Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994

The Russians

We were able to walk in. But it was the biggest mess because there must have been Russian soldiers that stayed there. So my mother had you know, all these--the things for the hat making, the, the ribbons and the, the feathers and the whatever, it was all thrown together with whatever food was left there. I mean it was the biggest mess. So we knew we have to clean up. But it's here, it's ours, we can come back. So everyday we went for a couple hours to start to clean up. We still lived with these other people. And one day we are there and I'm in the kitchen trying to do whatever and my mother is in the other room with a toothbrush and soldiers walk in. And they close the door on me in one room and they close the door in the room with my mother. And all I hear is my mother screaming, "Vera are you alright? Vera are you alright? Vera are you alright?" Because they were raping and--I mean, it was unbelievable what was going on. I personally was almost more afraid of the Russian soldiers than I was of the Germans. Because the Germans were pretty much, I could talk to them, I spoke fluently German. If it wasn't the fear of being found out as a Jew, I could handle it. These were animals. These were people who have never been in a big city, who have never seen anything like that. And they were mesmerized. They, they were stealing, they were robbing, they were plundering, they were raping. It was, was the most scary thing, so as it is, he took her watch, what ??? I don't know if you're aware of it, "??? watch, ???" Gave me your watch was their, that was their life. They have, I don't know, never seen any or what. You could see a Russian soldier from here to here having fifteen watches on his arm. So he took my mother's watch and she had hidden somewhere in, in the apartment a, a little gold purse, which is real gold, the purse was made out of gold. And they took that from--she fou...she had it out. I mean, she was cleaning up. And they took that from her and they took my watch. And they left. Nothing else happened. So that was, that was a miracle. That was a miracle because they were, they were raping, not young girls like me or a young woman like my mother. Eighty--wherever-- whatever. I mean, I mean, it, it was unbelievable. A second cousin of mine was taken to one of the headquarters and about fifteen of them went through. So after the liberation, life was not wonderful. Uh, one night again--we were still living at the other place, we still, we didn't move in yet to our apartment. It, it was in a terrible chaos and it took maybe two weeks for us to make it livable to, to move in there. We were still living and somehow there was more safety in being together with a lot of people. One night uh, a bunch of Russian soldiers came in and they went through the apartments and my young cousin and I were hanging out of the same window as those guys were at the time for the Nazis because they were raping, they were killing, they were, they--not killing--they were raping and they were taking away everything. They were stealing, they were robbing. After they left we, we climbed back in.

It was eight floors up?

Yeah, yeah.

How long did that go on?

It went on for maybe two months. Maybe two. It was--we were liberated I think it was the end of January and by the beginning of March it, it's--it was over. I mean, they were, then the higher rank Russians uh, started really--after, I think they might have had a few weeks where they were allowed to do whatever. After that they were not allowed. I mean, if anything happened they would report to the, they were, they were punished, they were jailed or whatever. It, it stopped. It stopped after awhile. And after awhile we moved back in our apartment.

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