Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

Death of Mother

Your mother was sick?

No, she was not sick. On that road, something happened, I don't know if it was an airplane again or if it was the front was right with us, we were made to leave the truck and run into the fields and my mother got hit. I don't know what happened. To this day, I see this blood running down, a great deal of blood, my sister said that she was not hit, but I am not sure that she did not say that for the reason to spare me for some reason, but I see the blood on her, um, and I don't see my father, my sister maybe they had run away to another cavity in the road, but I didn't stay by my mother. At any rate, how do I have to talk about this? At any rate she, the Russians came back, I don't know, I seem to think it was an airplane raid, maybe it was not, I sometimes, um, [Pause] but at any rate, the Russians came back and they took her to this infirmary or whatever and my father said that we found an abandoned like a destroyed house and my sister and I stayed in this destroyed shack or house or whatever. It was all stone and he went with my mother and then he came running for us and we had to be carried. Anyway, she was laying on this cot and she, they had bandaged her hip, but you know, [Pause] I cannot forgive her to this day. She was covered with lice all over the bandage all over the bed, all over her, it had multiplied. All I can see in my mind is one big, just like you see ants on a huge hill, that was my mother with lice and vermin, totally covered. They did not take care of her. She was a Jewess... [Pause]She died. [Pause]Anyhow.

While you were there she died?

Yeah -- I watched her die. She was dying and she knew it. She didn't say nothing -- she didn't say nothing. Any rate, um, [Pause] I didn't say nothing. I did not even cry, can you imagine that? Anyway these are things that should be forgotten.

Were your father and sister there too?

Yeah, I see all of us standing around her bed and you know I see other people and I look, when I look into this space, this picture, I see other people laying in their beds not crawling with lice. Why didn't they take care of her? Anyway, I forgot a little sequence, I'm gonna skip this. It was a time with the Russians.

Do you want to tell us about it?

You know that Russian, that nice man, did I ever tell you about this? You know, I was with this infection in my head and at first they were attending to my hands and when they were removing the bandages, the Russians, this one soldier was holding me on his lap and another soldier would remove the bandages from my arms and because it was so painful because the skin would stick to the bandages, he would rock me on his lap and he would sing sort of whisper in my ear and try to make me sing and to divert the pain from the removal of the bandages of my arms and hands. This is just one of the good experiences of my life. The pain was excruciating but this marvelous human being, I don't know if that is important, I don't know, do you want to know about the cutting of my swelling on my head?

Did the Russians do it?

Well, my father held me, who did it I don't know.

In the Russian field hospital?

It was, yes. They just laid me down; cut it open.

Without anesthesia?

There was no anesthesia. Um, that was extremely, [Pause] I don't know, I guess I, there was a lot of physical pain involved in that whole -- that part is very difficult. But the Russians were very nice. I should get back to what we did with my mother. We wrapped her in a blanket, we did not have any wood for a box and we buried her near the road there.

Just the three of you?

No, there was some other people there. I don't know whether they were Jews or not, maybe my father somehow got a few Jews together. I have no recollection. But I know, I see other human beings around. But what we did, we dug with our hands, we covered her up and then we went back on the truck, um... [Pause]

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