Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Father Taken Away

When, when your father was taken away, what happened in the household?

Well, it was very hard to be without a father and you know, us--just the children and so we took care of things, you know. But...

You were already eighteen.

Well, I was already. Yeah, I was already older because uh, I was uh, born 1920. So uh, and uh, in forty...in, in '43, I was '23. So uh, and uh, that's when they was taking 'em. So I, I was home because they took away my husband already. He was gone, I didn't know where he is already.

And your, and your brother had come back. And he...

He come back, but then they took him away again, you know. And uh, and I don't know that time you can buy yourself out for money. And they let you, I did buy my hu...husband out for five hundred pengos Hungarian. And he come home, he was home three, four weeks and he got another telegram and he had to go again.

So your husband, it came by telegram.

By telegram, yeah.

Your father, they just came and got him at the house.

Yeah. And my brother too by uh, telegram. To go here or there. So he went and he bought himself out and he come home. And the boys was going to the military, his age guys and uh, he had to be on a, on a certain field standing and watching there. I don't know what he was watching, I remember what they was doing. So the boys came and he says uh, his name was Herschel. So he say "Herschel, go because the gendarmes are here and they be probably looking for you so go in the field there." He had--they called it levente, he had to stand there and watch, I don't know what, but he had to watch on that field. And the gendarmes was coming and he wasn't there exactly. So they beat him up that he was running over to another uh, guy who was uh, still wa...too watching, not Jewish, and he fell down and he died. That, that guy come home running you know, and he told--he woked us up. He says that Herschel's laying on this fields there and uh, he couldn't help him. He tried to lift him up and he couldn't lift him up. So that time my father wasn't home. And my mother, we was all running together, you know. And he, he was dead. So they come to examine him and they said he had a heart attack. But we knew...

But he was beaten.

He was beaten. He was black and blue. They washed him and they found, you know. So who know how they was beating him, poor kid, that he died like this.

How old was he?

He was uh, oh, three years younger from me, yeah. He was you know, so.

What, what did you think at ho...what did you say to each other? What went on in your house when that happened?

All we did is cried. I don't have tears anymore because I cried in my life so much. Especial from my brother. I was very close to my brother. And I loved my brothers very much, both of 'em. The little one, he was looking up to me like I would be his mother. Everything. At home if he didn't want to do something and I was away, I used to go to the city you know, to Ungvar. Stay with relatives because I was bored always working on the fields and so, so I went to the city. And this wasn't nice for a girl to go to the city, you know. But mein aunt wrote me a letter, she was a cousin to my mother and she--we call her aunt. And she wrote a open postcard to me, "Lanka you come tomorrow in and I'm waiting for you." And they owned a--in Ungvar, she knows her uh, Rod's wife. She had a-- they had a--the, a theater. Well, a Jewish girl be in the theater there. She was--they, they was working there. My uncle and her they uh, had--they hanged the clothes you know, the coats. In Europe you didn't go in your coat in, in the theater. You had to hang up. So she rented that and she maked a living of it.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn