Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Extended Family

My mother had eleven sisters and brothers. ??? and they all--and my daddy had five. They had ??? One Uncle didn't have children. He wanted always to adopt me with ??? He lived ??? it's near Russia, near the Bug ??? Maybe you heard about the Shtetl. It was near Białystok I think. And my mother had three. My father had, my father had my auntie, Zeesel and another auntie, forgot her name and three brothers, no two brothers and three sisters. ??? Nice, nice family. My auntie was a dress designer, so she was associated with higher class people and she never had children. So, in summers they took me--they spoiled me there and I thought I'm real luxurious. She bought me new hose and a new dress. Oh, I was in seventh heaven. I remember with appreciation of a little something. I am still am the same thing. I still--because I remember you know, my husband was quite a bright man, I mean, he provided as you see with very nice ??? for years and so and I never you know, I could be happy with just anything. Just--I mean, just good people. My personality, I think, survived me. Outspoken and I am a happy individual. Forgive me now for the tears, you have to let some shed some tears. I'm holding back, believe me. I'm pretty strong. I'm holding back, because it comes back so much. So much stories. I remember another story like I want to tell you. When we left to Łódź and I was pregnant at the time with my daughter and everybody came to the Jewish community. It was a nice Jewish community, too, by the way, Łódź I was invited to a wedding. It was a couple of houses away and that particular woman told me, she has a feeling that her husband survived the war. It's been a while already, I think, '47 it was, no, '46--'47, I was in Germany already. So she said, "Luba," they used to call me. "I think, I have a feeling my husband is alive, but my brother-in-law survived and he said he buried him." They took forty people and they digged the hole and they put the forty people and he was among them. And he helped bury him and she had a feeling that he live. What happened? The brother-in-law supposed to marry the sister-in-law, which they, I mean the brother from the husband, you know. He survived and it is in Jewish law, I mean, it's, it's, you know. And she says, "I cannot marry you. I think my husband is still alive." He says, "Sweetie, I buried him." Forty people. Okay, they decided to get married. That was Friday night it was the wedding. I don't remember for what reason. We were all at the wedding. A guy comes in, no first come in the watch lady you know, Europe they used to have a ??? that one that she took care of like a--if you a little wealthier, you had a woman, a Polish woman, she used to take care. She looked at him and she said, are you alive? Your wife is just getting married to your brother. Do you remember to see a scene like that. When he walked in, we all almost dropped dead. Would you believe that story? It was a matter ??? to ??? I'll never forget that. Because after the war, if you survived, you were friends with everybody. There was not too much. We grabbed up a little Jew there, a little. Just--I mean not to be alone, because we were alone for so long. She looked and she already married him. So you know what the Rabbi did, I remember, they say she had to divorce the first one, she had to divorce the last one and she remarried the first husband.

She'd already gotten married. It was too late.

She ??? you know you know, congratulations, Mazel tov and Siman Tov and everything was already ??? and she gave him the ring it was ??? I don't, I don't. There, there were papers all over. And there's another story for you.

This is in Łódź?

Łódź, Poland. There was stories that people don't want to talk about, there are stories that husbands and wives survived, she didn't want to go to him, she didn't want to go to him. He found another one, she found another one. It was a mixed up s...society. ??? but that time, that one I'll never forget. Certain things sticks in your head fifty years, imagine, I don't know where they are. I don't know what happened with them. Oy. You know what else? I remember my husband used to go, when he went to Łódź, to Łuków back. Łódź didn't have enough meat and he was familiar with the area, back and forth. Once they almost killed him. Good thing he wore the Polish uniform. They took off all the people from the train who were Jewish and they shot them.

After the war?

After the war, after the war. Yes. In Łódź, too, to Łuków it was--I don't know, they traveled overnight because the trains were very--especial then, the trains were very slow you know, going and those trains, they were something else and I've seen ??? on that train. I wasn't actually on the train. I just seen the train in Łuków go and can go. And who knew who it was there.

When the, when the trains left Łuków did you, did you watch them ???...

Disappear, no, I didn't see...

You never saw people getting into the car.

I just know. Where not in Łuków, maybe they took it to Demblin. Where not far to Auschwitz there. Maybe they, those places. Maybe they went to Russia. Maybe there was military there, of course it was, how you say it, ??? , it's a, a main point from, but from there, like you have O'Hare here that you know, if you want to go someplace, you have to be on a certain spot. Łuków had that station. Were between Warsaw and, and Moskva I think it was, because I went once on the train like that after the war with my husband and that Russian. They treated us very luxurious at first. It was good vodka mit the good caviar. You know, which I didn't care to for vodka and caviar. I don't care either, it's too salty for me. So they had intelligent people also, I mean, the Russians you know, really, they were nice people among them. There were a whole bunch of hooligans, too, but they did need you business, but with a knife behind your back, also.

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