Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Life in Sosnowiec During the War

Sure. Uh, after the Germans came into your town uh, you remained in your own home for how long?

Uh, well uh, I remained in my own home but uh, our homes were divided. We had to take in, not boarders, they were not boarders. They had their own, they built their own stoves or put in stoves and they had their own rooms and we were left only with a kitchen and one room. Before we had three rooms and a kitchen. And after that we were left only with one room and a kitchen.

Did anyone have any idea what was going to happen or did anyone? Was...

Well I tell you, when you lived on the German border and we knew already what Hitler was doing beside is. Don't forget that at one time Hitler uh, sent all Polish uh, [pause] citizens, he we...he sent back to Poland. Although they never spoke even Polish. They never learned the language. Either they went to Germany as children or their parents were Polish. And he sent them with nothing. So we knew already from then what was happening. Like I remember hearing about the Crystal Night. I don't remember the where and how. So we knew. Then uh, in 1940 they already start to take boys to work camps away. Uh, we already heard that Auschwitz is being built by Slovaks, people from Slovatsia were building uh, Auschwitz already. So we did hear terrible, terrible stories. And we, and we were really afraid already.

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