Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Lang - February 23, 1982

Experience on the Train

The trains were there waiting.

The trains were there, yes, the trains were there.

Were they cattle cars?

Cattle cars, yes. And we went in there maybe it was--I, I don't think we, we couldn't lay down with so many. There were maybe sixty people.

Was there any food or water?

They gave us some water and they give us--there was a something that, you know, that we could go there. And then when we start to go I think and so many kilometer we were going, so they had to empty that and they gave us water. No food whatsoever. Everybody brought a little cookie, a little this, a little that, you know.

So there was one, one what--a pail?

A pail like...

A toilet facility...

That, that's what it was.

...for the whole train--for the whole car.

For the whole train, mm-hm. Everybody was going there in front of everybody...


...so we couldn't help ourselves.

How long were you on the train?

Three days and three nights.

Did, did anyone die on the train?


Were they sick?

There were sick people there, of course. I'll never forget that. There was a woman--they brought her in from a village. She was in the ghetto and somehow--how she got on that train, I don't know. She had maybe nine children, like this, and she was pregnant yet. That woman was so exhausted because she was living already I don't know how many weeks in the ghetto with nine children and pregnant. And these kids were always going to her, "Mother, mom give me this. Mom I'm so hungry." And she didn't have what to do. So everybody from us gave a cookie or something. We had to do it, you know. And it came at night when we sit down, we were sleeping, all of a sudden I felt here little leg, here a little ???, here a little hand. You know, they were all scared that these kids--on all over--on everybody. You know, that was so heartbreaking. And that poor woman--she was so religious, she was carrying the tallit--her husband's tallit. She didn't know where her husband is. So that was such a sad thing to, to live through with all those little children. And that woman was so tired, she was so exhausted. And these kids always came to her to beg for her, "Mom I want thi..." you know, in Jewish. "I'm hungry, I'm thirsty." And she always says, "Go and ask that lady. She's going to give you--go and ask her," you know. It was--that, as long as I live, that I will never forget with these little children--what they went through. And the wind up is--where did they wind up? Anyway, the train trip, what can I tell you how it was. We didn't know where we going to wind up, what's going to happen to us. We knew already they going to kill us. That's what we had in mind. What else...

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn