Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Telling Children about Experiences

Let me, let me come back, did your children ever ask you any questions about it?


And that's when you tell them about it.

Yeah, but, they all were very sort of sad. Why, why don't I have an uncle? Why don't I have cousins and why don't I have grandparents? Why, why. So we adopted an uncle. Uncle Bill that I would like that you should meet him. He's something else. He is special. Was nine years old ??? very sweet boy, I mean, he's like my brother. My husband took him in like a brother to him, like a relative, because they met in Germany. "Why don't I have relatives?" So I say, "It was a war and they killed them." "Why didn't they fight back?" I say, "You're too young to understand." But they know, they know. They, my husband was sitting sometime with the two boys and they ask him, I don't know exactly all the details from Dave, because he didn't open the way I am here. You know, he had that sadness because he still remember, he told me, when they killed, when they came into that little shtetl and they killed the father and the father was a man of, he was prosperous. He was in the Shul, a big macher. People came and asked questions to him you know, like in Europe--no lawyers, din toirehs, you know. I don't know how you say it in English. Uh, and they are a basic, lovely family. With ???, they had--they were three brothers and two sisters and then my husband's family, he had eight uncles and one was very prosperous, they shot him. He had--was a baron. He had a lot of ground. You know, for a Jew in Poland and he had a lot of people working for him and handled a lot of land. It calls him a ??? It calls in Polish. It's, I think it's a baron in English. A ???, I mean you know, and then another uncle was in Belgium and he had in Israel also, a couple cousins that were graduated from ??? in ??? Italy and they are composers, musicians, nice people. I mean, you see a background, you know and the rest I don't even know, had cousins and, and the mother of his, yeah, the mother died in Treblinka, because they survived together when they came to s...make Judenrein. Like I said, he came for one day. At that time, he lost--it's not that they could stay on and hidden, we would survive for the family. So I had come to see the Jews. Look at what fate, fate works. I mean, your destiny somehow, somebody plans out for you and, could that be true? I don't know what to say. I know you are only a historian and I'm not--I don't believe, but sometime, look at me alone, alone, alone, a girl of fourteen years, because like in '39, I was thirteen, to, to go in, in the world alone from place to place with swollen feet and hungry, one little dress. I had a pair of shoes, but I saved them. I had them on my shoulders. I didn't want to ruin them, because who would give me another pair? And you know what else I don't remember, what did I do with clothing. I was a young women. I needed, I remember I had a pair of men underwear somebody gave me, so I tied it up here, because I was afraid when the boys were grabbing me like that, so I always tied them up here so I should kick him away from me, they should not touch me and those for the longest time. I washed them at night and hung them up at day, 'til they tore. So another lady gave me some garment I remember to wear. It was such a problem with everything. How did I do it? No money. You could have saved if you had money. You could buy yourself out of certain things. I run away with nothing. Not even a piece of bread. You know what, while I was walking to that Łuków, I seen potatoes and I pick them up in the road, but it would be heavy to carry. I says oh if I could only, could have given to the ghetto, if I could come back and throw at them, maybe they would eat. In fact when, before he brought my mother, when he went to take out my mother from the ghetto, I baked a bread. I don't know if I told you, a big, black bread and I received a letter from them, because you couldn't take out right away, that, that oh, she told me, the bread that she received, they thought it was gold mit brillianten gold and diamonds and everybody, the children still were living when I sent the bread, because I couldn't digest my life, having a piece of bread and potato and always thinking about they be hungry. How do I do it, God, how do I do it? And I was smart when those Gentile people gave me like potatoes when I mother was not here I sold it and I saved up the złotys you know those złotys were worth nothing, but it helped me taking, I think 350 złotys helped me take my mother out from the ghetto, to see her for maybe three weeks...

It was three weeks?

Not every day, but just when I used to come for the, when they came to the bazaar to sell, the farmers, with their goods, so I always went at the outskirts, he should know where I'm going and then I say I meet you in the same place.

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