Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Mother Taken

They found your mother in the...

No, they took her out...


of the uh, the line in the back when we went for the you know, so they took her out. And she was screaming, she was screaming.

What did your--how did your sister react?

No, she was, I don't know, she was calm, didn't--nothing bothered her, nothing bothered her. We here, we here, we there, we there. She was hungry, she was hungry. Nothing bothers her. I never saw uh, even now. She lives in Sweden and with a drunken husband she was living all the years. And I told her, leave him and come here. No, she didn't wanna. She stuck--now he's very good to her. He doesn't drink anymore and he's very good to her. But all the years he was very rotten to her. And uh, didn't bother her. She doesn't observe, nothing. No uh, religion. And she doesn't--I mean, she was here about two years ago.

You're observant.

I--we observe. I mean, we're not Orthodox, we, uh...

But in Auschwitz you didn't believe in God anymore.

No, I didn't.

Do you now?

How could you believe in God?

Do you now?

I think something's there you know, to lead us through. But I should say I would be so religious as I was in Europe. I would never be an Orthodox where I was praying to God every day in Europe. Every day. And, and was coming the High Holidays I was standing all day long and praying for my husband. I didn't know where he is already and I was praying for him. And uh, I was very, very Orthodox. So--look, after Auschwitz, there is a few which is Orthodox, but I don't know if there is too many of 'em who become very Orthodox after Auschwitz. How can you believe if they was taking live people and burning--killing and burning, can you believe there is a God? Why did He allow to do that?

But you could still be a Jew.

Yeah, you can still be a Jew, but uh, this, this, you can't get away never, you're not a Jew. But just thinking of what's happening now here in America right away...

I mean, you can be a Jew and still not believe in God.

Yeah, yeah. I don't, I don't pray to God, I go to shul every week and I pray, but I think all the time where, where was He when I needed Him? Like asking myself, you know. My husband, he runs to shul in the morning, ??? in the evening, he always in shul. He's a leader there, he's established there uh, for him uh, men who adore him. And he thinks he's uh, some kinda big macher because uh, everybody believes in him. He knows more than they do. You say, like uh, coming to the Bible, the rabbi's explaining the Bible Sunday, the people go listen. So Martin gets up and he talks more, he knows more than the, the rabbi. He don't want to do that to the rabbi. But uh, sometime uh, he tells 'em, he puts 'em questions. So--and he lost--they were seven, the family and he lost everybody. So he's the only sur...survivor.

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