Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Mother's Decision to Send Children Away

What do you think influenced her decision to send you away?

It was the hardest decision in her life. She was so hard--first of all when she woke up every morning--I told you at at four o'clock she was gone, I got my brother up and got him dressed and sent him to a woman who used to be my nanny when I was a baby and when she heard we were there she came. My mothers--when she got married, this woman--Czech woman--my mother sent her off like a daughter with a ??? and she kept in touch with her and she kept coming to visit us and when she heard we were there she wanted to help and she took my brother everyday. In the morning I brought him before school to her house and she--he stayed there until about four o'clock, then I collected him or my mother if she was free collected him otherwise I have to collect him. He was a very small boy, was three--his third birthday was there. Eh, your question was?

Did--well, your mother made these decisions...

Yeah, the decisions were the hardest things she could do. I will show you--Moshe can you get me the picture? When this, this first thing that came through was England, the first thing that came through was England and for her to part with her children she just couldn't get the decision but the people was ??? that you were saving their lives, let's first get out--before there was three or four weeks, there was no war yet, was three or four weeks and we would be together--we children though that. My mother saw further than that. This was taken on his birthday two days before we left. It was the last time I saw my mother. Two days bef...well, af...two days later. She was also a very special woman. She had on top of everything a wonderful sense of humor and strange stories and talent here and talent there. My brother's fourth birthday.

That's his fourth birthday.

That's his fourth bir...on the birthday she we photographed and two days later we left.

Did she discuss this with you? Did she say...


...why she was sending you away?

She said why but we didn't grasp it. She said, "We don't know what's going--what will happen. It might be the last time that we're together," and other children--it was an adventure, we're going to England--two or three weeks my--you're coming, you're coming. That's what we all thought. In two or three weeks we coming. That platform was a terrible memory. All the people were crying sending their children away. My mother wanted to go back and take us out. And two--a sister-in-law and a friend held her arms that she shouldn't run onto the platform to take us out. And my four year old brother had a little bun in his hand and said, "Look mommy, I'm eating. I'm eating." And uh, we didn't grasp it. It was eventual...three or four weeks we'd be together. We had family in England. The clan was there and we stayed with the clans for years until the end of the war--whatever was left of the clan. So we went to family so it wasn't quite the same as other Winton children who went to strangers.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn