Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Selections in Auschwitz

Obviously not, but you had the selections regularly. Was your mother getting weaker?

No, no, she was very strong. She was stronger than us, she was very strong.

So what was the...

But she was so...

what made the difference when the selection?

She, she was so gray, you see.

She kept getting grayer.

Yeah. She was, she was just forty-four, but. Uh, forty-four even here in America we get gray. They have coloring. But she has--she, poor kid, she was so gray so they took her an old lady and they took her out of the line.

But she managed to sur...

But she could have worked, worked just as we did.

She survived several selections though for six months.

Yeah, yeah, she sur...survived, yeah. But uh, that selection was a big selection. They took us already to work. We was once selected--my sister and I, we, they were selecting only blondes and they said that they are taking those girls for the soldiers. The--somebody made up a story, I don't know. They was taking it but uh, the--one girl she was taken and she came back. And they was working like in families, in households. They had it better than us. They had good. They was not taken for the soldiers. But some people was taken for the soldiers. So we run back to my mother. Uh, we went to the uh, uh, Block 29 and uh, back who would recognize us if we run back. And we went and we took coal and smeared in our hair you know, darkened. Because we didn't have hair anyway, we were shaved. So we smeared all over the hair that coal and nobody recognized us and we run back you know, to my mother. And then uh, when they again the selection came like this we was hiding in the toilet all night long, and in the morning when we saw the--you had to be alone a survivor to do things, so we run, we are with this group. Wherever they taking this group, we going with their group. [interruption in interview]

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