Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Adele Sandel - [n.d.]

Life at the Start of War

Anyway, you don't have so much tape and so much paper what I can tell you what was going on from that swimming pool day 'til the day of the liberation. I will just try to tell you the overall experiences, the major things what happened in those five years. Because there weren't days--there wasn't a day that twenty, thirty things shouldn't happen. The laws changed from one hour was this law and the other law was--other hour was this law, and we were just like, like scared lambs. Like, did everything like if I think back that's how we did it, but we were so helpless. We, we didn't have guns. We were not prepared for this so we had to do things like, like those things, you know, whatever they told us. They came out with laws you wouldn't believe. First of all, we couldn't travel in the train. You had to have permission because there were people who had to go so they gave permission, but you had to give a good excuse what uh, what, what, what your reason was to go, you know.


A different city or something. Then, we couldn't go into a restaurant. We used to go for coffee in the evening, you know um, or coffee and cake. We used to go there like youngsters to get together like here people used to go to, to the ice cream parlors or something. No way. You couldn't get together more than two people and you were three already they pulled you in, you know, they captured us for a day or two and then they let you go, but that was a big no-no. Three people, no. We couldn't go out after six or seven, I don't remember, you know, it was from seven 'til seven in the morning. We had to stay inside at night, the night. We had to, like I told you, we played all the, all the sports: tennis and ice skating and um, and ski and we had a ping-pong table that all had to be um, given to the, I don't know, somebody took it away. I have no idea who, but they came one day and they knew it was a little town and everybody knew everything. They didn't make a big fuss there with skiing. Skiing like here, you know, you didn't have to have lessons. We came home from school. We lived in a wooden area. You took your skis and you just went in the woods and you skied or under the bridge was ice on the, on the river so we ice skated. But tennis lessons we took and we played tennis. So, everything had to be um, given to them. How do you say that um, you know? Just give over. My brother cried...

They confiscated it.


They confiscated it.

Right, confiscated it. Um, my brother's life was that ping-pong table. He just loved it. All his friends--he was a little boy about eleven, twelve--he loved it. All the boys came and they played after school. They had--we had to give it uh, also back. My mother had a fur coat; she had to give it. All the jewelry um, had to be um, delivered to them. I mean, whatever they could they thought just to, just to, just to, like, make our lives miserable. It was almost impossible to exist with all these laws. We couldn't have more than one stick of butter in the house and they, they had all the rights to come and see if you had two sticks of brother--butter, that was already a big black mark. Um...

The Gentiles could have two sticks of butter?

Two sticks? They could have fifty sticks of butter. It was all of the Jews.

How did they, how did they know about all the jewelry and furs that your mother had. They come to you and say we want your fur or your jewelry?

Yes, you had to give everything and if not, they will just--they had--they, they, they tore the, the house apart. And if they would find something, if you didn't deliver it, you would just be sent away, who knows where...


...so, we better gave it in, but we were a little smart. My mother had beautiful jewelry. My father bought her beautiful earrings. She still has them in her ears, gorgeous. And the ring, you know, I think two or three carats um, diamond. So, my father said, "I am not giving this for them." So, we made uh, uh, like a little whatever, a hole in the garden and we buried that in a box, you know, and we saved that. So um, yeah, so with the butter, not once and not twice but they knocked on the door at two and three at night and they came to see if, if you had more. Even--not only butter but meat. There was a certain amount you could have. If you have more than they thought you should have, so that was already a, a jail sentence or they wrote in, into a uh, book or some place. That was a black mark. You couldn't have sugar just like ration, you know, they, they, they gave you this rations.


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