Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998

Conditions in Forest

Alright, your in the forests, now wh...was your food coming from--you, you're just sort of...

Well in sum...in the summer from the fields.

From the fields--so you would w...run out into the fields?

That's all, we lived on potatoes.

And sleeping?

Sleeping, whatever. On, on in the teepee, under the--on the ground.

No one dug any bunkers or anything like that?

No, nothing no. Uh, I'll tell you what uh, what kind of water we had. We had to dig a hole and the water was the, the, the--it was black, it was just like coffee 'cause it was such a swampy area. That's the kind of water we drank and none of us died out of--f...f...from diseases. There were some that died. Very few.

From diseases?

From uh, dysentery, you know uh, but uh, we didn't get sick. The, the, the fear of running from death kept us away from diseases. We uh, constantly under strain of, of uh, being afraid uh, that we were going to get killed--we were subjected every, every hour of the day.

While you were in the forest?


Um, what went through your mind? I mean on a day to day basis, what went through your mind?

Just the day, how will live through the day.

Did you think about your mother? Did you think about...

Of course! Absolutely!

Did you talk to your father about it?

We sat and uh, there were two other people too. We sat and reminisced about the life and the families and--but as I said before, the will to live is stronger than any other feeling.

So you were--there was no doubt in your mind that they had been killed?


You knew for sure?

That they were killed? Oh yes, the people escaped from that area. I had a friend here who escaped from the area and a German uh, supplied uh, um, them with uh, a scissor that the cut the wire and they uh, uh, managed to, to run through bullets. So we knew what was going on.

And Shabbos?

Shabbos was not Shabbos anymore. We were glad to get a piece of bacon of we could.

Your father took...

No uh, I mean that was later on he said, I started crying, the first time I ate bacon, I thought, oh my God, I'll be stricken dead. And he said, "Don't worry about it, these are the times of war." [pause] Hard.

When did this occur to you? That this was a--did you think then something very significant was changed in your life?

Definitely, you kidding?

You thought about...

Of course. It was a significant change. I was sitting and we heard a an airplane flying above us and I said to my sister, "Can you imagine a miracle should happen and uh, an airplane should come down here and take us away to America?" I mean it was such a silly dream--it was a, a dream, it was a dream. And by, by--I, I don't know by uh, uh, should I say to--I was hoping that I'll live through it, no. As I said uh, only th...th...that's why well, I'll, I'll come to the story again. That's why my father, my sister, my brother were killed. Because they went in to the partisans and they, they, they it, it was a fatalism, they knew that they had to get into fight the Germans and maybe this the way they'll, they'll remain alive, but they didn't. They were killed in, in a in--fights.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn