Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Reminders of Holocaust

Let me ask you another kind of question. Um, are, are there--you told me a little while ago that when you'd go for a walk sometimes you would think about things and...

Yeah, I go for a walk and for some reason always come to my mind. Always I'm walking and I'm dieting and, and I think to myself, what's with that dieting? But I have to diet because I, I can't--I don't want to be heavy because I have a heart problem, so I don't want to be heavy. And I cry. I just--you, don't know, I just, I just start crying you know, thinking about it--thinking about what happened, about my parents, how hard they worked and never had a good day in their lives. Worked night and day, farming, farming, it was a, a horrible job. And I didn't have a childhood, because from seven year on I had to work. Milking cow, I couldn't even hold in my hands, I had to go, milk cows. And, and uh, we had a cow and she kicked me once and I spilled the milk all over and my mother hit me for that. Wasn't my fault. She uh, the cow hit me you know, kicked me with her leg. So uh, she say, "You should milk fast. She don't like it you playing there." But my hands were small. I couldn't do it fast, so. I cry for that many times. You know, I think to myself, well gosh. I--here the children have everything and, and I, my daughter was so pretty and she could have married the richest guy because those guys wanted to marry her. So she fell in love with him because his father was a doctor. So she says, "It's a nice family, Doctor Stillwater." So when he died her son, his son become meshuge. Wherever I go I was catering in people's houses and they told--I told--she was helping me. And the woman says to me, "I would like your daughter fix up with my son," he was uh, graduating from law school. I say "Oh, she's already engaged." "To who?" I say, "To Larry Stillwater." She says, "That little Larry, he was in my class. A horrible kid. Filthy all the time. His mother is a horrible woman. Oh, talk her out of it, if you can, talk her out of it." But I couldn't, you know. Wherever I was coming they was telling me stories about the mother. The mother is a low class, low class. So this doesn't mean if somebody is a doctor that he is better than uh, you know, than somebody worked in factory. Because my husband, he worked in the factory, but he's so intelligent. You have to meet him. Uh, he--you would enjoy in philosophy. Philosophy, he reads. Hok H Tchynik, life of Jesus and Jesus of Nazareth, and uh. I'm not interested actually, you know. But I listen to him. He reads the book and he wants to tell me what's it all about it.

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