Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Lang - February 23, 1982

Being a Maid to an SS Woman

Do you remember her name?

Yeah uh, Macha. Uh, she, she was a Polish-German.

That was her first name, Macha?

Macha, that's how they called her...


...Macha. She was--I'm telling you, she was like a fire. If I see she, she asked me first if I speak German and I said "Yes." I figured Yiddish and German is the same thing. But many times I didn't understand what she was saying. And, whoa, she even give me some slaps too. And I had to wash for her and take care of her and--I didn't tell her I had a sister here. But one day she says to me, "You know, we need another Block ältester instead of you." I didn't do anything. She says--you see, you had to be so smart there. You had to be so shrewd there. I don't know what it was with me. I'm not a shrewd person. But somehow there, whatever I did it was--worked for me. Let's put it this way, I was mazldik.

Good luck.

That's right. She says to me, "I need a woman to, to uh, take care of uh, four hundred people." You know, with the barracks there were four hundred people on that side and three hundred on this side. "I need..." I says, "I have a good woman for you." What else can I tell her? She says, "Okay, show it to her--show--I want you to show her for me at Z ählappell." I said, "I'll show you. She's very good. She would be very sufficient." So I showed to her my sister. Who else should I show? So it came my sister didn't go out for work anymore. That I succeeded that she shouldn't go out. She had to tell the girls when in the morning went to Zahl, Z ählappell how to stand five in the line and take care of your blankets, cover up your bed, whatever, you know. There--and she--and if some of 'em didn't do it she ran in to do it because many time she went in to look around if everything is in order, so she didn't want to show that, you know, that, that girls are uh, you know, they don't care, they leave a mess. So that's what my sister--that was her job. In the meantime she got already two plates too. So then, the Germans went away--they left. They didn't, you know--first one of 'em went away--she did. I had to uh, you know, they were some--I had to bathe them, you know, to wash them, which it wasn't--I, I'm not the type, you know. I couldn't be a nurse, but here I had to do it. So I washed them. I, I, I did clean them. I did everything. I, I was like a maid. But many girls were envying me.

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