Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Father Sent to Gas

Uh, your father came over and kissed you?

My father come and kissed us and say, "God should hold the right hand of all of us and I hope we see each other again." But we never saw my father again after that. And I always mourn more for, for, for my little brother I mourn the most because he had no chance, you know. He was not Bar Mitzvah yet, nothing, he had no chance and he was just a lovable child. And, and looking up to me and always bothers me why I didn't give him that piece of bread that he should eat before he went to his death. My poor brother and my father he--they went right away. My mother was worse because she knew already where she going. She was six months, there was big selections and we was hiding in the toilets and so when they selected us in the morning when the transport was going, we jumped back there and uh, we was all three together. When we come to, to the bath house, they was tak...taking baths and they give us clean clothes. So they took out a Polish woman and she took out my mother. So she was screaming "Gnädige Frau. Lassen Sie mich mit meine Kinder," she was screaming, poor kid. And they wouldn't let her go, you know. And we were screaming and she was screaming. And then the next day I saw when they was taking her to the gas kammers. Because we were staying in a barrack and from that barrack the next day I saw it through the window that she was going by there. And I was crying horrible when we left Auschwitz. So my sister told me, "Why are you crying?" I say, "We le...left here everybody. In Auschwitz, everybody's left here. And o...only the ashes, who knows where." So, she, she never cried. She just took life the way it is. She was, she didn't...She just took it the way it is. And I will take care of her and that's it. But uh, she was not touched by the whole thing.

They came for your mother?

Yeah, they took her out from the line.

Talking about the selections.

The selections, yeah. They took her out and they took her away.

And she took, she pleaded to be able to stay with her children.

Yeah, yeah. She, she was you know, a woman who worked all her life since childhood very hard. Wasn't educated, because in, in, in the--but everybody was, had their own education. But she raised the children and she raised us right. But she told us everything happened the way she told us. And, and uh, and she was separated from us, she knew where she's going already. So she screamed and, and begged for her life, let me go with my children. And because the three of us was left already and no cousins, nobody we knew where they are. Nobody. Just after the war I found my cousins in Czechoslovakia. When my husband come home, now one cousin come home and she found a letter from my uncle who wrote to my mother and to their father--I still have the letter. And he wanted to know what happened to the family. So I was in Sweden and from Sweden I wrote a letter to them home you know, to Kanas. They was from Kanas. And they got the letter and they wrote me at, they sent me the letter. So that way I found out that uh, that I have relatives. But I dreamt--I always was you know, thinking what my grandfather told me. Um, the main--F...Frema is the Jewish name of his daughter. But I mixed up the first name of my father's and second name of my mother's, you know. So I wrote, I dreamt once. Uh, I don't know why I uh, did Adolf, because Hungarians was a lot of Adolf. So I dreamt Adolf Kessler--and he was Louie Kessler--but I, I dreamt. Adolf Kessler, 401 Prop Street, Dunmar, PA--this stood for Pennsylvania, but I didn't know. And I put New York. If I wouldn't put New York they would have got the letter you know, from Sweden. So uh, they are very stupid here in America with this things, because I was in Israel and that Swedish uh, Kal...uh, I mean, Kalstein, Kalstein. He--I wrote to him from home that we will be in Jerusalem so and so and uh, he didn't answer me that I should know where he is. And he's a cousin uh, to Gr...the Greenbergers, to Alex and.


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