Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nancy Fordonski - May 29, 1982

Evacuation of Dresden

After they had rounded you all up again, what did they do with you?

'Til--they were waiting for some notice, probably from the higher, how do you say, administration or uh, what they should do with us or get us together again in another uh, factory. Start to work again or whatever. But in the meantime, that city was so badly destroyed that they probably didn't have any work for us and uh, just to let us go, they wouldn't do it. So it came a uh, announcement that uh, we will start, they will start taking us to other camps. In the meantime, I don't know, or the closest camp or they changed their mind about having us working anymore. They decided that they will take us to uh, Theresienstadt and this was in Czechoslovakia. You see, the thing is, that I know a little bit what they were planning. Usually we, we never knew anything what was going on in their mind. But between uh, those uh, Germans SS women and SS men there were still a few that they left behind some families or they were pulled into it. You know, they needed people for different things to watch this and--so they were pulled into it. I would say uh, that was behind their, that uh, they, they didn't volunteer for it, let's put it this way. But they had to do it. But still, down in their heart was a little bit humanity. That they told us, "Here you won't work." They didn't, they didn't announce, but let's say if they said to one of us, of us or we were telling each other. Oh, they will take us to another factory, they are not taking us to a concentration camp. They are taking us here or there. And that time we weren't sure, s...Theresienstadt is really a crematorium. We thought you know, maybe on the way they will stop us off and we will stay in another place. But we were walking. They didn't bother with us to take us on any trains, cars, nothing. They just let us walk. And we walked and if they--but they changed their guards. Because we could see that--let's say, for fifty miles we had some women, they looked like this, that. Then we had other people. Probably in every village or whatever. It was for--too much for them to walk. So they changed guards and they changed, they uh, walked with uh, German shepherds. So if they have the German shepherds what they were watching us, they didn't have to have so many of those SS me...SS men or SS women because the, the dogs were doing already their job. We walked for days. In the night they asked us to rest. We had hardly any food. They hardly gave us anything. My--I might even say they, they didn't give us anything. Just when we walked through fields. They uh, we could you know, from the uh, field uh, pull out a carrot or pull out a, a, a potato or something like this, so. This was going on like this quite for, for uh, I would say a few weeks. Then when we got to Czechoslovakia [pause] for the night they uh, let us stay in some barracks. I don't know or there was a camp before or whatever they had there before. In daytime they let us out, so. They had some boiled potatoes. This was the food. And once in awhile they gave us some uh, coffee what was just like brown water. But not having a chance to wash ourselves and hardly having any water for anything so. Uh, once I took the water and I washed in it my underwear. Just you know, to have the feeling that it was--I wettened it at least with something. Not to have to wear this you know, day after day. It was sticking already to the body. You felt already like uh, you hated yourself already that uh, you couldn't stand yourself. So after washing off yourself a little bit with that coffee and washing uh, your underwear, you were holding it on your back when we were sitting in the, in the yard, that it should dry off.

[interruption in interview]

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn