Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Mother Smuggled out of Ghetto

Yeah, there was a, a ghetto in Łuków, right?

Yes, but it wasn't a, it was just wires. It wasn't like Warsaw. It wasn't--Warsaw we had a wall, like the Berlin wall. A wall, not of that type but of bricks. There was really a--I don't know the footage, but you know probably the footage from the wall. But you know, probably before they trimmed the wall, there was just an open ghetto. You could go in and out, one side the Poles lived and the other side, the Jews lived you know, the way they lived! Gotinyu you know, I brought my mother out from the ghetto, you know.

Yeah you were starting to tell me.

And I gave a man, a Pole, three hundred and fifty złotys and I baked a big black bread and I say, "If you can take my mother out," and that was the time I saved up that money because it was months and I was working on the farm and when I really worked they gave me, like, potatoes. I uh, I remember one time they gave me, when I brought my mother already, he brought it, put on a babushka and I smuggled her out from the ghetto.

You stayed in Łuków?

I stayed in Łuków yeah, then, another of my aunts came also with two children and my mother, I took her to and that guy brought her and I see my mother, Sidney darling, you don't know how I felt. You know the way we respected our mothers, my mother was shriveled. She used to be an attractive woman, so shriveled away and so hungry and she says, "I don't have nobody but you. Father's underground in ghetto. All the kids died from hunger. You my only thing," That's what she told me. It was sort of Yom Tov. I didn't have her long. Six weeks. They made Judenrein there.

She died in Łuków--she--that was put on a train?

They put her on a train mit the rest of the Jews and they took her to Treblinka. Sechs--and you know, the way it was at the time. A miracle fun Gott I came that same day and I brought a piece of, they killed a pig, so I bought a piece of pork, pork sa...what do you call it? Uh, bacon and brought the potatoes and a little flour and that was gold, so and she and my aunt and my two little cousins and my uncle lived in a "Budeh." It was so big, like this. Such a square I mean, that's the thing it was you know, right in the middle of Łuków. A Jatka ???. I'll never forget that. "Jatka" is a butcher strip.

Where were you living?

By the Gentiles.

You were living with the Gentiles and you kept going back and forth?

Yes, it was seven kilometers, eight kilometers, they, those farmers came twice a week to the city, so I, I begged them to go and I didn't say nothing. I say, "Oh, I'm going to go and maybe buy something to wear and they were nice about it, because I helped them sell on the market eggs and the butter you know, but always indiscreet and I disappeared a little bit to go to the ghetto, but the ghetto was still open. You know? And I gave my mother this stuff and she looked at me, she says, "My child, you know I'm not going to eat if it's salt pork, but the potatoes and the flour, I'm grateful." I say "You know, Mommy, don't worry, I'm going to sell it and bring a piece of butter." And they grabbed it from me they sold it and I stole a little bit of butter for her and that, so I don't remember what I did with the salt pork 'til today. I don't know what it was and she looked at me, she says, "Mein child, it's all what I have is you. I don't know what's going to happen to the, if we ever see each other." And Rosh Hashanah is supposed to come already for maybe the same week. I say "Here, Mommy, you have potatoes, you have flours and you feed together with the Auntie Chaia and everything going to be okay." And I kissed her and I hugged her and I say and she says, "My child has to support me." That was her words and she looked at me. She just didn't want to let me go. And the minute I left that ghetto, I see some gendarmen and gendarmen and wagons and trucks. If I would stay another minute, I would be together with them. What would I do in the Jewish ghetto? So you are a Jew, too. Because I always met with the people out of town a little bit, they shouldn't get suspicious. You had to be so smart, Sidney. You had to be--I don't know that God gave you, me that smartness. I don't know where I got the sense. I still don't know to now. Sometimes at night I been thinking and thinking, "God, why did you help me survive? What did I do so good in that world?" I always like to help. I didn't have much, but I always shared, you know. If I see a sick one, even now, you know how much I go the Jewish old folks, people, what I see there, my heart cries out, the American kids, what they doing to their parents. They're making me crazy, they take away everything from them. You know the stories and I just, I fight with them like crazy, but I gave up. I, I don't have the strength anymore. I'm getting older, too you know, but I still find a day to go there, to Fleischman's, you know.

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