Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - November 19, 1981

Surviving a Bombing

There was one incident, and we had another incident, which was very interesting. Uh, there was a Befehl--that means there was an order--that if there is alarm--that if the armies are coming to bomb there was an alarm. Uh, what do you call it? Not an alarm--yeah, an alarm, you know, they had the siren going.

[interruption in interview]

And uh, they had to take us to a shelter. And so they put us in uh, four in a row and we're marching and we're with the SS men on each side. We get to that shelter and one side of the shelter was completely bombed, the other was intact. And he walks and--naturally to the one intact--and the Germans that were in there, they said they wouldn't sit with the Juden. So uh, he had a little argument and he said, "There was a Befehl," which means it's an order and uh, he couldn't win. So he had no choice, we went in on the other side. There was--it wasn't really a shelter, but uh, that's the best he could do. But we had a good God, and watches over some people. I guess it was meant to be for us to live. The bomb fell, and fell on the one that was intact. There wasn't one soul that came out alive from there.

And the others?

And none of us were hurt. Nothing was touched. It, it was just fate. That's why sometimes now, when I do something, my whole heart is in it. I feel there was something--I was left for some reason because I was set in front of the gas chamber, ready to go in. I was taken away from there, at the last moment. Here was uh, an incident where I could have been killed, just like that. I still survived. And why was I better than the other six million? This is my own uh, little thought. And I'm not sorry for what I'm doing that. I'm helping others. It just makes me feel better.

Do you know what happened to that woman? Did you ever...

Yes. There is, there is an end to that. Uh, all of a sudden we were taken away from Bremen. They uh, they told us that the Russians are coming and it's not safe for us to be there. It was so retarded. They wanted to save us. They are taking us away from there, and they'll put us into another camp, where we're gonna be safe. They took us to Bergen-Belsen. Got a loaf of bread uh, stuck in a cattle car again and we're traveling. Three days. Three nights. It was like forever.

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