Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Posner - March 11, 1986

Staying Hidden

The children knew?

The children didn't know we were in there, they didn't. There was a, a bed in the room in which three--I slept with my aunt and her mother-in-law. And it was terribly uncomfortable. I hated it. I, I couldn't sleep there. They complained about me too. Um, and the room also had the hiding, the, the, the uh, bookshelf--the bookcase, which swiveled and which revealed uh, like a two-foot wide area behind it in which we could--it ran along a whole wall which we stood behind in case we had to hide. But it really was very well done. It, it really, if you walked into the room you couldn't tell that, that that wasn't a real bookcase. There were books on it and there were pictures on the wall. It, it just looked like that was the room. We were only afraid that if someone came to look for us and we were in that hiding place that they would bang on the walls and hear the difference between a hollow wall and solid wall. And uh, the upstairs attic was used by my mother and father and grandfather. My mother and father slept on a mattress on the floor and my grandfather had a bed under the eaves. It, it was just one room. And there was a big trunk up there and I remember whenever we had to hide--whenever we had the uh, drills, that big trunk is where we put all the bedding from all the beds and push the mattresses aside and uh, use the mattress like a trampoline for the kids and put a tablecloth over this trunk with vase on it, and we kept all kinds of games up there and there was a swing in the middle of the room, which we would pull down when we would have a drill because then it looked as if the children used that upstairs and they, they had this uh, they used the uh, the swing. And we kept these games up there and uh, when we wanted to make it look as if the children used the room we pulled the games out and throw the pieces of the games around.

Tell me about the drills.

I don't remember them. My father did them at night when we were asleep.

But your father introduced this practice.

Yeah. And uh, they would just pick me up asleep and just, you know, carry me into the hiding place with them and apparently they stayed there for a certain number of time and then came back out again and went back to sleep, you know, put everything back. We kept some provisions in that hiding place; some food and uh, like candles and that kind of thing.

How did you get provisions? Wasn't there--there was rationing, wasn't there?

Some of the rationing--some of the rations we would just keep in there for uh, safety. And we--it was very difficult being--we would stay in that one room all day, the six of us. We didn't--we did not use the attic except at night for sleeping. The room we used was that one common ar...one common small room all day long. And my mother and aunt would go downstairs early in the morning, do the cooking, whatever had to be done, do the laundry on laundry day and then we would spend the rest of the day upstairs. Um, the time went very slowly. Time didn't move. Uh, it just really dragged. We...

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