Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Leaves Ghetto

This was with Masheleh?

That was with Masheleh. ??? the ??? my husband when he got mad he says ??? you know? I think I was already out from the ghetto. It was '41, like and a half, when my father said to me, "You go and maybe you survive, because you speak Polish good, you know the Polish religion." How do I know the Polish religion? Because when I went to a Catholic school there, together it was Catholic and public school. So when they had their history and look, that helped me survive. I knew about the Jesus, I knew about the intake of the ??? it's like the Communion, you know. I used to sing in the choir there.

How, how did you know about Communion?

I was afraid to take it. I've seen it. I've, I've seen--I use to be with that lady you know, the Polacks, they were all Catholics, so I use to lie to her. I use to go to church. One thing I was afraid is to take the Communion into me. It's nothing, it's a piece of junk. But I said, "Pani Vanda," that lady. "I have nothing, I didn't sin. I didn't say nothing wrong, I don't look at ???." I was a kid. I was scared they could look at me. I didn't do nothing wrong, but I lie to her. I went every morning that ???, a holy thing from the church. And I listened and I went back and I told her that I went to the Communion, that I'm pure, that my sins are forgiven. I was afraid to go to that little booth. I didn't know what to tell the priest. What could I tell him, I steal, I, I, I, I, I say bad words, I didn't even know what to tell him.

You mean to confession?

That's right.

Uh, how did you know their prayers?

How do I learn the prayers, I don't know. I read Polish. They give you a booklet. I know that the Gentiles when they use to go from place to place, they use to ??? May Jesus be with you. That I remember. And then the music was worse. I know how to read Polish and how I remember. I sit their quiet, nobody know. If they would question me, I would probably go to hell. I didn't--I wouldn't, but they, they trusted me. They believe me. They--where did I get the name Halina Blinchinska. When I was on a farm, when I run away from the ghetto and I was--the minute I came to that little shtetl that little place, took me maybe ten--twelve days, how much does it take to walk in the 100 kilometers?

Ten days maybe?

Yeah, ten days. So I just and at nights I use to go in a small town and looked at the little farm, you say they are going to be good people. So, you go into a, a mayor of the city whatever, they had something if you walk, there was no hotels. Who had money? So you walk in that place and say, "I'm passing through, could you give me a place that I could sleep?" And that they should give me a little food and then to continue. So, every so often when I got tired, I--they sort of pitied me, I was a cute little girl, quiet and--I don't know why, I don't know, I cannot tell you. If, if I don't know, I don't believe that I did, that I survived.

Your father told you to go. What did your mother say?

My mother didn't say nothing. She just looked at me and cried. You know what? I don't remember those things, what it went on. It was miserable probably, I blocked it out. She looked at me, she said, "Mein kind," she kissed my forehead, I remember that. But I couldn't take it anymore. When my little sister died, I couldn't stand it any more. I just had to run. Three times I went back and forth and I had to go through a cemetery because like here was the ghetto and here was the wall, you see that wall and then somebody digged out a couple bricks, so we should go out and the other side was the cemetery. And I went through the cemetery. And it was I think, at night. And I slept at night in the cemetery, I think. Nobody should see me. And the next day I start walking. I didn't even know where to walk. I just didn't even know how I did it. I just remember being on a highway and you see a lot of Germans with, with big trucks, mit big...You know what else? If I see a farmer with horses or something, I told him, "Could I have a ride and you go as far and drop me off?" If they didn't know I'm Jewish--because who would run? Which Gentile girl would run? It was a miracle the way I survived it.

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