Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Family

And when they took you to the train station...

Well, when they took us to the train station they took us first to my grandparents house, and I remember sitting on my grandfather's knee and he had this big beard and I always hated it because it pri...it was so pricky. But this time I didn't mind. And, and my grandmother who was completely blind--she sort of went over me with her fingers as if she wanted to remember, you know, every bone, every part of my face--my, my, my face, as if she wanted imprinted on her sightless eyes. You know, it, it was incredibly, sort of, moving. But I still kept sa... saying to myself, "We'll be back within a year." And it wasn't until we were in the train in the station and until when our parents, sort of, picked up their faith. But as the train started to leave I could see anguish on their faces.

Did anyone cry?

I did. And then, I mean, you know, it was dark, wasn't it? And, and, and they were sort of, in those--there were steam trains and there was steam pouring. Uh. And uh, I was lucky because my sister was next to me and she put her arm around me and she said uh, "Don't cry, you always have me. I might be a sore, poor substitute, but remember you always have me--turn to me, please, if you're lonely, if you're homesick." You know, and um, I mean, I didn't like her very much in the old days because she was bossy and clever and all the things I wasn't. But from that moment on she was the best sister in the world.

Do you have that memory of steamy platform and...


...waving goodbye?

Oh yes, I think those sort of memories never leave you, because it was such a turning point in our lives.

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