Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alice Lang Rosen - August 5, 1991

Life in Gurs

So this was 1940.

I would think so yes. I was born in '34 so it's six years later. I uh, remember the camp very well. Um, very muddy, like it had rained constantly and when you walked you were deep in mud, I remember that and uh, the barbed wire and the soldiers guarding it all, all the way around and we were put into barracks. At the time in Gurs we were all together. They did not separate the men from women as they did later on. We were all together, huddled together. I remember we were huddled together. We slept on the floor--straw floor and remember that everyone stayed together and huddled together and at mealtime we went outside, stood in line. We use to get I remember a piece of bread handed, something to drink, vaguely I remember. And uh, I remember getting sick. I became very ill. In fact, I had mastoid and uh, there was an infirmary, somewhat, I remember, somewhat an infirmary and they took me there. And just what I remember um, on my own is just that my parents were with me, night and day. They were never seem to leave, leave my side. Now later on I was told when I was already an adult, in fact, with my father uh, they told my father to go out and build a casket for me because I wasn't going to live through the night and he refused to go. He didn't, didn't do it. He wouldn't do it.

These were German doctors you're talking about.

Yes, of course.

No French.

No French, that I--at the time, no, no.

And the other, the other Jews who were there with you, were they also all Germans? Or were there some French Jews?

I don't know, there might have been. I, I don't know. In Gurs I don't know too much. I did recuperate and I remember uh, being sent back to the barracks and...

What did you do during the day in Gurs?

You know, I really don't know too much.

Were you with your parents all day?


So there...

There were other children, there were other people. The barracks were just full and everyone was talking. I remember we were getting immunized and very painful. Everyone had to take their turn getting shots--tetanus or whatever--to the point where we could barely move for pain. Everyone was helping everyone out. Everyone was always looking out for the other person.

Were there lots of children?

Oh, quite a few. I don't remember there too, too many.

Did you play?

I don't think I played that much in Gurs but I remember the other concentration camp um, there were more children and I played more. And I don't even know how long we were in Gurs but one day they came and uh, we were loaded up again into the trucks and we had nothing except the clothes on our back, you know that I remember what we were wearing.

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