Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009


Are there any things that remind you, sort of on a regular basis of things that happened to you during the war?


Like what?

When I see a ham, you know, ham was the only thing they could get in Frankfurt at that time and the Israelis loved it. So when I see a whole ham and I don't eat it, but when we have a, a brunch and I see the ham, I remember.

Anything that reminds you of Auschwitz?

When I talk to my friends, in one way or another it always comes up. I talk to Elizabeth Weiss frequently. I talk to Agi.

Daughter: The whole time that we were children growing up, my mother couldn't go outside when we were having a barbecue. My father would...


Daughter: When we were growing up on Maryland...


Daughter: ...you would shut the window to the kitchen when dad would barbeque outside, you couldn't stand the smell.

That's right. I--in restaurants that had barbeque to this day the smoke just reminds me of the burning flesh.

Daughter: And also the smell of chestnuts in New York, she doesn't like the burning smell in the carts. It unnerves her.

How about trains?


Trains? Trains?

Trains? I have only been on a train once. Or, or maybe several times from, from uh, New York. My uncle moved to Detroit and pretty soon they, they got me a job and I moved here, because I couldn't stand it. Uh, you know, I had a tattoo? I worked in New York--are you a New Yorker?

From New York state.

New York State. Well, I worked across the street from the uh, uh Flatiron Building. Why, why am I mentioning this?

Daughter: Because when you'd take the train in from Brooklyn...

Yes, I was on a train in summertime, you know, I wore short sleeves. They asked me if that number was my Social Security or my telephone number. So when I came to Detroit I removed it. I, I wish I hadn't.

Daughter: But, you know, she said she used to pass out on the train from just being so crowded.

Once, once the train was so crowded that I fainted and they stepped on me and they pulled me out and they took me to the bathroom at the train station. And uh, I got cleaned up and I went to work. And I was so pale that uh, my boss said, "Take a cab and go home." So I...

The train, the train doesn't remind you of the box car?

Uh, well, the train--funny thing, once when I, I, I was from New York to Detroit I met a classmate of mine on the train so that was a good thing.

Daughter: The one thing that she now comments on. Every time that we pass it is--I don't know if you go to Ann Arbor often, but on Depot Street, just east of Main when you're heading toward the hospital when you take that exit, they built a new building called the First Martin Building and there was an overpass from the train that used to go all the way into town.

I know where that is.

Daughter: They cut it off and they put a--an empty uh, a car that just carries like coal or, you know, things like that. And every time we pass it by my mother says, "It bothers me so much..."

Why do they have to put it there?

Daughter: ..."it's like a boxcar", and that is the one thing. Every time--since they've built it, we pass it several times to and from my house and she never fails to mention it going and coming.

And, you know, I have seen that train in, in Jerusalem at the Yad Vashem.

Yeah. Have you been to the one in Washington?


Also they have a train. There's actually one in...

Daughter: That's what bothers her, is that train car.

In, in uh, in the museum in Washington, the na...name of Svalava is on one of those--the glass, you know, the glass window where they had it--how do you call that?

Daughter: Engraved?

Enga...it's, uh...

What you do with...

Daughter: En...engraved or...

Engraved, right.

Daughter: ...blasted--sand blasted.

And a friend of ours who came from Poland, he says, when you go there you'll see something, the whole village was destroyed. It was all Jews. And it's, it's, it's an arch and shows pictures of the children of that village and his sister was on a little bicycle.

You know, Agi's on the--Agi's on one of the programs there.

I know. Every time you come there, she's there.


Yeah. Have you seen Agi lately?

I just talked to her a couple of nights ago.

But did you see her personally?

We saw her about three weeks ago. She's very thin--she's gaunt.

She's on oxygen.

I know. I know.

And she came here to Ann Arbor to meet the gentleman that helped her.


Hank. She went out to smoke in the snow. She was still smoking. This was before she got sick, that she needed oxygen.

She's not smoking anymore.

I know, I hope not.

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