Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Lang - February 23, 1982

Befriending a Polish Prisoner

On the dresses, okay.

...we had a number. So he says, "You know what?" He picked me. I remember from five thousand--there were such beautiful girls there, such a nice--he says, "You know what? I want you to help me to write down that uh, the numbers." So in the meantime my sister went and uh, and there and I helped him. That meant already that I'm going to get two bowls of soup. And I did that--he was a Polish Gentile fellow, not Jewish.

A prisoner.

A prisoner, yes. And I helped him. And, and then next day--and, and I went in, and I looked at my sister in the bunker. Everyday the same thing, Z ählappell, we had to stay out, they counted us. From there I don't know who could even run away, we were so blocked in there with all those fences. But they were counting, that was their everyday routine, they had to do it. In the morning I ran out. In the meantime, I got that guy--I helped him so I got already two plates of soup so it made me--I started to get--feel much better because I wasn't drinking that water anymore there by itself. So I got two plates of soup and I gave it naturally with my sister. And all of a sudden my sister got sick, she had some ear infection. So here, I knew already, I said "Sharika you have to do whatever--put something--when you were in--when it comes to Z ählappell, you have to come out. They should count you." I knew already what was going on. So she tried. She tried to stay there--Z ählappell--'til the Germans came and counted all of us. And then somebody--a German--we were walking out on the street--a German came and asked the girls who speaks German. And I ran to him--lots of 'em ran to him--and he picked me that I should take care of--like a Stuben ältester, you know, to take care of somebody. He wants something, you know, so I don't have to stay just in the ???. I could walk around and I got that red ribbon, you know. That means two plates of, of soup too. It was already a relief that I could help my sister too, you know, two of us. And that's what happened. So we were there. In the meantime that, that Polish guy he came too--he brought me a piece of chocolate. He says, "Now put it away. Eat it." He brought me toothpaste, you know. Which was very nice--he couldn't talk to me, you know. Because the Germans were all over, but he says, "Here have something, here have something, and take care of yourself. Watch out for yourself. Be careful." So I had something already, you know, that I figured, "My gosh, you know, he's not a Jewish guy and he's so nice to me. Why?" You know, I was wondering. So then I figured, well, he must have some feelings for human beings, you know. So and then we stayed there--how long can I say? So there I had already--I felt that there--as I say, I got two plates of soup, I had the food, you know. And I--here I was just worrying about my sister--she should get better. Here I wouldn't dare to go and take her to doctor. God forbid. But, you know, she got better a little bit. In the meantime, they were taking us away again.

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