Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Selma Rich - July 17, 1984

Stutthof III

Then we had to go in the, in the woods to cut trees and to put this in yards. And it was very cold, it was wintertime. How I survived. I was walking, we used to walk three and saying, oh, some day I will meet my parents, my brother, my sister, I'll tell 'em all those things. I used to talk plain to them in my mind. I didn't feel the cold. I didn't feel how fast I am walking because my mind was with my family, with them, with Shlomo. And this really helped me to survive and I did believe. I used to say every night Sh'ma Yisrael before I used to go to bed and I used to say, God, if you want to take me, take me. But if you want me to stay alive, please give me one person from my family some day to meet. And after this they start to, to tell us to walk. And on each several women was um, SS man, you know, to watch us. A SS man was the Germans in the black uniforms. And they brought us in and we were walking for days and days and days and we could see they are running more in Germany. We could see feel there is some trouble. But they didn't want to go probably to fight. They kept us alive because not to go to the, to the front. And they threw us in, in a barn, about a thousand five hundred women. It was no place to sit. You were laying one on another. They used to give us every day about four potatoes with two cups of water and this was for the whole day. We were there...

Four potatoes for each person?

For each person, yes. And uh, it happened one day we don't get no water, no potatoes. Every day they used to carry out a number of women dead, because it came dysentery, illness, lice, everything you name and it was there. Smelly. They used to let us out in the latrine once a day. But this day, no nothing, no, no nothing. So I say, when I was together with a cousin from Oshmyany in this, in this barrack, in this uh, barn. And we wa...I say let's go, let's get the bullet in the back instead in the front. Don't be afraid to die. Come on. We said Sh'ma Yisrael, this is the last prayer, and everybody start to cry, look they are going, they will shoot them. We walked out. I walk out I hear a Russian language. I run back and I say--I couldn't run, I was walking, crawling on all the four, that's how strong I was already. I say, we are probably liberated. I hear Russian language. But they say, she went off your mind. She's already complete off of the rock. But we walked several steps more and it was Russians, soldiers. And it was mixed with Polish soldiers. Because in Russian they made a, from the Polish, a Polish army. And this, they saw how hungry we were and they ask us if there is more children survived. We told them there is a few hundred more. The majority died, maybe it was four hundred left off. Not more from the thousand five hundred.

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