Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998


So the partisans took care of you when you had typhus?

We took care of ourselves. Because if, if we would have had to be transported to another village, I don't know if we could make it or they would have--I don't know if they would even have transportation for us. You know the, the, the value of a person was nil. So one would go, there will be one less person. But you, you know, I uh, uh, I was doing my private things right under me because I was sick. I couldn't get up. They through me out of the house. And I was lying in the snow for probably f...ten, fifteen minutes. And I, I could hardly get up. So who cared? They hardly bring me--brought me a glass of water. It was my luck that my resilience was so strong. I made it. I made through--some people died. And not old people, they were all young people. They died.

S...s...so they threw you out of the--was...

And then, then I came, by myself I came back into the house. Okay. And then, when my fever broke--oh, at a...about that time, my father got--learned about that I am, that I am sick. So he came to see me. He came with my sister. And he was standing there and he, he was crying. And I sort of like through a, a, a, daze and I started crying and I said, "Why did you abandon me? Look what's happening to me. I am dying here." He said, "Yes, I know, but I'm helpless. I, I, I, I can only be here a few minutes and, and I had a good leader and he, he let me go for a few minutes. I told him that you were sick." So he stayed and looked at me and I looked at him. And he, he didn't even give me a kiss. I wouldn't kiss him because he was afraid to catch the disease. And he left. And soon after, my fever broke and as my fever broke, uh, this was the time when they were still having--when they still had airplanes coming into the, to that uh, village. And uh, um, they, they took me to a house. And I, I came across a boy from my city, I recognized his father. And his father told me that he's waiting, he's next to be transported in a airplane to, to Russia because he froze his feet while they were, while they were in the, in the forest. So I said, "Oh, my God, maybe they'll take me too?" But who listened? Who, who? There was nobody to talk to. So they shaved my head and they sort of dis...disinfected my clothing. And they put me in a house. And uh, I stayed there maybe a day or so. Oh, my father came again to visit me with my sister. I never saw my brother anymore. And he said--so then I was already--my fever was gone. So we went to this um, um, uh, officer and he begged him that he should, he should take care of me and if I'll get better, he should tra...transfer me to his battalion. And he promised him. So he went, they went back with the hope that I'm getting better and when everything will--I mean, when, when I'll get, when I'll recuperate a little bit more, so they'll take me to their battalion. Anyway, that um, a, a day later they came--two soldiers came with rifles and they said to me, "You come. Come with us." And I said, "Where?" At that point, I already lost my working papers, so that I couldn't work. And I couldn't, I couldn't hear very well. So they said to me, "You know, this is war and you're in the partisans. And we cannot afford to have sick people. You are already immune to the sickness, so you have to go back and take care of somebody else." So they brought me to another house. And they brought a woman that was very sick. She was burning up with fever. And they had assigned a horse and buggy with a, with a driver, because she was a mistress of one of the big officers. And in that house I stayed probably a week. Now, I uh, they used to bring her food, but she couldn't eat. So I ate all the food that they brought. And I, I, I, I could eat for five because I was, I was so weak. But that, that week, stay...staying in that house and I get caught up a little bit. But I--still, I was sick. I was very sick. One night they knocked on the window and they said that we are being chased by the um, the, the Germans. The German Army caught up with us and we have to move. We have to go. So he started yelling, "Come on, let's get--let's dress the sick woman," he said. I said, "I can't." I couldn't move. My, my legs were hurting, I couldn't hear. I couldn't move. I was in terrible pain. So he started, he dressed her and he put her on the buggy and he ran to the main uh, um, doctor to complain that I don't want to do anything and I don't want--and I said "I'm not going any where." I was terribly cold. So the, the leader from the battalion came and everybody. And they said, "You know what you're--what's. What's going to happen to you if you're going to stay? The Germans will catch you and they'll kill you." I said, "Okay, I"--at that point, my, my brain wasn't working anymore. Because if I--if it would have been working, I would have understood the circumstances, that here I am stay...here I am, I am remaining here by myself and the Germans were coming and I'm a Jewish girl. They'll kill me for sure, if not them, then the population will kill me. So they left. The group left. And I stayed. And I was left in the house uh, in that area there was a local group and there was a girl from my hometown and she had seen me. So she, she found out that uh, one, one partisan girl was left. They left her and they didn't take her with. The fact that I didn't want to go, she didn't know. So she--they sent me a--another guy, a driver with a horse and buggy. And he came and he said, "Come on, we're going to chase, chase the group." It wasn't--there was only night, so they could have gone maybe ten, fifteen kilometers. He had another girl with him. And he took me on--in the buggy. And I don't know, he, he wanted to get rid of me. So he said, "Are you cold?" I said, "Oh, I am shivering." I was extremely cold. He said, "Okay, I'll tell you what, I'm going to let you off in a, in a farmer's house and, and you stay there and you'll get warm and tomorrow or maybe later I'll come and get you." So he knocked on the door and he said to the guy, Listen, I have a, a girl here, she's not well. Could we leave her here for a while? And please take care of her. But remember, she's a partisan and don't, don't, don't do anything bad to her, because we're--I'm going to come to claim her." Well, a day went by, two days went by and nobody's there. I found out later that after he left the village, uh, he, he drove about five kilometers, the Germans caught up with him and they killed him, this guy with the girl, the one that uh, was supposed to...

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