Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Selma Rich - July 17, 1984


Suddenly my cousin got very ill too. We came to Warsaw and there was we, after, after a certain hour you couldn't pass the bridge because it still was war. This was 1945. So and this was in March. It was raining and cold. So we were, we had no place where to go. Warsaw was completely destroyed it was only ruins. So we lie down on the ruin by the wall and, to each other like that, and when we saw it's already light we start to walk. And I start to holler to her, hold on, on me. If you lived through that much you have to live for my sake. And we ask where to go because we didn't know. I know Polish language so guards, they told us how to go. We came to the Jewish agency. There was a Jewish agency in Prague. This is by Warsaw, like uh--how should I explain to you. Here you have Detroit and Oak Park. There was Prague, Warsaw. This was in Prague.

[interruption in interview]

This was in Prague, Poland, by Warsaw. And uh, over there I came up and ask if they could give me a doctor and something to eat, to drink because we are terribly hungry. We didn't eat for two days. And they say they have no food, they cannot give me a doctor, they are giving me money. I took the money and threw them away. I say I need to save a child which Hitler didn't finished. So they gave me a address where to go. And it wasn't too far, it was Tangova 7 on Prague. And I, and the, the Jewish agency was Tangova 44. So it wasn't too bad. I came there and I ask who is in charge and they told me, a Mr. Pollack, a Russian Jew. I went in there, the best food on the table, vod...and whiskey and everything, vodka, whatever a mouth can just say. And I say in uh, in Russian to him, "Mr. Pollack, I have a very sick cousin, a young child and I say she's very, very, burning up with fever. I need something to drink for her and I'm starved, I'm hungry. And I need a doctor. Where should I go?" He gave me a note where to go for a doctor and I say I need some straw or something, there is very filthy. It's her only, everybody's lying there on a filthy floor. Nothing on the floor, I say, give me straw, something. He say, "I have nothing." He told me there's nothing. I cried so hard. And I say I'll bring her right here in your house and put her in your bed. And be strong, have a heart to throw her out. I cry so much that he gave a, a bed, it's not really a bed, I don't know, it's made from wood and straw and I put her on it and run to the doctor. The name of the doctor was Shapiro--I will never forget this--and I came to him, he said it's too late I cannot come today. I start to plead with him, say no way. I walked out and walk and cry.

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