Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Sexual Advances

Did that happen?

Yes it happened.

Tell me about it.

It was a young boy, we were sitting you know, some days a little bit I was singing and you know and that young guy came and just touched me you know, like young kids do and he says, "Oh, you Helena, you sound like Jewish." And I say, "What are you talking, what kind of talk is that, what do you mean I sound like Jewish, what would Jewish sound, I don't know what Jewish are." 'Cause I told him where I lived there was no Jews. But I didn't like his attitude. There was nothing to talk, nothing to say, you deny it, you deny it and the next day you run to another farm where they don't know you. And you be lucky. You know, the worse thing was winters because I didn't know how to do ??? I mean spinning the, the threads for the, that I knew how to work, material, I don't know how they say it. You know you make the wool.

The loom?

The loom the, the you know, that I had a hard time, I couldn't do it. The materials I could do it. But in the winter there was no work for a maid. I mean, they did it for their own family. So the summers 'til about fun spring, 'til late October, like 'til you clean up the field, the carrots and the potatoes and the vegetables. Once they don't have, they tell you to go. Do you know what? I didn't even know how I survived. Sit me down, I didn't know what I did.

What did you do in the winter?

I was some people maybe took me to be a nanny, but once I got my Kennkarte, but 'til I got the Kennkarte, it was two years and it's not a lot to talk. But to talk is fast but to do the things day by day, that was terrible. What I--what didn't I do, but once I got the Kennkarte, it was a little easier for me because I was in the house. She took care of me, that Mrs. ???. She was really nice to me. She gave me the break. And if she didn't need me you know, people from the city had a little bit of philosophy that could keep within the farmers. Farmers are tough people and you know, they are not the most sophisticated and I had to fight when I grew up and fourteen or fifteen. I was pretty attractive and I--the men were little--I had problems. I had to fight, always went around even when I fed the cows, I used to go around--with long underwear and mit a shteck'n with a stick. Whoever wants to touch me, I was kill. I was afraid. I though from a kiss you could get pregnant.

Did it ever happen?

Pregnancy? No, no...

No, not pregnancy. Did anybody ever...

Oh yes, I fought with one terrible, but I was a strong now, he was so "urhhh". I mean--I just kicked him ??? No, no. I had a couple--I had once and I worked. I had a lot of jobs from place to place, a Nazi--a German, I was peeling potatoes and he grabbed me and I almost died. There was a certain army standing like that and we--some people cooked for them. I just worked in the fields. He had an eye on me. What are you gonna do? And he grabbed me.

From behind.

From behind and he was strong, but I was stronger and I have a ??? the way I made the potatoes out you know, I ??? I don't know the name, so what, it's like a little rag that you take the potatoes by the green and schlep it out and you have the potatoes pick up. You know how in Europe ??? those, those ???

Like a rake.

Like a ??? and I just kicked him and he fell and I ran away and for two weeks, I was hidden. They was looking for me.

Where did you hide?

I was hiding in a barn, not in that place. I ran away from that place, but my friends didn't know where I was. I was hiding in a barn and at night, I used to go out, take the potatoes for they cooked for the pigs from a, it was like a steamer and that's what I ate you know, 'til the army moved away. I had a problem with a Russian, too, like this, but him I wasn't afraid. He was drunk, so I just. I had a ??? To him, it's like, again with the bread. You know that in Europe you had the big oven and the bread goes on a stick that you, you don't walk in with your hand, but you put in that stick and be sure you are pushing it out. He came in drunk like nobody's business, so I took the handle and I stick the language a little bit. "If you're not going to leave me alone, I kill you. Don't you touch me," but he was drunk so I kicked him and he fell down and I ran away from the house and that's it. But from him I wasn't so afraid like from the Nazi, I was afraid because he would kill me. I don't know, my darling Sidney, I don't know how I survived. I cannot--you cannot even, if you want to lie about things, you can, because those things you cannot lie, you have to live it through, right? Are you sure you're not hungry? Jewish Mamma.

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