Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Sanitary Conditions in Auschwitz

And you said there was a problem--always a problem with lice.

Lice, all over. All over. All over was lice.

Was that...

Diarrhea and lice and, all over.

But you hid in the latrine once, right.

Yeah, in the train we got 'em.

In the bathroom, in the, uh...

Yeah. In the...

What was that like being in there?

In the bathroom?


Well, I tell you, it was a long bathroom. They had--you can sit, they had toilets all over. It was clean. And we hid there during night you know, in the corner. We were sitting there, all three of us. There was other people too.

Was that a safe place?

It wasn't, but nobody was looking there for us. They didn't know we're uh, we're uh, missing. Just in the morning when the transport was going, we--the, the, the barrack was uh, two doors away from the bathroom. So the, we went uh, jumped in it. We were, with, with...

Rather than marching.

those girls, we were selected together. You know, we jumped in. And they didn't bother us, you know. Because they was counting and we was fitting in you know, so.

How did you get used to this? Or did you? I mean, you said there was diarrhea everywhere and lice.

You never get used to it. We was killing the lice all the time you know, killing. We couldn't wash clothes because it was, the water was rusty, cold. We didn't have running water. We didn't brush teeth. We had pyorrhea, you know. Everybody was pulling their teeth. So when I come to, to Sweden they cured my teeth, but the bottom teethes they cured too, but when I come here to America I got again pyorrhea and they wanted thousand dollar to fix it. And where did I have thousand dollar? So I was pulling 'em out and I went to the dentist and I told him, pull 'em out. And there was a man who private made it--for forty dollar for me a pair and I still wear it. I had it made. I had three, four made already, but I can't wear 'em. These always I put back in my mouth, it doesn't bother me. This, I can eat everything, nothing bothers me. Everybody says the bottom teethes very hard, but not for me. So uh, and uh, I have capsules all in my teeth, the other one, and, uh... [interruption in interview]

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