Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991


And only four Jewish families.

Four Jewish families. Nobody bothered us. They looked up to us because the Gentile people worked for us and they need a living. So--and nobody was stealing, we made those cheeses. They called 'em brinse, and put under the house to dry. And we was delivering to the city and maked a living out of.

How large was your family?

Uh we just, that time my, my grandfather, when they took us away my grandfather died already. And mother and father and four of us. Two boys and two girls.

And how, were they older than you?


Your sister's younger than you.

I was the oldest. I was the oldest. And believe me, I didn't had childhood. From seven year old, I had to go down--my mother came in the morning, dragged me down from the bed, go feed the chickens. And she went to milk the cows and I crawled in for five minutes, but I fell to sleep. So when she come she didn't ask me to get up, she hit me. Why I am there in bed. And uh, I was so scared of my mother. I used to say for mein children, "Why are you getting up so early? I wish my mother woulda let me stay in bed. I let you stay in bed." So uh, I worked very hard since I was seven year old. I...

Did you go to school too?

I went to school, yeah. It's a--was a Russian school and they went on Saturdays too to school, but I didn't go because uh, they told the teacher that uh, we can't write on Shabbos and they--we didn't go. But then they had uh, uh, the lessons we had to learn because Monday they insisted that they should ask us if we learned. So I always studied on Shabbos.

The rest of your family, did your parents have brothers and sisters?

Oh lots, big families. My mother had uh, just one, one brother and all the sisters in ano... I, I have one brother at home. I mean uh, he lived in another city. And uh, and my father had their was thirteen you know, And uh, nobody was rich. It's just that during the war my uncle was making a good living with the, they was uh, chopping the woods and, and shipping it to Hungary so he was involved in that and he maked a good living with that.

Your mother's family, were, were they from the same town? Was it, Novosel is it?

My mother yeah, was born there, yeah, and my grandfather I was very close. I think he, he helped me to survive. Because he used to tell me when I was a kid, he was--I was just twelve year old when he died.

Was it his farm?

Yeah. And he used to call me to his uh, death bed, he says he going to die. But he wants to tell me something. And I said to him, "What do you want to tell me Zeidee?". And he says, "All I want to tell you that don't stay in Europe because every twenty-five, thirty years they kill Jews. You write to America," and he give me the name to my daughter Fanny he says, "you write and they should bring you out to America. Don't stay here."

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