Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mrs. Roemerfeld - 1982?


Were women ever caught for stealing?

Oh yes, oh yes.

What happened to them?

What happened, all different ways of punishment. Either right away to the gas chamber or a week sitting in--kneeling in the mud.

Day and night.

Day and night. There was so thing as night.

Who determined the punishments of these women who stole things from...

Most of them I would say from uh, the Kapos.

The Jewish Kapos.

Yes. And the higher authority only came out to give the uh, big orders. Like you know, when to go to the, to the gas chamber uh, how many people they need and uh, uh, that came from higher, you know, up.

Did you ever think that while you were in the Red Babushkas that you would be chosen, selected for the gas chamber?

Oh absolutely, absolutely. We knew uh, when we worked in the Kanada uh, after seeing all these people being gassed in our--the place where we worked, that we are not going to last. So one day we protested. We all sat down. We didn't want to work. We wanted to die now. So the Germans came in. Uh, while they were watching us work, they were constantly there. And they said, "Don't worry, we gonna take care of you. You're not gong to suffer too much. We will give you more gas than the others are getting. We have influence." And that was it.

Who organized this sit-down?

Uh, we, we just had uh, you know, one told another. You know, like we were going around to the tables and saying, "Well, we're sitting down today. We gonna, we're not going to work. We had it." Because uh, um, I don't remember exactly what day it was, but it must have been a day after we dragged the bodies out from the chamber, from the Sonderkommando. And it was just deteriorating, our morals and everything else.

You yourself felt you were deteriorating at that point.

Yes, we all were because we had so much proof and uh, so much knowledge by that time already at the end of '44 that uh, you know, after watching that crematorium going night after night and the smoke was darkening up, clouding up the skies of smoke. And I remember how many times we walked to work to Kanada, how we, we, we saw a plane, we begged God please bombard us. Let somebody come and see what's going on. But nobody knew. Nobody wanted to know. But we never imagined to be freed, I'll tell you that. We never believed that we'll be freed. As a matter of fact, we were joking in the barracks, saying oh if we ever be freed, they'll carry us on our, in, in their hands. And I remember making that one remark, "Oh yes, they will carry us when we'll break our legs." That was only, you know, thing I remember. But we all knew we're going to die, it was a matter of time.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn