Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Resting in Barn

Can you tell me about that night in the barn?

Well, we, we had blankets where we walked and there was hay. And so we digged in, in the hay and close to each other and uh, everybody you know, close to each other. And was sitting there and uh, we fall to sleep right away.

So you don't remember hearing anything.

No uh, nothing. Just they--in the morning, they told us--you see, they was changing because they was coming, those who was walking the SS with us like one day and the next day came with uh, wi...with jeeps, came other soldiers and took over and they went back. But we was walking for many days. I don't remember how many days we walked 'til we come to that barn. And then we walked again, so we come to Gross-Rosen.

You were in the middle of dead people.

Yeah. So they was left there. I don't know what they did with them.

Was there any reaction? I think when...


you said there was a dead body on top of your sister.

Yeah, we was--she was pushing. She say she's, "Oh, my feet, I can't--she's laying on my feet." So I went and I pushed her. And uh, she was cold. So I'd say, "Margaret, you have to help yourself. Don't give in. Move around because you wind up like her. You see, she froze to death." So I say, "Don't do that." I say, "I need you. And I talk to her all the time, "I need you, I want you should be with me." And went down from--when they was taking us to Mauthausen in those box cars, open box cars, it was snowing and... So again, we were standing like herring there. So I pushed away like this from the corner and my sister was sitting. And they pushed me back, but I was strong. Even today, I, I say people in my--younger from me can't walk. But I was pushing and she was sitting there and sleeping and everything. And I--SS man, one was sitting with us. And they jumped all over him and they brought him food and the girls attacked him and took the food, because was so hungry. So--but he was not a, a bad man. He didn't hurt, hurt nobody.

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