Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991


How did it come about that you went to Sweden?

My sister was uh, in the hospital. It was a French doctor and he told her we can't go home to Czechoslovakia. We wanted to go home. The girls were fine. Good thing I didn't go home. So uh, she uh, uh, he wanted we should go to Sweden because my sister was sick. So we uh, if we have relatives and so they could go with us. So that Sarah come with us to Sweden, and uh, I and two other girls which we said is relatives. We went to Sweden. But uh...

And they sent her to another hospital, is that?

Yeah. We was all you know, for three weeks in a quarantine in ???. And what happened, they give us to eat you know, the Swedish foods uh, fat and so.


Then they started to give us like toast and so. And every morning we had to stay in line and they give us a spoon of cod liver oil. And the girls refused and I say, "Look, they're doing for us, so swallow it. You swallowed worse things than that." So when my children was growing up, I was giving them cod liver oil. They all, now when we get together, they said, "Mom, you remember you always give us vitamins, cod liver oil." I was thinking this is best thing to give because we got it after the war. They give us cod liver oil. And uh, the Swedish people really tried you know, to give us what we wanted to eat, and so. And then when they took, separated us already, took, a Czech lager they made. It was really Hungarian. Mostly you know, mixed, it was mixed. One from Prague girls, a mother with two daughters survived. And we was there and everybody was in a bunk, like bunk beds. And everyday clean sheets and so. And oh, we was thinking, and we--the kitchen to go to eat. They prepared the food and they give us how many we wanted, you know. But uh, we--bread was never enough. We--they had white bread and we took that bread and we stand and ate 'til we finished that bread. And uh, matter of fact uh, one day we went and we were stealing the bread from the kitchen and hide in the room. The girls was always hiding food. I was too. Everybody was afraid that we won't have enough food. So the girls were stealing food and hiding there. Then they come and they talk to us, that we are hungry we should go in the kitchen and they give us how much we want and we should not hide bread because uh, this isn't good and so. So, uh.

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