Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sara Silow - August 8, 1993

Life in the Łódź Ghetto

When you were in the ghetto and working...


...did the Germans guard you in this place that you were working? You were making shoes, right?

No. We were working--we were--another place were making the shoes. We were um, um, um, how you call this? We got the straw and we were making these things to make the shoes. How you call this? I don't--I, I cannot tell you how they call this. I forgot. There were two places for, for the shoes to make, yeah. And when I came home always with blisters on the hands because the straw was so hard, yeah. I was not working--used to do something like this so I was soaking the hands in water. The pain was just terrible, yeah.

Did you ever talk about this during--when you were in the ghetto did you discuss what, what, what you did during the day with your mother or with your father?

About this?

About your work, about what you saw in the street. Did you ever see anybody shot in the street, for example?



Straight from the work and the house and that's all. I was sitting in the house all day.

And you would walk from...

Oh, sure.

...work--where you were working from home.

Sure. I would take...

What were the streets like?

The streets?


Normal streets.

And were there bodies laying in the streets?


was it--it didn't get that bad?

The, the Polacks were not living in the ghetto. You cannot see--only people, the Jewish people, yeah. Everybody was rushing home. Nobody got business with each other.

So the streets weren't crowded?

Not too, no.

In the Warsaw ghetto they couldn't move there were so...

I was not in the Warsaw ghetto.

It wasn't that way in Łódź?

I have no idea what was over there.


But I know one thing: that Łódź ghetto was just terrible.

Did you wear a star?


When did that happen?

In what year?

Yeah, well...

I don't know.

Well, how...

A star in the front and in the back.

One on both sides.


This is a law.


What did you think about that?

That we are in trouble. But in jai...in concentration it was worse. On the clothes, it was paint--red and yellow--all over in the back so we cannot run away.


We were walking the middle on the street like, like we are from a jail.

But in the ghetto it was just a star?


Just a star.

Yellow, yellow.

On, on both sides? Did you make your own?

We have to buy this.

Had to buy them from, from whom?

I don't remember. Such a long time ago.

Did you--do you remember the trolley car in Łódź? Was it a tram, a train, that ran through...


Did you take that to work?

No! In, in, in--there was nothing to ride. You had everywhere to walk.

When your father died, what did you do? How did you feel about that?

Terrible. How can you feel? How, how can you feel? I remember from the families dying.

You were angry?


With whom?

With whom? With themselves. Why this happen? Why? Why? He was such a good man for poor people--not for poor people but the family and all of a sudden hungry--he's gone for--from hunger.

Did you say Kaddish?

In the ghetto, Kaddish? Was no shul. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

You were in the ghetto until 1944?

Yes, until they closed the ghetto.


We were in hiding upstairs, like in--how you call this?

In the attic?

Attic. And Jewish police catch us--the whole neighbors and my mother and me. He said, "Don't take nothing. Everyday--everything what you will have--everything they will take away from you." But anyway, we don't listen to him. We took everything, but anyway they take away, yeah. Everything.

So, the Jewish police caught you?


Did you know who they were?


Why were you hiding?

Because we were afraid we are going to Auschwitz. We don't know the name Auschwitz, but we know that we will--they will send us away some place. We don't know where, yeah.

People had seen sent away earlier.

What you mean?

Hadn't they be sending people--people had been leaving the ghetto--the Germans sent them away earlier before 1944...

Yeah, Yeah.

...and then you never heard from them again.

No, no.

So, were you...

Was no ??? was nothing but nothing.


I, I wonder how we received letters from, from Russia, from my sister and from Warsaw. I don't remember how this happened.

And she wrote that everything was fine in Russia?

Yeah, yeah.

And in Warsaw--what did they write you from Warsaw?

That everything is okay and, and uh, what the family--what they got--the doctor. They were the doctor and his wife and children but one son went to, to France to college. He survived. And that all of them died of typhus in the Warsaw ghetto, yeah.

You heard this after the war?

In the ghetto, we received a letter like a...

That everyone died.


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