Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Tuchklaper - March 2, 1983

Work in the Ghetto

How did you get to and from work?

We came under guard, under guard, which was, you know. I was not the only one. There was quite, you know, a few they took out in the morning and they brought us back.

Did you return to your home or...

I returned for a while 'til they made permanent residence barracks for us to sleep there. But 'til then they used to come in the morning. We used to meet in front of uh, like uh, in front of the building ??? until everybody came and we marched out to the really small camp that was...

Can you describe the type of work that you did?

Yes. I worked with uh, fixed--I knew how to sew. They took us for a test and, you know, and that's the first time I learned how to sew on electrical machine, which they had already. And we fixed some uniforms for them. So that's why it saves my life: because I was useful to them.

What kind of conditions were there at this factory that you worked at?

??? conditions wasn't bad but we were still under pressure. We couldn't do nothing; we had to go on their rules which--them and we came in the morning at nine o'clock and we worked the whole day. We had, let's see, lunch uh, a half an hour or forty-five minutes and then 'til five o'clock we went to the barracks and they had uh, a kitchen set up to feed us. And in the beginning it wasn't bad.

What kind of food was provided for the girls who worked?

Not a lot. [laughs] There was uh, bread and coffee in the morning. Let's see, something for lunch could be a sandwich or some kind of light meat. I don't know. And then uh, and then at night was--just could be a soup, a piece of meat, a piece of bread, that's it.

How old were most of the workers in this factory?

We were all young kids. Eighteen, nineteen-years-old.

Did you have any contact with your family while you were working in the factory?

Yes. They took us home Sunday morning for a day. They took us Sunday morning and we stayed a few hours and then we went back home.

During this period of time, how was your mother managing with the other children?

As expected. Whatever we had in the house, that has to be good enough. I happened to be down there in the beginning alone and then one of my sisters joined me. They put up another uh, magazines down there. So she joined me and we were there for quite a few years.

What were the conditions like in the barracks that they provided for you?

Very simple. Bu...bunk beds, that's all. And there was uh, beside the barracks there was a small little barrack which it was a washroom to go in, in the morning and to wash up and you know take care of certain ???. It was plain and simple--just barracks that's all. No tables, no chairs. We were sitting down on the, on the bed ???.

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