Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Silver - June 21, 1982

Reflection on Her Survival

Why do you think you survived?

My father passed away in January in Buenos Aires, you know, my father passed away in Buenos Aires. He, he was uh, he lived through Russia too with the whole family. He was in Archangelsk. They were in the...

A what?

Archangelsk there, they, they in the, in the ??? in the bushes in the wilderness an Archangelsk there they will send him away--that way you survive too that was the same miracle that I survived. He was, he was working very hard to, to feed seven kids my father was, may him rest in peace. An uncle of mine brought them all to Buenos Aires in 1948 mein uncle brought the whole family, 19 people he brought to Buenos Aires he smuggled them to Montevideo from Uruguay. Buenos Aires didn't let in the Jewish people so they smuggled them, they uh, brought them to Montevideo and then they smuggled them by boat to Bue...Buenos Aires. My uncle is still alive in Buenos Aires they took all the families.

Why do you think you survived?

Why I survived? Just uh, like other things why I survived uh, why uh, God forbid, somebody's sick and I'm healthy? Just coincidence that's all and uh, because why was I, I'm deserving to survive? It just uh, like uh, it happened like uh, any other things happen. Wha...what is the question why I think I have survived? Plenty people uh, survived in Auschwitz too--millions went to the gas cham...gas chambers.

I wasn't saying there's anything wrong with the fact you survived.

No, no why I survived, I don't know why I survived, I survived not because I'm so something special I survived that I did something good? No, it was just happened like uh, I can't uh, answer this question.


They see so many millions have went to the gas chambers and so many people survived in the, in Auschwitz.


Take a look, some, some families uh, survived three--four people. My, my husband's family they all perished with three beautiful young brothers and a sister and a mother and father. Nobody survived from, from my husband's family, nobody. Und my father saved all the seven sons and my stepmother and I lived through. I wasn't with my father together I was in another place.

Had your mother died?

My mother died when I was five days old. I didn't know my mother. My stepmother and my father were married when you got seven boys with a second. She's still in Buenos Aires like I told you before.

Did you ever live in a displaced person's camp after you left Russia?

A what?

Displaced person's camp, a, um...

What mean displaced?

If you had been in a concentration camp and had been liberated, they moved you to a displaced person's camp to give you food and get you strong enough to move.

No, no, no.

You just strictly went back into a town and started working?

Yeah, yeah.

Do you have any documents or letters or artifacts from the time that you were in Russia?

No I have nothing. Everything is in my mind.

Everything is in your mind.

Yeah. I went, when we came back from Russia to Poland we went to Katowice, Katowice and from Katowice, we went to Langenbielau then we, my husband with a partner opened a store and we got to sell uh, for, for shoemakers like the shoemakers, all the things making shoes when I was living there till I came to Canada in this little town my daughter Esther was born in this little town.

In Langen...Langenbielau.

Langenbielau, Langenbielau, in Polish it's called Bielawa. This is in German was Langenbielau in Polish Bielawa , they spell it this way. Can I write it there?

Yeah you can write it there. Say it out loud so they can hear it on the tape.

Bielawa. B-E...

That's an "I".

B-i-e-l-a-w-a, Bielawa that's uh, spelled in Polish.

Okay. Did you find when you came back to Bielagan...




Langenbielau, it's easier is it okay?

Yeah, Langenbielau.

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