Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Obtaining Work Card

How did you get the Kennkarte?

Oh, when I run away from the farm I was sick and tired I was injured because I was doing straw for the horses and working made such terrible work, such terrible job. Everything in, excuse me, junk from pigs you know, feeding them, what would, in Europe a maid was not a person, I mean, you know. And I remember one day the guy, is it a mayor, I don't know how you call it, every little town had a mayor, a little macher. You know, that he took care of it. He didn't give that farmer that I worked before. He didn't give enough ??? He didn't give enough for the Germans. Because they give him the pigs and give 'em, you know the way, you know what they did, you have to come to a farmers if you have to give that three a day, four a day, four a month, like that. He was behind. And he came into the farm and I was working and he pushed me. You know, he came to him, I don't know what, he pushed me and I was doing ??? I don't know how you say it in English, I never. You don't uh, uh, have food for the dog. You do it yourself. You put straw and you chop it with a...


...grinder, everything by hand. And he says, he said a bad word about him, he pushed me, he say, "Oh, you have maids to help you and you don't give enough." He was a Volksdeutsch I think he was, he worked for the Germans, against the Poles. You know, bunch of hooligans and whatever. And I start bleeding and there was no doctor to take me. That's why, I work with that hand, but that is a memento.

Your hand?

My hand. And I was so conscientious of it. I was so ashamed. I was so nice and everything. And I have an injured hand. For the longest time I felt so bad about it. You know? It's like, I was a nice girl and I'm ruined. Thanks God, maybe that saved my life. I don't even know what to say.

And how did you get the Kennkarte?

The Kennkarte, when I got fed up with the farm, I went to the city. I say--whatever no, while I was in the little farm, I went into the Gemein...Gemeine that is like a little office. And I told him uh, "Register me because something they are going to think I'm Jewish and they gonna kill me." That's the words I was. And he says, "Where are you from?" Meantime, I met a lady that she went to Third Reich, they took her to work. And her name was Helena ???. She was from that Third Reich, ???. That's the mind, he had to say, "Where are you from?" So, I gave the--they believed me. That wasn't good enough. That, anti-Semite lady, she signed for me. And there in front another lady, she signed for him there. A Catholic from blood and bones. You know, I'm an orphan. I said, I'm an orphan. father, they took to, to, Third Reich to work. My mother died, with my brother and they believed me. When I had a Kennkarte, I thought I ???, I did such a mistake, it's probably laying there in the couch. You know, because we want to go to America. They say the Polish Jews they don't to take. They want to save German Jews. A Jew, with the Polish, with the German, you change papers. You are what you are. So, I was afraid they gonna catch me with that. Helena ??? you never know. I put it... I'll never forget it. I put it in Breslau--in a couch. It was an old German house we were staying in. To the side from the--you find it fascinating?


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