Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994


A pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage, yeah. And that was something very holy. And boy, at Christmas I use to sing those, those carols. And then, May, they use to have also a certain, a certain uh, prayer for, for the ??? for the Holy Mary. I use to sing ???, all sorts of you know, they did, they could never believe that I'm Jewish. They say, "She sing the best, how could she do it?" They thought I'm, I'm the Holy Mary. Would you believe a child of that age should be so bright and so smart and do such things. I just don't believe I'm telling you that. I just don't know what I did it.

Did it ever occur to you that you um, might actually become Gentile?

Yes, yes. I didn't want to be Gentile. I wouldn't marry--I wouldn't--I would die with my secret. Because I thought that, that Yitzchak would not see me at the market, I would be--maybe I would because there was a Gentile, a nice boy was after me because I was so scared. When I was in the hospital, he got injured. I think he was a partisan. And they shot him. He had a broken arm. He was a very pleasant human being. And, later on when he found out when I met already Dave, that I'm Jewish but he say he wouldn't care, he was so much in love with me, that he would marry me. I was so scared to look at him, I wouldn't even kiss, I would say, "Gee whiz." You know, he use to always come afterwards and bring me apples. He had a compassion for Jews. That's what he said. Because he was a wealthy boy. The father had a big farm, you know. And when the Germans came and took everything away, then they you know, so he sort of rebelled, he went in to be a partisan, against him. He was young and he got injured, I remember, he was in that hospital and I use to come visit him. Just nice friendship. And after the war he was looking for me. "Where Helena is?" And you know, he came. I don't know how, how he found me, really. I just don't know that. I know he came in with a bushel of apples. And I was already with Dave, you know. And I told him I'm Jewish. And he just, he, he wasn't--I mean, he wasn't surprised or not surprised, he says he wouldn't care. But I would never tell nobody my secret. How could you trust somebody. Even after the war.

Did it ever--during the war, during the war, did it ever cross your mind that the reason that you had lost everything was because that you were Jewish...


...and how easy it would be to just not be Jewish anymore?

Oh yeah. Oh yes. I didn't have so much to lose because I wasn't a wealthy person. I lost love, togetherness and relatives. Goods, I never had much. I never owned a watch, I never had nothing. But, a lot of times I, I was wishing not to be Jewish. I don't even know. I loved my religion so much. I didn't even think about it. I just would like to be born, like I say. We were envious of a cat, a dog, a fly, has where to go. And they don't have to be afraid if they gonna kill him. And we were afraid for everything. Bad move, if I would just, you know that I was always afraid at night. I shouldn't say some Jewish words. To go to sleep with that, next door, ??? I was sleeping in the, in the, in the barn, on the hay there, I didn't care. But then I was with my girlfriend we both shared that room, not to be afraid to say something Jewish or something. You know what kind of thing a child should live with, the scaredness of death. Never got use to it. Never got use to it. I mean, in that, look at my sin, Sidney. My sin is being Jewish, that's the only thing. I didn't hurt nobody. I helped everybody I could. I suffered, I lost everybody. One thing, I was born Jewish and in Poland, yet. You know what kind of times it was from '39 to '44 to be a Jew in Poland?

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