Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Fate of Family

Did you think that anyone had survived after the war? Aunts, uncles, cousins?

No. I looked. When I went in Łódź they had a Gemeine you know what it is and they, you were listed ??? I remember the name, but it's been so long, my family was, dear God, nobody. They were little kids. They were young children. The only one, my daddy's brother, Fetter Yankel. He had one son only and the--sorta, sorta intellectual because he was working in a paper place, I mean what they write and he had one son. I thought, maybe he's, he was the oldest. He was probably nineteen or twenty or twenty-two, I don't remember exactly the ages, so I thought maybe they survived. Dee Mima they didn't survive, Fetter Yankel didn't survive, but you know, they would continue when I left the ghettos, sweetie. They were still in ghetto. I didn't believe it's going to be such a sof that they going to make. Then after I left, I don't know which year, they made the ghetto smaller and smaller. They just want to push them like--it would be water, they would push them to the water. You know the way. And then the ??? I understand '42 to '43 was just. A Gehenna it was a, um, what you say a Gehenna in a, well it was hell. It was pure, people were falling on the streets like its nothing. Give me a shtikl broit--a piece. They were just falling, I mean, I've seen the lawn where they fall, I thought you chalesh you hang, but the hunger and those eyes, those eyes, Sidney, they will be with me 'til I die. You can read so much from eyes. The sadness and happiness, just the eyes. Why did I run away from the ghetto. Watching my little sister, Masheleh, sitting in the corner in a bed, the most dry lips and the white skin of her face and those dark eyes bulging out, "I'm so hungry." In the Europe a thirteen, fourteen girl is not a dummy. She knows what life is all about and that war made us even smarter, you know. You get like a little animal. You're fighting for survival. Wherever you take a grip, you gonna lie, you gonna cheat. You know it's wrong, but it's for your survival. Do you know what is the worse thing that is on my mind, darling, is my mother's heart to lose all the children one by one. I imagine ir pain in ir hartz. For the longest time, I see my mother and I don't see her. It's like, if I would know how to art--I mean paint, I would see that sad face. When the Goy smuggled, smuggled her out from the ghetto, you know and I looked at her. She was so shriveled and she was in her early thirties. And she looked at me, "I don't have," she says, "nobody, ich hob shoin nisht keinem, nor dir, mein kind." You believe in such a family, as uncle geshtorbn far hinger meh hot zee tzigenumen Majdanek. There's in Majdanek, they took also some people, you understand, from Warsaw, Poland, you know and the dee gassen the streets were covered with dead people. I don't remember the years and I don't remember the day, darling. I just remember when I ran away from, that was 1941 and a half or 1942. I know it was in spring, 'cause you waited for the spring, maybe there's going to be more food to the ghetto or maybe they're going to help us find it. Maybe God will do something. Where was God? Such innocent children. [pause] I'm going to take a little water. You want a glass of water and--take a piece of ???

[interruption in interview]

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn