Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Lang - February 23, 1982

Writing a French Prisoner in Camp

Did you ever see anyone at Birkenau or Stutthof, um, receive any punishment of any kind? Any executions?

I seen in Birkenau--I mean in Praust when we had that German woman--you see, the girls were going out to work there and not far from there, there were the French uh, uh, guys who, uh...

Prisoners of war?

Prisoners of war. So, you know how the French people are. You know, they were getting from home packages--for care packages. They had more than we did. So they were getting for the girls chocolate, they were getting toothpaste, which we never got. They were getting toothbrushes, soap, you know, things like this. And they were writing, you know. One day I was out there and the--those guys were working someplace not far from our place and one of 'em saw me. And he send a letter with a girl, you know. He described me, you know. And that girl gave me that letter. You know it was a, like an inspiration, a little life, you know. Not that everyday wonder what's going to happen to us. And that, that girl--well, he was--I think he was of Polish descent, but he was a French or he was fighting with the French people and the Germans captured it. He had that, that French uniform, you know, French soldier.


But actually he was a Polish. And he was writing in German, for me. So I said to the girl, "I don't know how to write--who want to write either." So I gave her a plate of uh, my meal, you know. And he was sending me chocolate. He was a little bit, you know, not much. And I went--I always shared everything with my sister. And one day he was sending me toothpaste and toothbrush, which I needed--soap. We didn't get enough soap we should wash ourselves. But one day, one of the German came back and told Macha that he caught her with a letter. She was corresponding with a French. So that girl--they had to bring out the girl and my Macha took her--I think it was a belt, and he start to hit her twenty-five on her back.

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