Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Life Under Germans

After that the Germans started to go into houses uh, look for trouble. If they would find a piece of cheese which you shouldn't have, they would take you immediately away. Uh, they just looked for anything. And it became so that I became the uh, the head of the household. Because my parents--in the beginning I was so worried about them that I used to tell them, "Oh, the Germans are going from house to house, go away, go away, go out," and they would. And uh, one day they came to the store and uh, they thought that the, the carts that we had for uh, food uh, were not right. They had like, something like water, you know, like you look through them, you see some--they thought that they were fault, they wanted--and they did--wanted to take my father away. And I said I am in the store and I am the representative and they slapping me right and left. Uh, no, they insist that my father should go. Thanks God it happened that my father came back. And then uh, they took away my sister. She was the first one. Uh, this was in 1942, they took away my sis...my younger sister. And uh, a half a year later, this I, I never forget, a half a year later they took all the Jews to a place uh, where they used to play soccer uh, it was a tremendous big place. And in--they said that they're going to stamp our cards. Uh, old women of eighty colored their hair so they would look younger. Everybody was terribly scared. Uh, they kept us there all day long and the sun was burning, it was so hot. There was no water, there were anybody alive; whoever was Jewish was there in the place. They didn't leave anybody home, because if they would catch you home, they would kill you on the spot. Uh, and uh, it was quiet. At night it started to pour, and I mean pour. There was not a thread on our body that was dry by morning. And the morning came and I remember it was so gray, and the puddles of water. And the Gestapo came, came in those black uniforms, they looked so horrible. It was so--it was actually like night, that, that's how dark it was. And they started the segregation and it was one-two-three-four. Uh, one was free, they needed people for work in our town uh, two was uh, a concentration camp, three was maybe, maybe, and four was the ovens--Auschwitz. Uh, there were--with the children they were very rough. Uh, I remember uh, a Gestapo picking up a buggy, throwing it in the air, when it came down you, you could hear bones breaking. And it gives me the creeps even now when I think about it. I, I, I really can't talk about it. And in the morning I saw my father and my mother being taken away. And as far I knew at that time, they went to Auschwitz.

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