infect under the skin and it was very difficult, you had to push on the skin, like this before the eggs should come out, you know, or whatever.

Did anyone contract typhus from this?

There? In the attic, no. I remember the illness before in the camp.

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