Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Escaping to Prague

So you and your family were aware of the political situation...

Oh, yes.

...before the Germans came in.

Of course we were aware. We weren't--couldn't wait for him. And this is also something I'll never forget that--I can't forget that. We were a middle cl...upper middle class family, well off. My uncle was a millionaire but the rest of their brothers were not millionaires but they were very well off. We had everything and I grew up like that and, you know, I was better off than any of the other children and all that that I grew up with. And then one day we had to leave and from that day on we were poor people. We had no where to stay. We were went to Prague--not all the clan but part of the clan. The other--some part made a different arrangement. We could not get a room in Prague. All of Vienna was there--the Austrians were there, and the Sudeten Jews were there and the Pragues themselves. There was no room to be had. We drove and drove and drove and we stopped at every inn--hotels I'm not even talking about, they weren't here. In the end we found an inn well outside of Prague and in a village and we could sleep there. We made up uh, beds on the dancing floor. We woke up the next morning full of flea bites and with us cleanliness was some--was the most--I forget the word--I forget my English word--exaggerated of everything and for us to be full of flea bites. Our mothers--my mother and my aunts said, "You're not staying another night here," we took everything away--we had suitcases and everything there and we went to a park and we stayed on the benches. The men went to Prague to try and find somewhere for the next, next, next nights rooms and somehow a miracle happened: they found a hotel. There was a conference and there were about fifty rooms there and they were all leaving so the whole family came there and everybody--every family had a room and we stayed, we stayed for six months in that hotel. The others left earlier but my mother didn't want to go until she had a proper place to stay. Others stayed in other people's houses and that sort of thing but my mother didn't want to until she had her own place and that was six months later. We lived in a very good area, in fact, on one of the main streets that Hitler drove through when he came.

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