Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Death of Sister

Tell me when the first sister died.

The first sister died, I think it was spring. She just falled asleep and she didn't wake up. She was just blue. Her lips were blue and ice. She was a blond with curly hair. She wore a red little hemdl. I mean, a shirt. She couldn't walk anymore. She could not walk, because when I took her down, she just sort of, like you know, like--I mean no strength, no life, just eyes, those, I did not know what was with me with the eyes, because I've seen too many dead and the eyes is like their alive you know, when you see a dead person--it, the eyes just, if you opened eyes, they opened, but they close them, but you see the eyes and you think they are alive. Same was with my husband, died on my hand, with the words to the children, to my Ricky, "Just take care of mother." He had a hard time saying it, but he said it. Right here with white couch you know, because he developed a disease so fast that, he ca...they guy was never sick in his life. Very slender, didn't smoke and drink. We used to love to dance, you know? Coming back to my sister when she died um, there wasn't somebody who could come and bury her. You had to put it in front of the you know, we lived Siz geven, Drei toyerin gates, one, two, three you know European, those big things and we were in the basement, he says, "Here is one place, me is another place." It's difficult--it's like, it's not a back yard actually, I mean no luxury like a back yard, because it was like a co...a big complex, don't compare it to here. And there is little spaces, the kids could run and play a little bit. They didn't have strength to play, so we took you out from the third hoif place 'til the front, because certain times, they came and collected deaths when I went to Washington, I see that little wagon. Were you in Washington? Did you see that little wagon next to the train. Hot men aroifgelegt, they put some people, sometimes for deaths, they moved down you know, because they couldn't hold it up and that's the way they took them to--I didn't know which cemetery they, they have buried, I buried two of them and I couldn't take it anymore. And I remembered my father seeing that he couldn't help nothing. He walked around. He was weak and depressed. He didn't know where to go, what to do. Whatever they got organized, they was afraid. These Germans came and they have seen a group of people they were right away. They came in the middle to destroy them. So he, when, when she died and he says to me, "My child, mine kind, zogt er," in Jewish I think he said, "go, run out. You gonna tell the free world what they did to the Jews." Those words pushed me out completely from that ghetto and I started walking and walking and walking to a certain direction. I had an aunt and they say the small towns don't have ghettos yet, only the big, when I came to, to the small town, I've seen the freedom still and they have food and everything and they say they doing everything to the big cities. They not going to come to do it to us. They did it all over unfortunately.

This was in Łuków?

Łuków Podlaski, the last three year. Ah, you remembered it. My meema it wasn't a good meema. She was my daddy's aunt and I same ??? , auntie, I came back. We have so much hunger. We lost every you know my two sisters died from hunger. My aunts, I didn't even know what happened to my aunts. I didn't know nothing, because everybody was involved in their own tsuris and everybody that, we had a lot of kids in Europe you know, the Jews had big families, in fact, when I went to Washington, I've seen those pictures. Beautiful. That is something. What our family, what beautiful people they were, what, people with education and tradition. Why did they do that to us? Why? Why? Why? What did we do to deserve that, I mean--such, they took away everything. They lied. There was wealthy Jews, too, I mean, it wasn't the majority, but you know there were wealthy Jews, but the majority were--I don't remember rich people. I had an aunt. She sort of was rich. And you know what? When I used to go to her I was so hungry and she says, "You want to eat something?" And I say "No." It was a shandeh. You know what that means? That you always suppressed, you just don't want to be a burden to nobody, you don't want to impose on nobody. We had a proudness about us you know, I mean. Here, you hungry, give me something to eat, but it's nothing to compare what it was in Europe and everything, God forbid, was a shandeh You were a cripple, it was a shandeh shame. You were an orphan, it was a shame. Everything was a shame. I don't know why.

Now, so, your first, your first sister died, what was her name?



Masheleh. Zee ist alt geven feer finf yohr, or something like that. I remember a blonde, curly hair with black eyes. Because my daddy was a blonde, attractive man. My mother was a short brunette. So she had the eyes from her and, and I remember that red little shirt and blue lips.

And they took the body away?

They took the little body away. We were all standing there. My mother's face, I still see it. Its such things I have to recollect, you know what I mean, what came first, a lot of things you block out. It's like therapy, you know? You just--you block it out and then you start thinking about things, what it was, oh yeah, that it was, that it was. So that was the first one. I think they put it in front, you know when I've seen the Warszawa ghetto the first year when I went to Yad Vashem it was '68 and I've seen the Kennkarte and I thought it's me. And I also seen the Warsaw ghetto, the kid I thought it was maybe my sister they photographed. I don't know, it looked exactly like my sister. Was laying in the front. But I looked for the name of the street and I couldn't see the street.

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