Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994


So what did the other Poles say? Or did they say anything to you?

They were afraid to say. I never went into. They just, they hated the Russians and the hated the Germans. They just said bad words about them. But uh, what did they say? We never even go you know, the farmers weren't informed, they were very dark I mean not dark, it's in Polish, it's ??? they were not as sophisticated. They--how could I say it, they weren't informed. Not the way I was seeing. Maybe I didn't know much either. Because what could I possibly know that you, you have in mind just to survive. So you know the politics was going on. What the Nazi's did? They knew all that they killing the Jews. Because they've seen it. A lot of them enjoyed it. A lot of them enjoyed it. A lot used to go and rob the Jewish stores. The minute the Jews went out, they went to the ghettos, they robbed and the stealed and they did terrible things. Poland wasn't good to the Jews. That's all that I can tell you. They could have helped much more than they did. Just to, not to get involved. ??? not to get involved, look like that. But they helped.

For a pound of sugar?

A pound of sugar, a little bit what else they say they gave them maybe a shepseleh, candle. I don't know what it is, sugar was. A Jew was worth a pound of sugar. What did Steffa told you about when she was in the bunker hiding, but she knew about politics probably not much either. And she had a mother. Look at me alone, Sidney. Me, alone, I tried fourteen, fifteen, even sixteen, no, nobody. They killed them all. I didn't even know that Jews exist anymore. I just thought to myself, I have to wind up with the Goyim--by the Gentiles. I adjusted already. What you going to do? You want to live.

You thought you would wind up a non-Jew?

First of all, I didn't want to tell nobody my secret that I'm Jewish. It was such a, such a heinous crime--I'm Jewish. Don't forget, I'm Jewish. My secret in my heart for four years. You want to scream and tell somebody. There's nobody to tell. The minute you tell, you're dead. Didn't I see the rest when I watch Schindler's List. Oy, lieber Got, that little boychikl run from the sewers. I was running to those holes too. I was a little taller and he looked like he was seven or eight, no ???. Oh my God, what we went through. Dear God, why, why? [pause] Why?

Did you hear any news about the Warsaw ghetto rebellion?

??? There was--because we were liberated already. '44 they liberated that part of Poland. Luba ??? they called it. It's like, like uh, Demblin, not far from Auschwitz that part of you know, ??? staying by the water, but the Wisła, Praga, Poland, Warsaw and there they mobil...mobil...didn't give up. Sure, they brought in soldiers, they took all the survivors, we were the Jewish people and they wanted to fight.

This is the, this is the Warsaw uprising?

No, no, that's not the Warsaw--that was when the, when the Germans left, the Russian liberate us. And the uprising, I heard that, but I don't know much about it.

But you did hear some news about it?

Oh yes. I knew that um, the ghetto finally stands up and they fighting but what could they fight with? It was such a exaggeration when they tell stories to make a big, they didn't have where to fight. They were surrounded with enemies. How can you fight? They give you a gun. They don't give you bullets. No food, no water. How can you fight? Some machers, they think themselves important--they think they're important. Those are lies sweetie. I know what went on. Even from far away. It was nothing to hide. The Poles helped. They burned the ghetto. There was a couple hidden people. The ghetto was right away miserable. There was no food. How can you survive with no food? I'm not talking luxury, potatoes and bread. Is that much to ask for? We not looking vegetarians or meat or fish or luxury--bread! They just wanted to starve us. Completely 'til we die because they would want to save the bullets. Like that guy, ??? they took him and the son with one bullet. It happened that he survived, I talk about him and he tells me that was him. Could you believe that? And I described him how it was. He say, "And you were a Shikseh?" I said, "Yeah. They told me that I was a Shikseh that I had already everything." That was tough. Just to be alone. To be alone, you think you die. Where you going ??? Who's gonna take care of you? Not that the people in concentration camps had ??? but they were together. They were twenty and thirty and forty together. I was one person. From a family to run away from that ghetto and only to walk, ten--twelve days and going to every Gentile house and say, "May Jesus be with you, give me a piece of bread and what to eat." And the next day you walk another five, ten miles, you do again. With blisters on your feet, in the winter--no that was summer, that was summer. 'cause if it was winter, I don't think I could survive. You know, the winters in Poland are terrible. I didn't have heavy clothes, nothing. I had one little jacket. My God, at night was washed and the next day was put on. And those years of growing up that was murder. You stay another case, sweetie. I was feeding the cows on a beautiful spring day and there was a boy there. I had suspicion something that he's Jewish, but we didn't talk about it. We didn't do nothing. He also said he's from Warsaw. He wore a little hat and he had a sweet face, I can see his face in front of my eyes. And one thing he had against him, he was circumcised. That killed him, they took him away.

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