Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982

Death of Family Members

What kinds of things were you thinking about when you were sitting there...

We should just be free. And I hoped that Rhea is wrong. That they were--I couldn't believe it, you know. I thought, she's verfluchte she is, she doesn't have any feeling and she--and it couldn't be true and in fact that I came home to Prague, I always used to say to my aunt, "You'll see. My mother is going to come with my child. You'll see, she's going to come home" and they looked at me and they said, "Don't think of it, don't think of it. Think of something else." And, so after that, they took us to Praust in an open--wagons--not the uh, name, Prau...that is not the name--no they took us to Stutthof and there they put us in a room, in a big room, a big place. We came from a thous...a lot of women--I don't remember--and they took us in there and my sister, God bless her, as if she would have woke up from something, you know. I was so sick there. I had an ear infection. I didn't want to move anymore. I was, you know, I just felt that's it, I don't even--then I saw all those people there and we were put together like animals. I didn't even, you know, I, I lost interest in living, but my sister, she went out and they were throwing...First, she brought in milk. I remember, what is she bringing a piece of bread. It was awful and I didn't want to go out and she was dragging me. She really was the one that I have to say, she, she, she was the one that I'm still alive. And then, from there, we went to--from Praust uh, from, from Stutthof I remember, we were picking 500 women. I was the third one. You had to stay in the line. They were calling the numbers. There was a Polish man. My sister was so beautiful without the hair, she was a very pretty woman. Really, she was beautiful and there was a Polish man and he wanted her to stay in, in Stutthof and I was looking back. I was the third one of the first line to go in the line, you know. Because as they called the name, we had to stay and there five in the line. I was the third one and I was looking and she stays there by the table with that--there was SS's and she was there and, and she was talking to that Polish man and the SS turned around--I don't know how it was exactly, but I know the line then, further and further and further and five hundred women then there from, from Stutthof. We went to Praust and there was already 454 and I was counting and I was looking and I asked always the second line, "Would you change with me, would you change with me, would you--" You know, I came always down. You understand. I came always down and we changed and because there was other sisters who wanted--see one was in the first line--one was, was in the third line and we always changed that the two sisters should be together and I was just crying if I lose her, then I knew I lost and I didn't want to be separated. In, in Auschwitz, I was the one who uh, thank you. In Auschwitz, I was the one who kept her alive. She didn't want to live there. In Stutthof, I didn't want to live anymore. I got sick. I had temperature, an ear infection, in terrible pain in your head and here she didn't want me to--then Rhea told me. "If you don't feel good, don't say it to nobody. They think you're going to get over it and don't say you are sick. Don't ever mention the word sick." So she gave me the instructions and I hear--I saw, she start standing and I move down and I move down. You know, most of them, they didn't want to move down. There were friends from home. They wanted to be together, because they were afraid they going to cut off--this goes here and this goes there.

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