Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Knowledge of Death Camps

Had you every heard of Treblinka?

I've heard of Treblinka and I heard of Auschwitz, yes. But Treblinka more than Auschwitz because when they took, they say the Goyim, the Gentile people used to say, they took the Jews to Treblinka. They gonna burn in the ovens. I don't think Treblinka had ovens. They had ovens, too? I know Auschwitz had the ovens. Tell you another nice little story. After the war, when we ran away from Łuków to go to Łódź, a bigger city, we were safer there, she would kill me, probably, she--they had guns, that Mr. ??? you know, she said, "How could you do it?" I endangered her life. It's true, I did. If they caught her, they would kill her and burn her like, that's what they did to a lot of Gentiles. I've seen they killed a Priest, ??? A shame--a handsome, tall, we went on the cemetery, now, October, is ???, is the 11th of October, is a Polish holiday. Is it an American holiday, too? What is it? Uh, something from the soldiers.

Armistice Day.

He saved a couple of Jews for him in the Priest, in the Parish there. They took him out. I was going with that ???. She buried her mother a while ago, so that's tradition in Poland, you put flowers on the grave you know, when she said, "Halina, ???, Halina, come with me." I went with her and we, we, we made the flowers. None was seen ??? and she said, "Jesus Christ, that's ??? that's the Priest ???. What are they doing to him?" They called him and they pulled back in the cemetery and it was a--I don't know, it didn't look like he was a gendarme just, he wore a green hat, he looked like he had such a nice face, because I look at the face. He took out a gun, oh ??? what's going on? So we hid under the stones, because you know, in--Poles, they have big stones, not here, flat, it's everything you put high and he called and the lady that took care of him, the cook, or the nanny, I don't know who she was and we run away. We didn't know what happened. Then the whole city was crying that they killed the ???.

They shot him in the cemetery?

Shot on the cemetery because he saved some Jews. You know that, what--that you heard about it, what they did you know, it's uh, what they did to the people. Look at, what Steffa was talking about her mother to the aunts which was so impressive. She said, but the mother wasn't kosher and she didn't like the fat, so she cooked just ???, potatoes and a little water. The tradition was so in us and built in us, God forbid, you gonna die, you not eat traif. Vos hot geholfn? What did it help? They took those beautiful Rabbis. They didn't have a sin to their heart and they say Shema Yisroel, ??? and with that they took them to the camps. Where was God? What they made us do for survival, a mother killing the, it was a lot of cannibalism also, because people didn't have what to eat. I remember, we ate horses. They tasted so terrible. They were hard. Right after the war, in '39 there was no food, so they had a lot of dead horses. They died from the bombs, so they used to catch them from the street and I remember they used to put them in vinegar and water they should soften up and that's the way people ate. I could never, never, never, never, never but when you hungry, you could eat people.

So you, you ate horse meat in Warsaw?

Yeah, but I, in Warsaw, yes. There was no food. Bread was very scarce. The worst thing was the bread, Sidney darling. We were was staying in the line. A bread was, you couldn't weigh it with gold. Do you know what they put in the bread. Sawdust. When you ate it, it felt like, like junk from the street. Warsaw ghetto was terrible. It got worse after I left. I left still in time. It got a lot worse. I heard, a lot worse. Very few survived from Warsaw, very few. Look at, I had such a family. There isn't a cousin. I checked all over the place.

How large was the family?

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