Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mrs. Roemerfeld - 1982?

Conditions in Ghetto

You're doing just fine. Uh, can you uh, describe to me what life was like in the ghetto?


Your life had changed after the bombings and you were put into a ghetto.

Well, we--like I said, we lived day by day and uh, uh, afterwards my uh, trekking back, my father was released so the Germans allowed to open a corporation, it's a corporate ??? they called it, corporation in our town, which my father was president because there were quite a few little stores, grocery stores. And uh, he carried on with the business because the Jews weren't allowed to go anywhere and they had to get some food, so it was only one, the grocery store. And that's where the Jews were buying their foods. But then they called my father and uh, they sent him to Auschwitz. And later on I found out he was beaten to death in Auschwitz.

You were still in the ghetto.

I was still in the ghetto, yes.

How did you...

My father was still alive when I arrived. And I found that out from a man who lives in St. Louis. Because when uh, I was working at the Kanada--which, I'm jumping one after the other uh, I worked in the Kanada, which it was much later after all the struggles in Budy and Birkenau, whatever. Uh, I saw this man marching near the fence and I said, "Oh my God, is my father alive?" And he told me yes. So, whatever I found in Kanada you know, between the packages that the transports came in with food, I used to, you know, give him through the fence, he should give to my father. But later on I found out that my father was really dead already and he himself, I have a letter that he wrote me, he was beaten to death.

You have a letter from your father?

No, from this man in St. Louis.



Um, do you remember any of the leaders--you said your father was the president of this...

No, no, no.


It was, it was the president of the store and that uh, Chaim Schwartzwald, which he lives in St. Louis, he was one of them too, because uh, his parents did have a grocery to. So uh, and it was like the most people can put money together, the higher the rank was, you know. Like, you know, if you're, have less you go second. So then uh, when my father was arrested my brother--as young as he was, but he was very smart--and he carried on with the books and the ??? or whatever, in the ghetto. And they lived as if you want to call a normal life, but we were like you know, locked in. And we couldn't get out to get anything that we wanted. It just would--it was given to us what we uh, were allowed to get.

What was that?

Well, like food. No clothing, no...nothing whatsoever. And uh, some people had to sell and to buy uh, to uh, sell their, everything from their house 'cause they were not in the vicinity of the ghetto when the ghetto got closed in. So, uh...

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