Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Telling Children

When, when did you start to tell your children these things, or did you?

Well, when, when they was teenagers already. My daughter, you know--I used to--I'll tell you something, I used to scream in my sleep horrible nights. Uh, I dreamt all the time. I am flying and I'm holding my children and I go up like on a flight and slide down and there was the gas kammers when I slide down. So I lift up and I fly away. All this was flying. And I was screaming. So the children used to run, especially my Beverly, she always run to me, "Mommy, mommy, mommy what's the matter?" So I start telling her then, you know. Before if I was screaming they was uh, you know, children they were sleeping, they wouldn't pay attention. So uh, but uh, uh, even now I have sometime dreams.

You still have nightmares.

I still have. Martin wakes me up and...

Same dream?

I'm crying. Uh, different things I dream all the time. And now I am very attached to my uh, two grandsons here. So uh, I always protect them and I...To them I talk. To my grandson I talk. "Michael, you learn in school," he's not doing good in school. He has a lot of faults. He, he's uh, has uh, uh, asthma and he has allergies, and he's hyper. He has all that from his father's family. So uh, but he's tall. He's taller than his father. He's five, eight already, he's sixteen. So uh, and the little one is very short. So he will have a bar mitzvah now in Ma...in uh, April, in, in now, in March. And the father didn't want that we should come to the bar mitzvah, you know. So uh, he was screaming and yelling. He says, "Daddy, I want my Bobe, Zeidee they love me and I love him." But he's pushing his mother. They don't love her because she don't do nothing for them. I raised them. They need me middle of the night, I'm there. They--my grandson calls me up--he's driving already but doesn't have a car. "Bobe, I need to uh, to go to work, will you come uh, drive me to work." And I say, "You don't live far Michael, you can take the bike." Because uh, he lives Drake, in uh, between Thirteen and uh, Twelve and uh, the theater is in Orchard Lake, you know. So Twelve Mile, nothing for him to come with a bike. But he don't want to. So what should I do. I go and pick him up. Like tonight they're coming here for dinner, all of 'em. So the boyfriend comes with his son too. He calls me Bobe too. So uh, the little on wants to sleep here and come to shul with us tomorrow. But uh, [coughs] my daughter wants that he should keep company for uh, for uh, his son you know, he should keep company. So I told him yesterday, "Stephen, learn one thing. If you want to do something, you want to come to me to sleep, you sa...you take your clothes and say mother, I am sleeping in Bobe's house and tomorrow I go to shul and come home and we play together." We have Sunday, a whole day. He goes to Hebrew a half a day. So uh, "You do whatever you want, you have your own mind. Nobody should poison your mind. You do--you use your own mind."

Do--have you talked to your grandchildren about it?


Your experiences?

Yeah, with Michael.

The older one.

The older one. The little one I don't talk about it so much.

And does he listen?

Yeah, he listens. And uh, he hugs me and kisses me all the time. And uh, "My Bobe." Yesterday he lift me up, I say he breaks my back, you know. So uh...

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