Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rita Rosenzweig - March 24, 1983

War Begins

Did you remember your thoughts when um, the war began?

Well, you know, really when it began it was like in 1940 I remember. I, I'm not sure, but I think it was on a Friday, and I heard like cannon, you know, noise, and I--woke me up, and I asked my mother what it was and she says, "I think it's the war." But I really didn't think too much about it except uh, there was no school, was all I could think. And uh, I remember she went over to her mother, you know, to my and my uncle was single. So they decided that they wanted to leave the city and go towards Spain I guess or Switzerland. And my grandfather wouldn't leave because it was gonna be Shabbos. And he said, "I'm not going."So I had a cousin living with my grandmother, because um, it was from one of my mother's uncle uh, brother, I'm sorry, and uh, they couldn't afford to keep him. My uncle was sick so my grandmother was bringing him up. So we went um, my mother's sister with her husband, my grandmother and my uncle, my cousin and my mother, and myself--we took the train towards, you know, going to France, but when we got between close to Brussels, we were bombed. You know, and the planes come and machine gun and everything, so the train stopped, and we ran out of the train. So my uncle got wounded. So my mother stayed with him, and with the understanding that we would meet in Brussels again. But we ne...you know there was no transportation, so we never got there. She um, I mean one went one way, we went the other. And on top of that one, there was a lot of people going towards--it was, it was traffic jams so it was a lot of English soldiers. And they put my cousin on the truck, and they were going to put me on the truck, but the truck took off with the kid by himself he was like six years old. But I made a tag for him before we left so uh, making sure couple years later, or a year later, we got a letter from people in France that was keeping him.


But meanwhile then we uh, we walked, there was no other way. We walked 'til um, part of France. And uh, with my grandmother, my aunt and uncle. Of course my grandmother was crying. She was uh, you know, crying for the little one. And then the Germans came in. So then we were stopped. We came back. And I was crying because I wanted my mother. And my aunt, you know they never had any kids. So they, they were just busy with the two of 'em. So it was just me and my grandmother, you know, we're shlepping, with the wheelbarrow yet. So I know we were ended up by the Maginot Line, between the Maginot Line. So really, all you saw was, when you were walking--and it smelled terrible, with the, you know, dead cows, 'cause mostly farm, and we went to the, the country, was farm. It was all those animals dead and nobody to bury them, and it stunk, it was just the--most of the time we went in the woods. And then we finally got into a school with um, you know, they had uh, how would you call? A shelter. For bombs, so we stayed for three days in there and then we came home.

Back to Liège?

Back to Liège. Because the Germans came, and uh, you know we thought, "Well, we can't go any place."And then my mother came home a week later with my dad. She happened to meet him in Brussels, so they got back together. But that, at that point, you know. So...[phone ringing]

[interruption in interview]

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