Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alice Lang Rosen - August 5, 1991

Life in Rivesaltes

Do you have any kind of recollection of this kind of emotional reaction you had to the barbed wire to--were there dogs as well?

Um, scared.

Just frightened.

Yes. Very frightened, yes. So much so that all these past years now uh, it's getting better now but I had terrible nightmares. Someone is always chasing me and someone is always after me. Yes, terrible fright.

What was it like, a typical day in Rivesaltes? Your father was gone...


...so what did you do with your mother?

And my, my mother was in the barracks. There was really not much to do. I remember running around outside and jumping and I, I remember falling and, you know, scraping my knees like children do. It seems that I was a little bit older and of course being that I was so sick in, in Gurs, you know, with my ears, um, and I was well there so I think, you know, I think I was just a child not knowing too much about what's going on. Hear...hearing the adults huddle and talk, you know, I remember seeing, seeing that but...

But your mother was with you during the day.

Oh yes, mm-hm.

She didn't go out to work.

No. My, my grandmother--I remember them well. That was the last time I saw my mother was in Rivesaltes. And uh, in fact, um, I do remember them talking um, about the French Red Cross was coming to um, Rivesaltes and they came and I remember that my father told that me that um, he's uh, said that he doesn't know what's going to happen and we will go from there and that he would like that there someone would be coming and I should go with them. And I was a very passive child all along. Another reason I think it saved my life is I always did what I was told with no questions asked. And he said that I would go and go with them and they would take me and they would, you know, take care of me. And um, I--then the people came and I said goodbye to my mother through the barbed wire, it was the last time I, I saw her, at the time. And I think there were about ten children that they took from the camp and later on I found out--because my father obviously survived--and when he told me, more or less--a little bit more about the story, people were very much against what they did--literally give me away not knowing what was going to happen to me. But they felt that was their way of trying to help me. They thought it was the best thing that, you know, to do for me.

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