Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sonia Nothman - January 4, 1983


What were...

We could have run away so easy, so easy. In the same night the Russian came. The same night. They took us to Bergen-Belsen, me and my sisters. And I have a--I'm not running, I'm not volunteer. The last ones. And the first, they first uh, girls they took. They shaved them and they gave them clothes. And we didn't see them coming back. We came in at the front way and went out from the...When it came to us they didn't have any clothes anymore. So we took a shower, they didn't shave us already. And we had the same clothes. It was in January, in January. So we stayed there in Bergen-Belsen. It was a, Bergen-Belsen was a--how would you say it ??? They, you didn't have work there. They catch you to work, but nothing. We used to carry bags. To this, nothing. I remember one time they caught me work and my younger sister. And it was--January in Poland is very cold, very cold. So she carried bats, iron bats, and her hands are frozen to the bone. And she said to me, "I cannot go anymore. I cannot go anymore." So I took her hands in my mouth and I blow and they got, uh...So I took a scarf, I don't know what happening, and I put in her hands and she carried. But we stayed there a month. Oh, we stay another few weeks. No work. We left. So they sent us out to--from Bergen-Belsen. I remember two times I think. It was ??? nothing. There was no work there. The barracks were in the basement, in the basements, the main. That where we slept. And we stayed there a month too. From there we marched to Berga. This is by Dachau. Now Berga. There was, Berga was uh, plane factory in Berga. In Berga already they took us to barracks, which was clean. And I could go and, for food, I mean. But five o'clock we had to get up and they took us to the factory, to the planes in Augsburg in the forest. If I had that job now, I'd make lots of money. They took--I was always tall, my age--so they took me and another girl--she's now in Toronto--to paint the plane. Two girls inside to put everything. The small planes. This was in the forest, where nobody could talk to me. She used to make, she used to paint the top ones brown. I used to paint blue the bottom. And then I used to make spots with a--like a pistol, the paint was uh, here a spot, here a spot. Like, they are in the forest. They shouldn't show these trees. Here brown. Here a spot, here a...See I used to work with her for a month. Over there the Poles uh, told us, when you work by this, they used to have a, they give you special food and everything. But I was glad we went away. We got uh, a portion bread and everything. I spend this, this was a...

[interruption in interview]

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