Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Stransky - January 31, 2008

Life During the War

Do you remember a time you were in Canada during the war, did you ever wonder or try to communicate with your parents?

Well, I did--I wondered if they were alive or dead. I will say that one of the things when I hit Canada with the first family, they told me that I cried eight days and nights nonstop for, for my parents but I don't remember it at all. It was blocked out I guess. And then um, they said every time I heard an air raid siren I'd run under the table and hide and I'd run up to my room and close the door. Um, so there were things that I, I just don't remember.

When you were in London were there air raids?

Yes, the Nazi's had started bombing and um, I know at Shepton Mallet whenever we would go--at the convent, we would go upstairs--I guess for air raid and the nurse that brought um, chocolate and biscuits to us was killed and every time we heard the siren we would practice putting on gas masks and then run downstairs. Um, but one of the nuns working there was killed bringing us chocolate and biscuits.

Do you think this carried over when you came to Canada every time you heard an air raid?

I guess so. I don't, I don't remember.

You don't remember these...

That's the part--no, I don't remember. I don't have the best memory in the world.

It's probably a good thing.

I know that I--by the time I was uh, I don't know--in, in my twenties I stammered so badly. I, I just didn't want to speak because I was ashamed of my stammering and I guess it was, you know, the trauma of going to the second family where I wasn't happy and the third family and I just uh, it backed up on me.

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