Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982

Leaving Praust

Um, tell me how you got to Denmark.


Tell me how you got to Denmark.

You know, when Russia came close already to Praust, the healthy women, they took with them, the German. The sick women was standing right behind. They probably died of hunger or, or, I don't know what.

They just left them in the camp?

They just left them back, left them out back. And, we were walking and walking and walking. We went into a barn for a night to sleep. I'm telling you, we had lice that big. They were so burly you can't imagine.

Was this the first time that you noticed the lice?

Yeah. We had lice already in Praust, too, but not, you know, all over. And we went, first we went into a church. Some, some group were there already before us in the nighttime. We sat down and there was already they made there, you know and there were so dirt and the people probably knew that we gonna come, or maybe the people before us were there and they boiled potatoes and they wanted to bring it to the church. The SS saw that they, that they bringing. They brought it on a blanket, you know, four people was hanging on to it and they brought it in.

These are Germans?

They were Polish people I think.

Oh. Where is Praust exactly?

Close to Danzig.


And SS saw it. He, he, he, he took it away from them and they, they just threw it on the floor and we saw it and we ran out from the floor to grab him and they were smashing it with their foot, you know and we wanted to grab it, because we went into the garbage as to, for potato, peels, we ate that. And we want to grab, you know, whatever, to grab the potatoes to eat. A potato. And there was fights between the Jewish girls, you know, because we were so hungry and wanted to eat something, anything. It was cold and hot potatoes would have been, you know, a life saver, but we didn't get it. Just the way we, you know, whoever could grab, whatever they grab. And then we--and next morning we went further. We went into a German house. No, the SS's went into the German house and there was a barn there. The way they were walking with, with wooden shoes and uh, the ones who couldn't walk anymore, you know, the foot was frozen, the hand was frozen, the nose was froze--they couldn't walk, so the SS was shooting, you know. Here one woman, here one woman. What we left behind from that, from that our transport from our women. And as we were walking, we were in the end already and there was one Ukraine uh, SS and he knew my sister, because she was always out, you know, in that barrack where they were, you know. He said to her, you stay off and uh, uh, I'm going to pretend I don't see you. You stay in the woods. Pretend you have to make and you stay in the wood, so one at a time--so three of us--there was another girl who was always with us. She, she wouldn't leave us alone, you know and so they were there--they were at the house and we start walking and as we walked, we met Emma Macha and Emma Macha was there with the Wehrmacht men who had a big truck. He said--she said to him, "Look at those three verfluchte Mißpeine. See, they gonna survive," and Emma Macha went away and he put us on the truck with--and we went on the truck with him, Wehrmacht, but I have to tell you something else. When we were in that barn and they were in the house, there was Wehrmacht. A lot of Wehrmacht.

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