Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Selma Rich - July 17, 1984


How did you find them?

It happened the parent from Oshmyany which came into our camp where I was, they brought into our camp some of them, told me where they are. That's how I found out where they are, through those people. When they liquidated the, the camp, the concentration camp from ???, some of them they sent to Vilno and some to Kovno. I pleaded, I cried to go to Vilno. I was hoping I'll see my parents, but they sent me to Kovno. And it was another trick. If you were single, they didn't took nowhere. If you were with somebody, so one young man who was from uh, another town, he came up and say I will write it down that you're my wife to save you. Because he knew me from before and he liked me very, very much. His name was Kaplan, Abbe Kaplan from Holszany. And we went to, they send us to Kovno. In Kovno they put us in, in a very small, it wasn't a synagogue, it was they used to call this a clois, a clois was a very small one room where people used to pray. And my place was with another few people on the ???. And I found there a Hebrew book and I start to read. They send us to work on air...airport, the Germans. It was horrifying. Cold, no food. We had to fill up the—it's on one wheel with two handles--I don't know how to call this in English.


A wheelbarrow with, with sand and we had to carry this to another place to seal up the places where the bombs fall down and made the holes, to straighten out the, the airport. And food was none. When we came home, was cold, we were wet when it was raining. No place where to, to the, the, to hang up things. I was sure that I wouldn't last for very long, but a miracle did happened. When I came, I was reading the book, a Hebrew book and a man came in to look around and he start to speak to me Hebrew. He said to me, "do you speak Hebrew?" I say, "not perfect probably, but I do." I answered him in Hebrew. Say, "where do you work?" And I say, "on the airport." And he knew how bad it is. He say, "I am the leader from the big uh, ???" Means this was all kind of uh, things where they made dolls for the Germans. They had there a laundry for the Germans. They used to make boots, they used to make all kind of flowers. Different things, like a factory. I say there you need to have very big privileges to go in, because there they give you once a week pea soup to eat.

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