Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

Life in the Barn

You said that you felt you were decaying, as you were, did your health get worse?

You know, I don't remember after a while at all. I remember that there was no stories after a while, we did not go to the crack, at least I see myself, I know there was this one indentation, maybe the roof was like this, and I used to sit and just look against it part of the roof and I was so hungry all the time, and you know, you become numb. You really have no feeling after awhile, you are dead in effect, no emotions one way or the other, in the beginning you do, but after a while your just a piece of flesh and I see myself just sitting all the time, constantly sitting, in the beginning when it was hot the seasons, I know the seasons were drastic, Ukrainian seasons I think are very drastic, but anyway, when it was hot I could hear the children outside, and I thought I heard splashing and I would close my eyes and sort of transport myself that I was in water or walking in the rain or something and I would actually feel the rain on me. So, um, I just remember this silence and remember the buckets, the smell of the buckets. The one bucket maybe he did not change it everyday, maybe only every other day. I remember I could not eliminate at all for a period of time, I must have, but I just remember not being able to go to that smelly bucket. I remember the chickens outside and they must have had pigs because I remember the honkings of the pigs and I wondered what they were like. I always tried to see what the outside of the barn was like. There was one piece of hay that was, one bail that had much courser hay then some of the others and I sort of would make houses in my mind from it. I don't remember very much, I don't remember any hugging of my parents if you want to know stuff like that. I don't feel anything at all except pain. We had no books, we had nothing, and we could not talk, I feel the sense that even at night you shouldn't talk because what if somebody crawls against the wall of the barn and hears you. So we really truly um, I said tomy sister, we became animals and she was terribly offended by the parallel of us as human being with an animal. She said, "no we were just human beings that suffered beyond endurance."But we were animals at that point. At least I was. We were not human any longer and I think that had we stayed, I don't know how we survived all this time, how can a human being survive like that in such an enclosed quarters and they were small because as I said, all the space was, was perhaps two feet, two and one half feet around the blanket. How can you, I can't even imagine, I can't even, um, you know, it's like um, an invented, it cannot be reality. Why did we survive, how is it possible for a minimum, of two years?

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