Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991


Forty--just before they took you?

Yeah, they took us the day after Pesach, they took us. My mother prepared that she will bake bread you know, because we didn't have bakeries to go, so everybody was baking the bread. And uh, so we couldn't hide nowhere. And a, a Gentile woman told us uh, when we was already uh, together in a school you know, in Dubranich, in the next town. So we came there and they took everybody you know, searching wherever they, jewelry, money, everything, they took away. So uh, my sister had a little silver ring from her brother and she was begging them, "Leave me that." It was worthless. But they took away. You know, just didn't want to leave it. And uh, she--so uh, there a woman came and my sister was a learning sew by her you know, learning on the machines and, uh. She was uh, a dressmaker. And she told us that we should come and she will hide us. We should in the night run out and come to her house and she will hide us. So I told my mother and she says, "You will go and hide yourself and you will leave us?" So she make me feel guilty, you know. So.

So you stayed.

I, I don't know. We survived, but. Maybe, you see, I could have traveled any place because I did...the Jews was not allowed to travel on trains. So they find you, ask you for your identification and they put you down in the next town, wherever they, they put you down. So uh, I traveled freely uh, her papers, that girl's paper who wanted to hide us.

Because of your appearance. You were blonde.

Yeah, I was blonde, and so. And once I was in big trouble. I had under the seat butter and, and uh, sour cream. All kind things I was carrying to the city for the relatives really, because they couldn't get for money there those things. Salt, they couldn't have salt. So I had everything there with me. The big gendarmes come in and sit down, they was putting the Jews down from the train. So people were sitting around me and they took 'em away as they come and they didn't ask me for paper. So they sit down there and they talk to me. And I pretend that I don't understand what they saying. I answered in Russian. ??? So uh, he says to the other one in Hungarian, "Don't you see," he says, this is a Buta Russka. Is a stupid Russka." She doesn't know what you're talking Hungarian. So they leave me alone, you know. And when we arrived to the city, police was waiting for me there. They were paid, you know. Not gendarmes, just police. My aunt send them to take away from the train what I brought because I couldn't ever bring it. So I was carrying the thing, you know. And uh, we brought it to my aunt. So they give him too, you know. So eggs, he got eggs and uh, butter. Half of it he took for the work he did. So uh, but uh, it was very, very hard. I used to, I, I told you last week, I used to bring in sugar. You know, it was a pengo a kilo of sugar when you buy in coupons. And I got ten for a kilo when I brought it to the city. But I give it away for eighty pengos the whole thing for somebody you know who bought it on the black market from me, he was selling it on the black market.

For more.

Yeah, for more. That way we made money. I was making money, I was thinking my husband will come back and I have so much money. I was selling, oh I told you that too, we had a store. With a Goy, we got the store. And I used to go and bring chocolates. We were selling a lot of chocolate and uh, candy and things, you know. And uh, the goy already got smart you know, he wanted me out of there. He started to take over because uh, he give us the place and then he started telling me that he wants to do it himself and he doesn't need me there. And uh, he will pay me what I had there and so. But he didn't. Never paid me. He pushed me out kinda. But my mother said like this, "Give it to him. Because you don't know what he can do to you, because you're doing black marketing and he knows about everything, so give it to him." And uh, we was--there was uh, uh, how do you call them, hunter. Can't remember they go--hunter. And he was from Budapest and his parents was there and he had a wife with two small children. But he was you know, a horrible guy, he was attacking the women all over. So my mother always watched over me, don't talk to him if you don't have to. Stay away from him and so on. So one day she was alone at home, so he attacked her. My mother. And uh, but uh, my mother took care of herself and, and so. And then he come and apologized that he didn't mean nothing. Because we was close friends with his parents and his wife--she, he had a gorgeous wife. But his wife he beat her. So she uh, somebody come to visit her and she wrote a note and she said goodbye, so she give him the note and that the end, that she wants to run away.

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