Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Hannah Fisk - January 24, 1983

Life in Gabersdorf

Yeah. What was the type of work that you did? You worked in a kitchen?

No--yeah, I work in a kitchen for a while. Yeah. And then they--I went to the factory. I worked by cotton. In cotton uh, they made fabrics. It was very dusty--terrible dusty there. But I know every machine. You can imagine, when the German gave me double bread, double jam, and double soup. It was a very heavy--I was fifteen years old. I was carrying between 200 and 300 pounds on my--it was cotton. When they dry, but they soak them--when they wet--when they dry, they are nothing, but when they wet they very heavy. I used to go like that. I got fifteen years old. But somehow I survived.

What were the living conditions like? What were the barracks like? Can you describe...

The barracks were clean. Oh, they were clean, honey. We, we couldn't fool around. You could eat from the floor, it was so clean. They came, inspected. The Lagerf...the, the German SS came in every day and we had to every night they got us to wash the floor. Was--every--it was like a line up, you know, this girl this time. ABC, just like. It was very clean. Even oh, we slept on uh, those straw, you know? But every month they took them out because they were afraid for the bugs--the bed bugs. We have a few of those one uh, one what uh, smells so terrible. Not lice, what do you call those? Bed bugs, I guess. And uh, a few nights in the beginning until I get used to it uh, I was sleeping on the table, because my face was all red, you know? I used, I used to kill them. They used to go on me. But most, most the time everything was nice and clean. But one accident, I have to tell you--incident. When I came into the concentration camp the first day--my mother--my stepmo...my stepmother never cut my hair. I had braids. My braids were thick as my hand, all the way to here. She took scissors and cut them off. Soon as I walked in, soon as I walked over the, the step. I was so--I don't think if she killed me that time I would care. She took off my braids. But thank God we were not like there in Auschwitz, you know, without hair. We had our hair. Not much 'cause we didn't have no soap, nothing. And I worked in that factory, it was very dusty. I came home. I stood by the douche and I took a cold douche. No hot water. We had one little piece of soap they called it RIF. They called Rein Jüdisches Fett--that made from children's skin. You hear about that. We got it once a month, a little piece. We had to wash our dress--I had one dress. Sunday I wash the dress, I wear it all week. Every Sunday we had to wash the dress. And every night when I came back I stood in the cold douche. So, my hair came out. I say uh, instead of having lice, I'd rather not have hair.

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