Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Being Taken for Forced Labor

Me, they took to a camp, a temporary camp and from there I was supposed to do, which I was, shipped to a working camp at that time. Uh, a couple days later my sister came to the windows, they kept us quite awhile there. And uh, she told me that my mother is home. She tried to convince me and she brought me my mother's ring and told somebody she gave it to me, and that's when I believed that my mother is home and my parents were home. Uh, and I was shipped to the concentration camp. Uh, but I want to tell you that before I went to this concentration camp we had sleepless nights. Always on the watch out; always something new. At one time uh, they came, they took some people out and some they didn't. Uh, and the street was lit up. We really, they were so organized, we did...we didn't even notice when they put up the spotlights on the whole street--on a whole block. And they, we were terribly persecuted. We were not allowed to walk this street; we're not allowed to walk that street. And we did--we used, we used to get very small rations. When it came to clothes, none whatsoever. Uh, they were picking up people for, for no reason. You could walk the street and suddenly you disappeared, you never came home. It was a very, very disturbing life. Anyhow uh, the concentration camp is really unimportant, I think, because everybody went through the same thing, more or less, uh...

What camp were you in?

I was in Sudetenland, this is the part uh, of Czechoslovakia that was given by Chamberlain to Hitler to appease him. And the English thought that this will hold back the war uh, which didn't. Uh, Hitler unfortunately was not a man of honor and did not keep his promises. Uh, in the concentration camp uh, I came in August and the circumstances I can describe. Uh, this were two big halls at one time. Uh, it was a warehouse on the--we were about a thousand girls in the two halls. Uh, I--the fleas were eating us up alive. At night you couldn't sleep. Uh, we worked; I worked, in uh, in a plant uh, where they were making fabrics for the war, like sacks. Uh, we would have to walk an hour each way under supervision. Uh, the food we were getting from the German kitchen, which was not bad at the time. Uh, then uh, I--since I volunteered to go to Sudetenland, I was after the inspector. He used to come to check on us he should send me because this was my intention and this was the reason of my volunteering to go to Sudetenland. They promised me that I will be going to the camp where my sister is. In the meantime, they kept me there but after seven months I succeeded. And they exchanged two sisters sent to our camp and two--this was still at the time when this was a working camp, I want you to know. And so I got to the camp where my sister was.

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