Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Selma Rich - July 17, 1984


But afterwards when they asked for twenty people, twenty-five, I don't remember exactly, to come out for labor. Instead of my brother I screamed to my mother, you have four, four daughters and one son. I am going. And I didn't say nothing anymore, I couldn't say even goodbye to my daddy and to my brother. And I stay in the line and they took me to work. My parents did not know where I am for a number of weeks because they took us deep in Lithuania. This was about a hundred miles from Kovno in a town, town, Żyżmory. There we built uh, the highways. For the same time my cousin, one of my cousins went there too, but men were separate and women were separate. It was there, not, I wouldn't say extremely bad because we got beatings, we didn't got enough food.

Were you beaten?

Oh many times.



Why? Why were you beaten?

Because I'm a Jew.

Not that you did something wrong.

No. The only name what we used to have is alte Hexe. Means old witch. I was then probably about seventeen or eighteen years old. I was very strong. We had to make so much and so much work. If we didn't made the amount of work, of course, we couldn't get enough food. They didn't gave us anyway enough food. What the food what they gave us was smelly. It was horse bones with some kind of a grass with water. Sometimes we had peelings from potatoes. Sometimes we had a few potatoes inside too, but you had to look with a large glass to find a piece. And they gave us two slices of bread, very thin. And when this, when you ate the bread, you felt like you would have there some kind of wood. This was sawdust mixed in the bread. We try very hard to do our job to get a little bit of soup. From over there they liquidated. So some of the people they took to Vilno. I was begging to go to Vilno. Why? They liquidated the ghetto from Krevo afterwards and they took in the people to Oshmyany. In Oshmyany they made a, they call this left and right. The people some which to death they send and some which still could be alive. The little bit older people and children they killed. But the others they left. The some who were left they took in to Vilno, in ghetto. My parents, they ??? in Vilno with my three sisters and my brother. They were still then alive.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn