Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nancy Fordonski - May 29, 1982

Stutthof

Can you describe your living conditions in Struthof, Struhof?

We were all in barracks, on the floor, there were no bunk beds, nothing. Whoever came in first got a spot, let's say, by the wall was better off than the one in the, in the middle of the room or the one by the window. Because the one what had a spot by the window, the windows were open and in the night if we had to go out and make. So we were just stepping over the bodies going in and out. So if you were close to the window, everybody--they were stepping on you. So sometime somebody bit you in your leg because you just stepped on your--their face, so they had a chance just to clink their teeth and give you a bite. They were just falling asleep and you had to go out. Or you know, you had cramps from not eating or uh, being uncomfortable. You went out, outside. You couldn't--it wasn't just outside because they were going around, they were watching us. But uh, they were just one washroom and there were a few hundred of us in that barrack. So we had just to go out in the yard and do whatever we have to make. In the morning we had to clean up. So once a day, they took us in the morning. We had an Appell. And uh, we got a piece of bread and uh, some black coffee. What was worse than whatever. And we were assigned to go to work. But we still, we were still fortunate because as long they were sending us--taking us for different Kommandos to work, we still had a chance to live, survive. So my sister and I were assigned to go out for--it was a uh, uh, like farmer's Kommando. That we'll, there were places that piled up potatoes and uh, carrots, beets, different things what the farmers were bringing in. We hadn't seen anybody because where we came in everything was already piled up. But we were just you know, putting it from place to place and uh, making uh, different portions, whatever, because they were coming in from different camps. Taking it. So we worked there 'til late in the afternoon. And then when we came back, marching back with sore feet, because mostly you didn't have the right shoe or they were torn shoes or you were cold. Or I remember I had wood shoes that they were rubbing on my toes. That every, every step I did I, I thought I'm fainting but I would never stop going or complaining, because if I would, I won't be as...assigned for work next day and I will be ready a candidate for the crematorium. Because everyday when we're going back and forth we could see that uh, from the chimney the smoke was uh, coming out. So it was plain scared to complain and to say I'm sick or I feel sick. Coming back late in the afternoon, they gave us a soup and then we went in into the barracks and we were allowed to go from barrack to barrack. It was everything you know, surrounded with barbed wires, but uh, every few blocks, every few uh, barracks you know, we had uh, we could go back and forth to them. So whenever we had the chance my sister and I went to see my sister. One day, and whenever we had a chance to, to gi...bring her something or give her something because when we worked out we had, could hide a carrot or a, or a beet. You know, we would hide it and bring it in for her that she should have something. One day, when we came [crying] her clothes was laying in a corner and other people what were still there, they said that some SS men came in and they took her out and other few people. They said that they are sending them to other places to work. But we knew better. Because later she was complaining, she couldn't see too good. I don't know what--it was tuberculosis or whatever. 'Cause she changed so much from day to day. And when we came and she wasn't there, we knew that [crying] we lost her. That they took her away. It was probably, it was to the crematorium. [pause] We loved her so dearly. She was our older sister. And we all looked up to her so much and we really thought that maybe if the war, the war will end she will be somehow sub…substitute for our mother. It's unfortunate. It wasn't… [pause, crying]


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