Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Hiding in Łuków

And you went to church on Sunday?

Oh, that was a must. I mean, every Sunday ??? I went to it's 12:00 that I use to go to, to, to church, you know. I didn't feel like going, but I went. I was sort of scared of church. I don't know why. In fact, when I went in Poland and I see the same church, it looks nothing to me. That time it was like, a gigantic empire, like a, like bigger than, bigger than God, bigger than anything. And it looked nothing ???. I went in and out of the church and I met a lady, she didn't know I was Jewish. I went ??? and Dave was in that type of place, you know ???. I was around, I didn't know him. They looked at Dave and say, "Do you know what? She sing the best in the, in the church, she had the best voice in the church. She's not Jewish. She just wanted marry Jew, just Jew got money." I just looked at her, I say. "??? I'm a Jewish." "So how could you, could you lie to us?" I say, "Wouldn't you, when your life would be in danger? What did I lie, I steal, I kill, I wanna live. Everybody has a right to live." ??? she just didn't believe that. And that I'm married to Dave. Oh, that was a scene that walked in there, it was '72. It was his dream to go back to that shtetl and all the memories came back. We use to be afraid to go. Even during the day, they use to kill Jews there. If not the Nazi's, the Polacks hated the Jews with a passion. Used to uh, we went to a wedding, I remember while we were there and you know that was after the war already and Dave says, "The biggest anti-Semite that you could find in the world was in that shtetl." Even before the war. If a Jew came to buy a, a little animal, look, a caribou like a veal or a cow. You know the Jews didn't bought a caribou they made it kosher they sell that. That was there main income, whatever, that was their business. It wasn't slaughtering 10,000 a day, all the modern equipment. It was just amazing, you looked in his eyes and he was dressed up. They thought we from Hollywood, because Dave was attractive, tall, nice, nice looking guy. Except he had a nice Jewish nose. He could be like his brother, the Jewish mark, so, so they just looked at him and they looked at him. And they just didn't believe it and wherever he went in. Do you know what was very depressing was where all the Jewish people use to live. Everything was board up with, with wood. They didn't change nothing since '39. The potholes still in the streets. One thing it changed uh, the wagons, where they go with the horses. They had tires, not steel, but they had tires, like car tires, from rubber, you know. But otherwise, everything was exactly. The women were my age, they looked like old people. No teeth, with babushkas and the old, little towns maybe at seven miles. And at first you know, in July, beautiful flowers were growing, sunflowers were growing. And they had a nice vegetable garden you know, with those things and Dave say, that, "I use to live. That school, my father use to build." And they all thought that he came to take away the land? ??? How come you so dumb? How could we take your land? On our backs? Stupid c...cabbage--that's what I said, kraut kop! that's what I say. ??? How could she even think, in fact, whenever you went into the people ??? and twenty dollars, I say, I would give ??? That was a day in Warsaw I would never forget. We were in, we stayed in a gorgeous hotel. I don't remember exactly what was, there was, Plac Krasińskich or, I don't remember exactly where that was, but that was a beautiful hotel we were staying. But, we still were afraid. When we left Warsaw, we went to that little town, so the Russians were at that time still controlled Poland you know, in '72. So, we had a friend, Bill Isaacson, he was afraid to sleep there. He just was afraid because he was still afraid that they gonna come and kill him. Isn't it something? After so many years and the anti-Semitism is still unbelievable. It didn't change.

You know it was all around you in 1941, of course...

I knew, of course, I knew what was around me. It was anti-Semitism, abusing of Jews. They helped to kill the Jews.

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