Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Journey to Łuków Podlaski

Did you take anything with you?

I have nothing to take oytzerl. Nothing, I have one pair of underpants, excuse me, I don't remember if I had shoes--I walked mostly barefoot and my feet were with blisters. I stopped in one place I remember, it was Kałuszyn. It's not far. There's a lot of people survived. They think that I was in their house. There was no ghetto yet, but then, but Warsaw a ghetto, was there. And I came into a house, I thought it was a Jewish house. But you're afraid for your shadow. You're afraid to say anything, because you know, they're going to shoot you. So, she gave me I think a pail of water. And I soaked in my feet. And they gave me some bread and they gave me potatoes and borsht. Was that delicious. Did that tasted good. And they let me sleep over. But they didn't ask no questions because a lot of people use to run from the ghettos. They caught a lot of them, they shot them, while I was in the Łuków. There were two girls from Warsaw. Gorgeous girls, older than me, sophisticated and they had money. And that killed them. Because we only had bread and jam from the rations they give. And they had ham and, and rolls and they showed off their money. And the shiksehs were jealous. The girls were jealous of them. They say, "What in the hell is with those girls. They eating so good, they dressing so good." They took them into the Gestapos and they start checking their Kennkarte, they see everything is false and right there they shot them both in the little shtetl. Afterwards the Goyim said, They killed two zydl. Zabity Zhidls. They killed zhidls. Jews, Jews and Jews." So, you had to be very careful. I didn't have money, I didn't have what to be careful. I just, I just begged for food to survive.

But you knew you were going to your aunts?

That was, that was the ???, if I would stay another half of year in Warsaw ghetto, I would be dead already too, for hunger and for, for all the miseries.

But they shot Jews in Łuków.

In Łuków they were shot, the--Łuków was a small town that was no, in the late '43 I think. They made it Judenrein--no more Jews, you heard that expression. There, I didn't see too much. What, what--when my aunt didn't want me, my mother had a friend there, an attractive woman with four sons. Her husband they to, to uh, Dachau that was a uh, political camp, you know. He was a handsome fellow. She use to be very wealthy. She use to come to us to go shopping with my mother before the war, when it was peace, you know. She was a little bit she liked my mother very much because my mother, my father's people come from Łuków, my mother's come from Warsaw. So they had connections because of the family living in that other town. And if that aunt would be good to me, I wouldn't go on the farm. So, I met that Basha, that lady which has the four sons. Poor, like a mouse. No furniture, nothing. Four sons were laying on the floor. So I came to her, I say uh, "You know, you know my mother and I'm Chaim's and Scheindel's tochter and so on and so forth," and, "Oh, I loved your mother, she was so nice to me, she took care of me." And then she says, "If you aunt don't want you, you come to me, I have four boys on the floor, so you are going to lay on the floor too." Would you believe it? ??? she had everything that aunt, but she was a meanie, I think she wasn't compassionate.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn