Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982


You became an American citizen?

In 1955 we became a citizen. In 1951, I got very sick. In Paris, France, in 1949, the kids were not quite a year old and I got so sick that I had black spots on my body all over. I couldn't move it myself. And my landlady, she came home and she took me to a hos...to a hospital. And before she took me to the hospital, she took me to a doctor. And I had on one side pain and they thought it's gall bladder. And a nurse came and they took, to give me a shot in Paris. I was lying there. Then one day Madame Riddner came home, she always looked and she came in to see how I am and she said, "you cannot stay here. It's not right. Something is very wrong with you." She took me to the hospital. And there I was eight days. Couldn't take nothing in my mouth. Everything came back, even a little water. And month of August in Paris you cannot find a doctor. They all went to the coast; vacation. There was a young doctor. I remember, I was there eight days. They took x-rays--he took x-rays day and night, day and night. One I had in mouth. I didn't want it, just one swallow of water. If I had water everything came back.

Did they find out what it was?

Then he said that it's gall bladder operation Yeah I have to have a gall bladder oper... operation. There was a very dear friend from Munkacs, Dr. Katz. And somehow my husband met him there and he told him, I 'm in and hospital and he knew us and he was very and... He came to see me. And he said to me, now listen to me. Gall bladder operation, it's not a big thing, very common. I would suggest you should have that operation. You know, what's in it maybe busts or something, have it done. I see he was there and he saw how I look. He says "I see you cannot take nothing in your mouth. And I see you vomiting and everything bitter and yellow. Have the operation." Ten o'clock at night before the operation, doctors came in and said, "I am sorry to bother you. You should really rest. Tomorrow is the operation. But to make sure I would not take ???" He took another x-ray--another--took me back. He says, "I want you to, I want you to get to sleep." They gave me a pill--a shot. And the next morning they took me to the operating room. It was a long operation. And they brought me back, they took me to a separate room where the nurses are and the next morning, a German-Jewish doctor, tall handsome guy He couldn't operate there, but he, he was a surgeon in Germany and he, he knew a habit already. He come with a man--he came to every operation. Not every, you know he came in the next morning and he said to me, "you're a very lucky person. Your kidney, as a kidney was not to recognize, not recognizable. It was nothing, just a big bag of pus." So they opened me up here, as it would be for gall bladder. Then they opened up here and they put in a pipe and I was open here and that's why they put me, they, they put me back in room where by the nurses were. And I was under constant care, constant care. I was there for six weeks. And then from there I be sending to a convalescent, because pus was still coming. And every morning they would clean me up. So that's what happened. I'm alive, I raise my children and if I may say so I did a pretty good job. They are all decent, law-abiding citizens and they are all respectful and somehow, they care...

[interruption in interview]

...one other thing, so many--but how can you remember thirty years--more than that, thirty-five It's a long, long time. And since that time, I went through many other things, you know. My brother, my brother had a big accident, because he wants to...

Now, how many grandchildren do you have?


Just, just the two?

The boys don't want to get married

Oh, just you wait...

I don't know if its gonna be--oh look at the time, you must understand that it is late Before you know it ???

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn