Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Selma Rich - July 17, 1984

The Ghetto

They didn't killed us. My mother they hit several times and she fall down. They hit my father. But they did not hit me. I don't know for some reason. We went all back home, scared to death. Did not know where to turn or where to go.

So this all happened at the bakery.

Where we lived. It was, we lived in a, two small rooms near the bakery, very small rooms. We were seven people together. Uh, afterwards shortly after, they made a ghetto. They threw us in, in a house, which it was five families. My aunt, with three sons, a daughter-in-law with a baby, then another married daughter with a husband with two children. We were five, seven people. We had the boss from the house with his wife. And the house was so tiny it was like a living room, small one and it was two little bedrooms. Then was behind the oven, where we used to cook, bake, was a little corner. So we were seven people in this little corner, two people sleeped on the oven and three people sleeped in one single bed.

How far away was this from your uh, bakery and home?

The whole town was so tiny that it wasn't far. But they took the poorest area from the town and they made with wire and uh, boards. And they wired us around. The water was the only place where we could take was from the stream with, that passed by there and it was very filthy water because people used to pour in everything uh, there, but we had no other choice. So we used to go very early in the morning to try to grab, it should run a little bit uh, cleaner water. We were lucky to have, to be in this house because in the synagogue was very damp and cold and they threw in so many families there, they were laying one on another. Then in the school where I used to learn they threw in so many families, which I don't know how many. Each family who lived there had several families to take in. It was horrifying. But this is not the worst. The worst was...

How many people lived in this ghetto?

The whole town.

Three thousand Jews plus the Gentiles?

The Gentiles, no. Only the Jews were in the ghetto.

Three thousand Jews in the ghetto.

Yes, in the ghetto. Yes. It wasn't enough food. For the children wasn't milk, was no milk. It happened that it came in to, to this uh, town Lithuanians who became the policemens. And they took me there to them to work. I went to work, I had to go every day to, to get for the milk, which it was there uh, uh, I don't know how they call this in English, uh, in Yiddish they call this a milkhikeray, where they sold milk, butter. But it was only for the Gentiles, for the police, for the Germans. Not for the ghetto.

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