Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - April 26, 1984

Living in Ukraine

What, what other kinds of episodes do you remember while you were living there? Anything in particular that...

Well uh, in my tape I describe I, I remember going to the bathhouse with my mother and grandmother, you know, things like this.

To the mikvah.

Well, I don't know if, where they were steaming themselves and beating themselves with brooms, you know, in a steam house or something. I remember doing that a few times with, with my grand... My mother was a very attractive person. She was very slim and tall. And um, I remember seeing all the other people, they were very fat but she was slim, and I can see this. Silly, but...

Were you frightened as a child by all this?

Well um, well, already then there was a, a sense of, of tremendous fear in, in the pe... you know, you could... You... In my tape I say that, that I could even feel that... People became quiet. People didn't even walk fast. People didn't even talk much unless it was necessary. That, that's... This is the next thing that I remember is like everybody like sort of acting like a shadow. I don't even think that saying that people would go, would go out anymore during the day. Uh, it was more like you didn't even want to be seen, that kind of a feeling. And um, I remember always being extremely quiet and holding on to my mother's skirt. Really, um... Thinking about it now, that, that was the beginning I think of, of, of the real problems because you could sense it in the feelings of the people in this household. I don't know of anybody else. And it was always "shh, shh," you know. Um...

Were you puzzled about why you didn't... couldn't go home? To your...

I don't know.

Did anybody tell you why you weren't going back?

No, I have no recollection of that at all, mm-mm.

Did you go to school while you were there?


So, what would a day would be like? You'd stay home...

I don't remember that either, you know, because...

How old were you then?

...don't forget, I was... I was born in '35, so.

Four years old.

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