Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Silver - June 21, 1982

Life in Diktarka

What did you do in this camp, the first camp? What is the name of it again?



Diktarka, it's a Russian place und there was the mi...iron mines.

Oh your husband went to work in the iron mines?

The iron mines, yeah, and I was, I got the baby, I was with the baby.

And the women were allowed to just take care of their babies in the home?

Yes. The women were allowed, yeah they had small children they can't go to work; they are allowed to stay with the children. If they uh, they didn't have children they went to work too.

And what were your living accommodations there?

We were in the, in the barrack.

It was like a large?

A little, room with its own bed and its own closet.

Oh and it was like individual rooms.

Yeah, just one room.

Can you give me an idea of the size of the room?

Uh, the size of the room? Let's put it the way it was like this.

It's about the size of this room we are in?

It was narrower and longer, it was narrower than this and longer.

Alright, let's say this room is uh, 10 x 15 would you say that this room is a 10 x 15?

No, nothing, nothing it was smaller.

Smaller, about a 8 x 10?

That's more like it.

Maybe an 8 x 12, longer and thinner?

Longer and thinner, maybe a 8 x 12.

And they had in it a bed? Was it a twin bed or larger than a twin bed?

No it was like, a twin, no a double bed. We slept together in the bed, me and my husband. I don't think it was double, maybe it was a twin bed we were sleeping together.

Maybe it was a 3/4 or something?

Maybe a 3/4.

What, what else was in the room?

A little table and we got a, a little stove for, to burn bog, like wood it was a wooden stove to burn for bog.

And what about food; how did you get food?

Oh we got uh, we got uh, supermarkets we went...

It was like a town then...

A little town yeah, sure.

You mean your husband would earn money and then he would go...

He would work, yeah he was working in the mines and they give him a payroll und or, or food stamps or whatever they come to the supermarket you could go and buy for money.

And then you bought clothes that way also?

Clothes, uh, no not, very little clothes. My uncle then from Pruzany when I left everything there they sent me a few parcels came with my things when I left it there.

Oh, and the Russians allowed it in?

Yeah, the Russians allowed it in and mailed my, my things when I left it there they let it out and they came. I sold it I got uh, a little bit I sold I got my gold ring, uh, my gold ring, I sold it to people there, but whatever you can make you can sell even a shirt anything you can get for yourself to make uh, money.

What would you do with the money after you got it?

Buy what I, what I, what we can get. Buy food, buy milk.

You couldn't get enough...

Buy uh, I used to cook a, a cabbage a big cabbage with one glass of milk I used to put in uh, ah, potatoes and cabbage and a half of glass of milk but a half of glass I needed for my baby, put more water than milk--then we--I struggled.

There was a lack of food--was there, there wasn't enough, you weren't making enough money to be able to buy all the food you needed?

No, no. We, we, weren't hungry we wouldn't have luxury but uh, we got the food. We lived, as much, as much as we can, we lived.

Do you remember anything ext...um, were there any exterminations in that camp?

Exterminations, no, no, no.

Executions I think is the word I'm looking for, I'm sorry.

Executions, no, no.

Was there any kind of special law that you had to follow?

Oh yeah, sure we couldn't go nowhere ourselves und uh, be, be treated like uh, normally we didn't uh, we--I mean in our house like in our room we could do whatever we want, sing und eat und, und do what we want but they didn't, but they count us every night, came in mine and count how many people was in the room like they know. They got every barrack has a number I mean how many people lives in this room, how many people in this room, but they didn't execute us, no.

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