Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

With the Russians

Did anyone say Kaddish for her?

I don't know. But you know, I didn't cry. But you know, somebody said, she is not even crying. But you know, I was dead in effect, I really was not alive any more. And, [Pause] but I should have cried for her. So now, where should I continue? Oh, boy, I think I forgot all kinds of things to tell you. We became scavengers with the Russians. Did I tell you that? We tried to find something because we had nothing, so the villages that we would come to wherever the houses were destroyed, we were always with the Russians, we were going back and forth you know, behind the front like, and when we would come to little villages or a few houses or whatever when they were destroyed, we would scrounge and look and see what we could find. Can you imagine me doing this? Ha.

Did the soldiers take care of you?

They were wonderful. Soldiers used to try and make me, they made camps after a while and they would make fires and they would try to make me feel, they used to sing and dance around the fire and they were very quite, that they always did, and they would try and make me do that, but I was very solemn, very petrified of them and took quite a while before, with only that one man I was comfortable with ... [Pause]

So you saw him?

All the time and I wish I remembered his name. I don't. Can you imagine? But he was, he always came because he changed my bandages, oh I remember, many, many times over and over again, and see the skin sticks to the bandage, whatever crust forms, so it would have been better to leave the bandages off and just let the air heal the [wound], but it would make it raw again. Um, what else can I tell you? So many things happened then. [Pause] Um...

How were you feeling at this point? Angry? Confused? Empty?

I was empty, is what I can tell you. The reason I know that I was empty is because you know the Russians used to catch people and they used to hang them, you know, whomever they caught. Um, I remember specifically two Germans because they were in their uniform, or was it five, and the uniforms, and they know they were crying and um, they were being hung and I had that sense that I wanted to go and pull that rope I was so angry and yet I was unfeeling because I was sort of glad to see them being hung, so I maybe should tell you again of, you know, the way I was watching these bodies being hung and twitching, and the mucous coming out, and I knew that they were people. I should have felt sorry for them, but yet I didn't. So I had two things I just could think, they killed my mother, because I did not associate with that they denied my life til then because I was Jewish, I didn't know what it meant to be Jewish. What did it mean to a child, you're Jewish, what is being Jewish? It did not mean anything to me, all I knew is because of them, all of this was happening and because primarily that my mother had died... I blamed them for that. But yet, I was unfeeling enough that I could take almost pleasure in watching them twitch on the end of the rope. So can you imagine, how old was I, ten by then, to have become so that you can watch people be hung and not feel and want to kill. That's horrible... [Long pause]

Did you talk to your father or sister then? Did you talk to anyone?

No. I never told anybody about that Kapo. Not until five years ago. Never told, No. You know, I think I probably forgot to tell you some things.

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