Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

Returning to Metz

Were you thinking of going home?

Of going home where?

To Metz?

Oh, I've been back to Metz.

No, I mean then.

Oh, I did not even have any concept of Metz any longer.

Was your father thinking on those terms?

After the war? Oh yes.

So that's where you went?

In, um, the card that I found, which is the card repatrier is a somewhere in the middle of '45 so I was very ill, um, so [sighs] I don't know why we didn't, some people got back early '45 right to their countries or wherever they were. I don't know why it took such a long time, we were with the Russians all this time until we were sent back to, I think Katowice, where they started cleaning us. But I was with the Russian army that long of time.

Then they sent you, what, on a train, truck?

No, with a military plane, the plane was totally hollow, it went to Czechoslovakia and from Czechoslovakia to Paris. A military plane.

You went to Katowice before this?

Before the plane?


Yeah, I think from there we were sent. There were two or three different areas where they were de-licing us and cleaning us and whether they were doctors or people examining us and I hated that.

Always Russian?

I did not understand, no, not always, at first it was just a Russian infirmary and then it was other people that I didn't understand their language they were speaking. Maybe it was the Red Cross, maybe it was, I don't know. I had no concept of Red Cross, or this or if, I just saw people. You know, I was, don't forget that the war started for me at a very young age and you become just an animal, I became an animal, subhuman, when you are not talked to and when you are not fed, you are not allowed a normal way of life, so called normal, whatever normal is. Then I had no concept of anything, everything that I would encounter was like a new world for me because I was a child when I went in. Excuse my sniffling.

What next?

What next. When we were sent back you mean?

Well, while you were with the Russians, you at least had some comfort.

They were wonderful. They were wonderful, they would sing. They were kind to me. Uh, what my father did in those times I don't know, all I can see is the physical the constant changing of my bandages and that one time with that cutting open of my scalp which was extremely painful, I thought it was my father that did it, but no he just held my arms and head. But, they were kind. I hear stories that they say that they were not but I do not see one cruel thing the period I was with them and it must have been several months. I spoke Russian fluently after that when it was finished. See, I don't remember, I can't even talk about this time limits because I spoke Russian but then a child learns, they tried to make me, he used to sit me on his lap and whisper in my ears and he must have taught me.

Somehow you wound up in Paris?

Yes, and they cleaned us there again. I don't know who brought us there and I don't know which organization. They must have been some organization. We were then sent back by train to Metz and we were received in Metz by an aunt and uncle that had lived in Metz before the war with us except they did not go to the wedding. It was from my mother's side. They did not go to the wedding, so they ended up in Switzerland during the war. So they survived. Anyhow, we were received by them and we were given a tiny apartment, two rooms for the three of us.Life was really unbearable then. That was another hell for me for many years to come until I cameto the United States.

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