Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Kent - May 4, 1982

Going to Stutthof

You had no shoes?

We had none. No, we were not given any shoes. I was given a longer dress. My cousin who was tall and, and gorgeous she got a very short dress. And we had to switch dresses because her dress didn't even cover her uh, belly. That's how short her dress was like a, like a blouse for her and my dress was like a ball gown so we switched dresses so she was at least decent. And uh, they needed some people for work and they called to our block and I don't know the number or anything of our block and they asked us to gather outside and they took us on a transport and to the best of my knowledge I think we went immediately to Stutthof and Stutthof I think was located not too far from Danzig, in, in, it wasn't very deep into Germany, it wasn't the and um, we came to Stutthof in many ways I found heaven in Stutthof. The camp was not as large as Auschwitz although we're surrounded by barb wires and were divided from the camp that did go to work at least we came in touch with people who were taken to work and it was like a blessing when you went to work you were always privileged of getting some more food and this was the main attraction. You always wanted to go volunteer no matter--you didn't know what they were taking you for but it was always the hope that you'd be going. In my case, they never took me for anything uh, to work. But Stutthof I was like the youngest person and I was like uh, um, um, pet sort of to our Aufseher, to our um, woman in charge. She was not a, a German woman she must have been either Ukrainian or Polish.

Was she also a prisoner?

Well, she was a prisoner but she was a very privileged prisoner. She had uh, a little room in front, in, in, our barracks. She had privacy, we were deprived of privacy. I was never alone. I mean, there was, that, that's the basic human being uh, human need is, is privacy you never know how a human being needs to be one minute away from someone. We never had that we were really deprived of uh, a basic need of privacy. She had her room it was in our barrack but she had her room. And I was like a um, mascot in many ways uh, if she entertain a man would come in. She would sometimes call me and, and I would sing for her Polish love songs and I would dance a little bit for her. And in Stutthof I would get a little more food. We had a little of soup and we were given a little piece of bread. And uh, many people were very sick in Stutthof. Again once your body started to deteriorate in any way whether it was outwardly or inwardly it just uh, you uh, were getting sick very quickly. It wasn't a slow process of getting sick it, it hit you immediately. It was um, TB I believe or maybe typhus, whatever the disease it was never anything like a cold or some sort of virus, it was a major um, illness. And um, I had my cousin with me we did not go to work but we're in a camp where other people would go to work. And as I say Stutthof next to Auschwitz was a um, resort area a resort as far as we're concerned. We were assigned um, bunk beds like these uh, we had an upper birth. I remember we had some sort of uh, covering for us. We didn't get any other cloths but we did have a cover and we did have where to sleep, we didn't sleep on the cement floor. Uh, and we stayed there uh, for I don't know for how long we're um, a few months I stayed in Stutthof. And then again came and while we're there the selektion process would always went on there were always soldiers and the Nazis coming in and we had to undress again, strip all our clothes, and, excuse me, they would look at us and pick the specimen that they desired, whether it was for work or we didn't know what they picked people for. And at one sele... one of these selektions they finally picked my cousin and I to go to a work camp and we were just so happy maybe we will finally get somewhere to work and we would get more food, food was the main objective, food and clothes. And uh, the way they could tell you that you were picked for work is when they gave you a like um, a khaki looking cap. So the people that were going to work with that transport had a little cap on. And just as I was ready to leave the uh, our, our gate a woman, a Nazi soldier took that cap--grab that cap off pulling my hair in the same movement she grabbed my hat, jerked my hair and took that cap off me. And my cousin ??? went and again I was left alone. That was very sad too. I already had her and they took the last thing away from me and they took my, her away from me. In many ways it was a blessing that they didn't take me because once they took her away from me I took many chances. People uh, that were with me uh, in fact one specific case there were twins whose parents owned a bakery and...

[interview ends abruptly]

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