Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ilya Martha Kessler - November 1, 1982

Conditions in the Ghetto

When you went uh, to the ghetto, you were there for about a month you said.

A month, yeah, something. Five weeks, a month, you know.

Did, did they tell you at all what was going to happen? Did you have any idea what was going to happen from there or what you were going there for? Did they...

The people, I don't know who they was. They going to be there, for the Jews be there they said they took us two hundred to work. They not going to take us to Auschwitz. And how I say my father was religious and he believed. My mother was not. Until the last minute she was crying. She said, "How about if we run away from here? We run something, we try something. We try because anyway they going to kill us." So, my brother...

[interruption in interview]

...we got on the train and they took us and we saw we go to the uh, Polish uh, first to Poland, then we realize they take us there.

When you were in the ghetto, what were living conditions like there?

Oh, nothing was... Was awful. Nothing. And it was, like uh, it was, like was tough and on the floor we was uh, sleeping, on the floor. Nothing. No, no building was there, just always outside it was, just on top of us.

Like a tent almost, or...

Yeah, like a tent, just it was a tent. Because the brick used to dry out there and they put... It was a brick uh, place...

I see.

...they took us. The ghetto they make a big... And uh, nothing. This was outside, nothing was. Just until I was with my parents, I didn't feel anything because, you know, they was thinking about, you know, and uh, and my mother went outside someplace to cook, and my father paid money to bring in something, food. So we had how much we needed there. So, I never feared. That's what after, before I was feeling. Normally, I'm not really very brave. You know, I, I can't help it, I was playing outside, and uh, and my parents was there, so I thought we're going to live here a little bit. We didn't know what going to happen. People didn't work there because it just how I say, my, my father was helping. Uh, very, very interesting, my mother always teach us, your father is the smartest and your father knows everything. That's what I always thought, my father knows. I don't have to question where they going to take us, what they're going to do with us, because my father knows everything, I have everything and I have a good life. So, why should I ask what going do?

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