Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Brenda Reiss - June 23, 1983

Life in the Łódź Ghetto

Before you got to Auschwitz, when you were in Łódź uh, what happened there? How did you live in Łódź?

I live in, in a--was working in a kitchen and my sister was working in a factory.

Were you together all that time--those years in Łódź?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, 'til 1944.

How did you live there? Where did they....

I lived with my cousins in one room. Five to six people in one room on the floor--didn't have proper beds.

Did you know at that point what had happened to you--to the rest of your family?

Yeah, I know...

You did know.

...I know. I got a feeling that they--they're gone because some of them--the Germans said that uh, because when I went out in the synagogue they told me my parents not going to live--my family not going--because I was the youngest and they--my mother told me to go out maybe after--gonna be a ??? after us. Why--I know it--I got an idea, they're not, they're not coming--they're not alive no more.

Uh, you said you worked in a kitch...kitchen in Łódź.

Yeah, I worked.

What type of kitchen? What...

Kitchen, what the people come from a factory, from the factory they come to the kitchen. And the German--I think the German when I went out he told me--his name was ???, that the whole SS men they're not going to be alive.

Um, in Łódź, when you were living there...

I was the only one who survived from the Łódź ghetto. I was on the, on the black list. Nobody went out. I was just the only one that my mother paid lots of money to get me out.

Your mother paid a lot of money to get you out?

Yeah, to get me out. My mother was very well off. And they come to me and they ask my mother if she has money to let me out and she paid them and then he--I think he--I hear that he said that's--they're not going to get out.

This was when you were in...

In Kalisz in the, in the synagogue.

Right, right. Uh, when you got to Łódź though and you were working in a kitchen, was it--it was a kitchen that was attached or that was part of a factory was it?

No, no, no, no, the kitchen was like separate here and there was uh, the factory.

Who ran the kitchen do you recall? Do you know who was in charge?

Every time was somebody I would take of, you know.

Yeah, yeah.

I don't know.

Do you remember hearing anything about Chaim Rumkowski?

Yeah, yeah.

Can you tell me about...

Him? He--I, I--his brother-in-law, he was mine protector, you know, ??? brother-in-law I worked in the kitchen, yeah.

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