Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Brenda Reiss - June 23, 1983

Start of War II

When you went to Koźminek--was it just you and your sister to Koźminek?

The whole family went.

Your whole family went? Um, how long were you there? Do you remember?

Two or three night--no, I think overnight.

Just overnight in Koźminek?

I think so--the night. I don't remember exactly.


They drag us all over around. One time here, one time there and they don't got a place for us.

Was this shortly after the Germans came in?


Was this shortly--did this happen...

This was in 1939, 1940.


Forty-one took to the Łódź ghetto.

When the Germans first came into your town uh, what happened then? I mean, how did things change for you?

It changed because I'm a Jew. They told us to pack and to go.

Did any of your uh, Gentile neighbors help at all?


Nobody helped.

No, no.

And you were in Koźminek for only a few days?

Yeah. The synagogue I was there.

The synagogue. Do you remember how your parents felt or what they thought was going to happen? Or what you thought?

They never believed that such a things can happen. They never--they're told to pack the packages and to go--they go to work. How can we know it's going to happen such a thing? Who believed it? When you don't go through your own, then you cannot believe it. I never believed it in my life, never, never. When I went to Auschwitz I didn't believe it my life either it can happen such a thing, as exist such a thing 'til you go through, 'til you go through.

Yeah. Um, do you remember hearing anything about ??? About...



What this mean?

??? in the Vilna woods?

I know my parents was uh, killed in, in, in Chelmno.

In Chelmno.

Chelmno. This is near Kalisz and Koźminek there and in Chelmno woods they was killed. They picked up ten people, and after the ten people they got buried. This was not even a crematorium there.

Uh-huh. When were you celebra...separated from them?

'Til 1941.

You all went to Koźminek together...

Together, yes.

...and then they took your parents...

Then separated.

...then they separated you.

Yes, that's right.

So you went to Auschwitz with your sister.

Nineteen forty-four came from the Łódź ghetto.

Okay. Uh, what happened when you got to the Łódź ghetto?

I went from the train to the ??? and from the ??? they took my sister away from me, and I told Dr. Mengele, "Take me too." He said, "No, who're you?" I said to him, "This is my sister," and he said to me, "You go and suffer." And this is the time I lived through.

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