Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982


She didn't know the names, just the numbers?

Just numbers. She said, "let her be." She says, "okay." So she took me out and I became the Stubälteste then. A Stubälteste's work was that to wake up in the morning the girls, to make sure they are standing in Appell, cleaning up a little bit, clean there was no floor or something it was just dirt, straightening out a little bit and go in the kitchen to peel potatoes, wash dishes, you know, things like that, or uh, or bring in water to the kitchen. So, I had, so that's when she--I was in the, in the, in the lager and that was very good. I didn't have to go out. But the girls got--I'm telling you, they were rotten and they were on--there was a block, 500 people. There was a smaller block, 300 people and the smallest had two people-- 200 people, so actually the block what I had was as big as the two smaller block together. I remember that there was those girls was lying there on that koja. We took them in to eat, but they couldn't eat. That big block, they call it the big block was smelling like rotten--you know how you have rotten fruit someplace or food, or something. That's the smell they had. There was not a piece of cream or something to wash up, a little warm water. No such thing. So then, they picked them up and they took them to Stutthof they exchanged them. They took them to the gas chamber and they exchanged them for healthy girls. I remember my sister went with Emma Macha. Then later, there was a woman, she was a Czech woman and she was work--she was a pharmacist and she knew that we are sisters. Sure enough, she went to tell Emma Macha that we are sisters. Emma Macha came and gave me a licking that the blood was--first, my sister got a licking there in her room and then she came out.

How did...

She didn't call me out in the other way. You verfluchte Mißpeine!

You damned...what?

Verfluchte Mißpeine was dirty fly was what is over the dirt, you know. You verfluchte Mißpeine and that reminds me that once we were standing Appell. It was a rainy, cold--and the girls didn't want to go out and I says, "Look, the others are standing already." Emma M...through to all girls is gonna come and you in German, "And you are still here, get out, get out, get out." So they finally get up and Emma Macha was coming and she said, "So how come the girls are still not standing up Appell? Look at--she's moving--you know, because we had to stay in five lines. I said, "You know, Frau Oberaufseher, usually they standing here and there." I says, "And there is a big, m...mud puddle you see and I know you come out in the morning in the slippers and I didn't want you to go with mud. We were standing there already and then and then I started, "You going to have to go in the big mud puddle." Then I told them to come, all of them on this side, because the water is not so deep here, so she gave me a licking and she said, "You verfluct, rafinierte uh, uh, Mißpeine!" But I always find some kind of excuse. The reason I took it and that day I couldn't get any dinner, I mean soup. It was punishment for me, but if I would have said that the girls didn't want to come out or some--then 500 women couldn't get the dinner, you know. One person could always steal somehow, you know, my sister could have given me or even not, but 500 women which happened already--I couldn't have placed them that you know.

So she beat you and your sister.

Yeah. When she found out that we are sisters...

How did she, how did she...


Just with her hand?

And oh, she had hands. I remember once, you know--that was when I went out to work. We went out you see it was, it was a terrible thing, you know, we were considered really like animals, not like human beings, you know, we...I forgot to tell you--when I came--when we were in Auschwitz and there was a younger woman. She was maybe seventeen or eighteen years old. She was married already. There are so many things--and she somehow, because they took everything away from us. Somehow she managed to have a little machzor sidur, whatever it was. So when she was also on the same koja with me and she said to me, "Don't worry. We're going to be saved. If I was able to save that"--I don't remember if it was a sidur or if it was a machzor. It doesn't really matter. "We're going to be saved. You'll see, we're going to be saved." And now, she had a real Chassidish you know, because her didn't have to shave the hair, because she didn't have any. And the third or the fourth day, she ran to the wire. She wanted to see her child and that was the end of her.

Didn't she know the wire was electric?

We had--no. She didn't know. But she got out of her mind already by that time, because she start hollering and screaming. I don't know if it was the second day or the third day, she went to the wire. She wanted to jump over the wire, crawl over the wire. I remember in Auschwitz, I saw we went out there for Appell were out there one morning, one girl was standing--it was so cold. She had just a dress on and you could see the wind blow and everything was, not red, it was already purple. She was standing there for twenty-four hours on one place as punishment. You know, you got so scared that you were afraid of everything there.

Did you ever, in Auschwitz, before we come back to Emma Macha...

Have some.


This is a cheese cake if you like it.

When you were at Auschwitz, do you remember ever seeing or hearing any um, any religious activity, any people praying? Like this woman with the machzor?

She had that woman and she was the only one--first of all, they were in, you know, even in the same room--block, it was not a room, it was a block. Even in the same block, not even the next koja, you couldn't, you couldn't turn around to talk and you're standing Appell, that's when you saw each other and we were chasing out, chased out, you know.

You went to--you were in Stutthof for how long?

About three or four weeks.

So that was, what? Until July?

In Stutthof??, I was so sick, that I didn't see anybody and I wasn't interested in anybody. I was just ready to die.

Your ear infection got better.


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