Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994


Yes, I did.

And then you...

She wasn't too good to me.

But, she took you in.

I don't remember you know, if she took me in. I don't remember actually if she offered me shelter or food. I don't think so. She didn't nice to me. But that's such a small town. Then I went out. And how I met, uh, I knew about that Basha that she know my mother. I said, if she's not--that's what my father said, before I run away, he says, "If you don't like it there, maybe you go Basha? Maybe she would help you to survive or something." And I asked where Basha lived and she was my main, main quota, when I and then there was a lot of people where they run away from the ghetto, they use to go on the farms and say also for ??? may Jesus be with you, feed me, I do for you or, like give me work and I you know, only for food. And that's the way I use to go learn to...

What made you decide to do that?

Hunger. She couldn't afford to feed me, sweetie. There was poverty, there was nothing there. I couldn't even. For long I couldn't expect, you know. So I see what anybody does. So I did that too. I have the looks, I have my mouth and so I walked, first I walked into a small town, they took me right to work. But, other things. The minute I came to Łuków, I got typhus. They took me to--there was no hospital, they took me, it was a stable for horses, I remember horses. With 106 temperature and lice were crawling over me and I remember a German woman came there and that hospital, I had real long blond braids. Everything they needed. Hair--what did they need ??? they chopped off my braids and then they gave me a haircut, I mean they--I was bald. I mean they just shaved my head. And I was laying there for six days and I screamed "give me a little water." Nobody did nothing and look at me, I survived. In the minute I survived, I start going to the farms and that saved my life. It was May, May or June. It was very warm, I remember. And I was walking and walking, about six kilometers from that Łuków I seen a farm. So I walked in and I say, "I'm an orphan." I don't know if they knew or not because a lot of kids run away from the ghettos and everything and came for the food, "I'm an orphan." She says, "You know what? "You can be my cowgirl." I was afraid from a cow from far away, but what are you going to do? I learned how to milk the cow. It was a tough thing. I didn't know how to do it. The milk was dripping all over my elbow and then the cow would--the tail used to smutz my face and I was screaming and I was kicking her and I was just you know, but you get use to it. That lady really saved my life. She didn't know, she gave me fresh milk, she gave me good bread because after a typhus you have a tremendous appetite. And I was young. I start to develop. I was maybe fourteen years already. I start, you know you need, so for her I worked all summer. All summer, then when she didn't need me, she was nice enough to suggest to somebody else. So, I was sort of little maid and they feed me, they didn't pay me, but they--I had food.

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