Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

SS Guard on March

Was he SS?

SS, yeah.

Not Wehrmacht, SS.

No, SS. And he say, he says to us, "Du bist sein frei." You will be free. But the way he was saying, you know. So we knew that.--then one day I already you know, standing over my sister, I say, "You know, you come, get up, and you stay here and I should be able to sit down." So even today I remember I almost died. I felt already I couldn't breathe because they pushed her. She couldn't stand the crowd away. They was going crazy. Uh, one sister jumped on the other and opened her stomach. Because she was dead. And, and uh, she was frozen. So she jumped on the stomach and you saw everything coming out. So the, the people was going crazy already. They didn't know what they are doing. So if somehow I got up from that floor, I don't know how. You know, it was bashert for me to live. So uh, I got up and I push--start pushing back you know, the crowd. And finally we arrived to Mauthausen. So we went through the baths again. They give us like a pajamas, striped pajama. I ne...never buy nothing striped. Ne...never. My daughters know already. No stripes. So uh, and there in Mauthausen--the--we was ashamed because just a handsome doctor, Czech doctor. So we were staying naked in front of him and everybody with the hands like this. So uh, he says in Czech uh, we should not be ashamed. "You just stay here, it, it doesn't bother me," he says. "I see that everyday," he says, "it doesn't bother me. And you should not be ashamed. It's not your fault. They should be ashamed of themselves what they do to you and to us and everything." He told us they are prisoners too and uh, political prisoners.

So this is another Czech prisoner.


But he wasn't in uniform.

No, no, no, no. Czech prisoners they was. Because the Czech people was nice people. And uh, so uh...And we, we didn't have baths already, nothing. We slept on the ground in dirt, black dirt. And we was make like laying there and we was laying on that. But uh, I didn't know at that time that they have gas chambers there.

In Mauthausen.

Yeah, I...

When you were in Gross Rosen, what did you do there?

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