Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Remebering Family

Do you think this, this young man survived Treblinka?

I don't even know. He wasn't in Treblinka. He was in the woods. He survived. You know how it is. At first like you know, like that lady, she saved, I don't know how many, draysik menschen--they old, they were witness, they went together with her, because it wasn't just talk, just to make talk. We didn't even, couldn't talk, think, to imagine it was true facts. What could you imagine. If you don't see, like the wedding I went through what I could imagine one brother said that he killed the other brother, he wants to marry the sister. The brother shows up. That he saved himself under the ??? You know the Germans wanted to save bullets--like ???. I had to go get some water, because they didn't have running water and it was Judenrein that time in the little shtetl. You know, it was summer. I remember and that time, my husband said, he should rest in peace, he was a ??? and his mother and his sister and his brother. He just came for one day and he went to Treblinka. My mother wasn't living anymore that time, now it was in '43. I probably lost my mother, '42 I think in the like Yom Kipper Rosh Hashanah--dee you-toivim. That's the way I have my uh, memorial for all of them. I lighted candles with the kaddish. My father. I don't know how he died and what happened to him. The little sister, she told me they all died from hunger. That's it.

She didn't tell you about your father.

She says he joined a p...yeah, she told me that he joined, he was sick for a while and then he got better and then he says he join a bunch of men, so I didn't know there's uprising in Poland 'til later, I found out. We were--walked out and everything, but there was no news, no radio. If you had a little radio, you had to just be quiet. The only entertaining we had, we get it together, we sing songs. You know, that was our pleasure. Or that we had a dance and the fiddler there you know, and uh, they got drunk from the, the Polacks got drunk from that liquor and the corn liquor and they were grabbing women that were afraid to go, you know. It was tough. They were such tough times, darling. To grow up, my God, mine youth gotinyu, mine youth. Boy did I have a youth. Could I donate it. That's to my beloved children. I want them to be proud of their heritage and continue...

Of course.

You know, continue and be proud where you come from. Because it's good stock. Good stuff. Believe me. Because you're going to meet maybe Sonja. You would really like her. She's, she's coming here for a reunion. A thirty years reunion from Oak Park High.

When your mother came to-- when you got your mother out, she was alone by then.

She was alone with that goy. He gave her to me. He said smuggled her out, he brought, yeah, she was alone.

Father was gone.

Father was doing with men something. Well, maybe they were preparing to fight, because they looked for men what they were in the army years back you know, as a, as a rule, Jews didn't go to the army. You know they're too proud of it being ??? always manipulated something. What they going to fight, the Polack? I mean, these are such beautiful people to us. It was, I always remember being afraid. There was always anti-Semitism. Why? Even to the poor, you have a question--you don't have a question. You don't have an answer. Of course not, because nobody does. They say, but every one of the Poles had one Jew that he liked, that he trusted. Like they say, that is my Moishe, you know what I mean. The other one, they didn't care. In fact, my husband had a guy that he was a--not a prince. He was very wealthy. A Baron. And then when he run away, when he seen him. He used to come. Dave trusted that man, Mr. ??? was his name. So he gave Dave a gun. But again without bullets But that Mr. ??? helped him out, because when the--during the war, they thought when they took him out already, from that little shtetl from that place, ??? it called, so they had a lot of possessions and they left it with him. In fact, after the war, he gave back my husband a chain with a watch which our daughter has it. It was from his great, great, great grandmother. You know, in Europe, a little gold, you had what to eat. Not in the war, because they took it away from you, you know. So, he helped him a little bit, Mr. ??? and he used to come over with two horses and a little buggy, you know. It was and then, the AK killed him, because they found out that he helped a Jew. So she--but she still continued. She liked Dave very much, because she knew the family then. They used to do business and you know how Europe was once you get involved in that, in that business way, so they sort of continued friends. She was an attractive lady. When we came in '72 to Poland. I don't exactly know if it's '72, maybe '74, she was already a little bit like having Alzheimer's disease, but she recognized me and she cried. She couldn't talk. She hugged him and she cried, you know and he cried, because they helped, you know. Some helped you know and he left the twenty dollars, I remember, or fifty dollars. She didn't want to take. She says she doesn't need it ???. But I remember when we--it was a Sunday morning. We were going from Warsaw--it's 100 kilometers from Warsaw, Poland, to Łuków. When I walked into that town, not seeing it for so many years. Walking around and seeing, the tears couldn't stop. The memories. I was--I had to hide here. Here was Basha with the four sons. We were all laying on the floor with straw and she pet me when--the minute I came from Warsaw. She says, "Your auntie doesn't want you. I will take care of you." You know, so you ask me a question. I didn't answer you exactly.

Yes, you did.

Was it uh, satisfactory?


Thank you sir.

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