Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Meeting other Survivors

When you came to Detroit, you met other survivors.

Oh, of course.

Did you talk to each other about your experiences?

No. Not that time.

You didn't talk to each other?

Not ??? We used to jump in words which was. I forget--do you know what, sometime lately, in the last maybe 15 years, whenever they came together, we wind up about, talking about it.

But not then?

They asked "Vee host du ibergelebt?" How did you survive? So I say, "I was a shikseh," and they know, everybody knows. And they knew Dave was--jumped a mile and a half in Treblinka and also his parents and the relatives there and he survived in the woods. They couldn't fight, because they're afraid to go to the AK, because they would kill them. They didn't, if they would cooperate, more Jews would survive. They didn't want no part of the Jews.

So, it was just a word here and there.

A word there, a word there. I think we start to talk about it when Menachem Begin, how long ago did he make peace with Carter mit you know, mit uh, Sadat? What was with--Egypt, that.

Fifteen years ago.

That he says, never again! Never again! They going to slaughter us like they did. Never again. And that got to our kops. It got to our heads. We have to say whoever survived, what went on. What they did with us. Like what made me get out and leave such nice family. "You," he says to me then in Jewish. "You're going to tell the free world." And I say, "??? what is the free world? America?" What they did to the Jews. So I looked at him and I didn't want to say nothing, because we had respect, you know. How did he know that I going to Survive. What does he know that I don't know? And the way I survived. Tsehharget--sadness, misery. I mean, hiding, being scared. Do you know what's the worst? To keep something in your heart when you don't have the will to say. It is like a trip. It is like a bomb in yourself. A bomb. You want to say something. You can't. I know I am Jewish. I know it for a fact. And yet, you had to watch every word, every movement. God forbid. You have to be like them. If they mention one word, you act like a Jew, I go around to a different farm. I was scared. And I say, "What kind of talk is that? What are you talking about?" But just idea, that you shouldn't start digging. When they start digging, I mean, they put you in a place and they start asking you questions, see you alone. I thought sometime they knew, but they were, sort of didn't want to pay attention. A little girl, they'll let her do, let her live, but they didn't do it that way. Because, how many orphans were running around and being alone and I just don't know how I survived, Sidney. I don't know how. Didn't they know? How many kids walk around without nobody, such a young girl and they ignored the situation and yet, I don't know. They wanted me to live and such a big family, just a couple people survived, like my cousin, in Israel, You know what they went through in Russia. My aunt, she was the youngest sister of my daddy, a beautiful woman. In fact, when I met her in Israel after so many years, I recognized her eyes. She had the greenest eyes with gorgeous lashes. She went with my Uncle Shmuel with three kids. He died in Russia. Two children died in Russia and she had the oldest daughter. Her name was Luba, named after the grandmother ??? And then she had a little boy. The little boy got scarlet fever. The three she lost. Mit'n uncle for typhus, for and he was a beautiful uncle. I remember Purim in Poland. And he used to date my aunt. He always came with a big cake and I used to get it to the town and that was and I was carrying the cake. Meantime I licked up all the sweets there, you know and then I pushed it up. Oh Gotinyu, so many memories. They came--the Russian. I don't know where they was. There were probably by Siberia. My auntie was working in, in, in building mud for something. Straws. I don't know what she did and my cousin was alone. They took away that little boy and they never see that boy and she said to me, that's why she's also so upset, because she and Howard, she's now fifty-six, so how old was she? A child. So she remembered when they took away this boyeleh, that little boy and he lived someplace, but nobody wants to--they looking, they were caring. If he would be dead, he would be dead, but she said that somebody took him away for themself and this may be a little Skurka running there, no their name was Pasternak. Running there someplace and no ??? in Siberia or in Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, mit--a boy what is a Jewish boy and raised by Russian and that is her conscious. That's what she told me when I had her here ten years ago, that she remembers when they took away her little brother and she never seen him and the mother back and said "Vee iz does kind?" Imagine? It was a terrible trip for him. She speaks a couple languages. She was a translator and she used to work in for the what is the party that takes care of working people? Haganah. She's going to retire now and he is a mailman. He went through hell, too. People from Russia, those Jews, they run from Poland, have a story to tell, too. It's no end. Have another piece orange Sidney, you must dry in your mouth.

Let me ask you another thing.

You're such a ??? when you. My Raymond talks like this. It's so delicate, so, so...Yes sir.

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