Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Religious Life During Holocaust

While we're talking about the shuls--did people--going back to Auschwitz again--did people pray...

In Auschwitz?

in the Lager? Do you remember anybody?

Yeah, they was, they said, Meshiach will come, it will be a Wedding, a Funeral, and a Bris. So they was making all these things in one day. Meshiach didn't come.

There was a wedding?

Yeah. And a bris, and a funeral.

In Auschwitz?

No, in, in uh, in uh, in the ghetto.

In the ghetto.

And the, they was very Orthodox Jew from Berezny. They all streimel, you know. You know what a streimel is.


Like uh, Toli Roth uh, his family was very streimel too. They was very frum. All these Jews, all these big rabbis. And Meshiach didn't come. And in Auschwitz already we, we said there is no God. We knew already what's happening, so--and we was chopping stones. And there was from Belgium--she was a doctor--and I say, "Some people say God help us, God help us." I said, "Where is He? Why are you praying to God. I become very godless. So I said where is God, if He--look what we're doing here, what they doing to us. They're burning us, killing us. You think that you will come from here? You will never come home from here!" I never dreamed that I will get out of there, that Auschwitz. So uh, that woman hit me, the doctor, over the mouth. And I just looked on her. She said, "Don't talk like this. There must be a God, we are all sinners and that's why we're here." And I thought to myself that she's crazy you know, she believes in God and we are uh, suffering like this, hungry. Once a day we got uh, uh, half a liter of uh, some uh, soup. That's all what we had to eat there. And rutabaga soup. I couldn't look on it anymore. If they give us uh, beets, this was already a, a delicatessen.

So you weren't eating well.

No, no.

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