Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009

Work After the War



What kind of work?

Uh, registering people and uh, trying to, to be registered so can to apply to go to the United States. And uh, so we were ten of us again, friends and relatives. And uh, we went to Munich, we were called to see the consul. And we came there and we were waiting and waiting. All of a sudden an officer came out and said, "You can't go to the United States because you left Germany and only those who never left Germany have privileges." And this, this woman, this woman officer from, from the camp, she said, "I'll take you to the village and get you new papers." And uh, well, that didn't happen, but we moved to Stuttgart. We thought maybe we can register there. But you know, that, that, that--I say too many times, you know--that officer sent a list of the rejects to all the consulates. When we came to Stuttgart, they found our rejected names. So then they shipped us to Zeilsheim, a big camp, and I got involved there too. I worked in the office and in the meantime somebody--an Israeli officer came and look for somebody who spoke Hebrew to work in the consulate in Frankfurt. So I did both. I worked part-time in the camp and part-time in the consulate in, in a rabbi's quarters, which was part of a Reform synagogue in Frankfurt, only one they didn't bomb. And, uh...

So your language skills really helped you.

Right, right.

Daughter: And she also did a little gun-running too.

And you know how we were paid?

Daughter: Tell him about the gun that you had to bring in a paper bag.

Yeah, yeah. The, the man I worked for, he was under the consul. The consul was a woman, I befriended her. I visited her in Israel after she--her, her husband was an officer in Egypt with the Israeli--with the Haganah. She became a consul. She, she had a boyfriend [laughs] in the meantime. And uh, uh, the man I worked for, he traveled all over and they were trying to buy guns in Germany. Guns and buying boats for the Aliyah Bet. So one time he uh, handed me his, his, his uh, what do you call it? A leather case that you carry papers in--a briefcase. Handed me a briefcase and said, "Put those things away." They had guns in there. I was so scared. What if they're loaded? I'm going to mishandle it and get, get shot.

Daughter: And you had to trade cigarettes, didn't you?

Oh yes, yes. You know, I didn't have a towel so I, I knew a woman who was married to a Jew, but they took her husband away to Auschwitz but they didn't kill her so she was the cook there. And we had a, a uh, the driver was probably an ex-Nazi. He didn't--had a straight look. I couldn't look in his eyes and he sort of resented it that he came here to drive us to get some food. So I asked her--I, I, I could use a towel for, for a pack of cigarettes I got a towel and I kept it until I came.

Daughter: I, I have it still, I think.

The blue?

Daughter: Yeah.

What do you think you used the towel for?

A towel.

Daughter: You know, to have a personal effect.

Just a towel. She wasn't smuggling a gun in it.

Daughter: No, no, no, no. But she had--once you said you had a paper bag that you had to bring some cigarettes in and you traded it for some guns.

Yes, yes, I--yeah.

Daughter: My little Haganah gunrunning mother.

See, Agi didn't go through that because Agi stayed in, in Czechoslovakia and she emigrated from there because she had a father.

Right she went back home and found her father.

Right and she had relatives in Philadelphia.

Daughter: But my mother had no what they considered direct relatives because she was an orphan. But because she crossed the border, even though she would have qualified as an orphan she was considered repatriated. I mean, it was complete pretzel logic.


Daughter: So with all of these hundreds, you know, dozens of cousins, but none of them were qualified to sponsor her.

Uh, as you know...

Of course, you had uncles in the United States.

Daughter: Pardon me?

You had uncles in the United States. You hadn't made...

Daughter: The uncles were not considered a direct...

But you hadn't--she hadn't--you hadn't contacted your uncles in the United States.

Daughter: ???

This Uncle Louis and Aunt Magda with who I was in Auschwitz and he came back from Russia, they took such good care of me. When I was in, in, in DP camp, they sent me camel hair fabric.

Daughter: I'm sorry.

The, the lining and thread and buttons to have a coat made in Germany. And then in Prague I had a coat that was made out of a German blanket and, and uh, I, I don't know I bought for a few, a few crowns, I bought a rabbit's fur and they lined my coat.

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