Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rose Wagner - August 14, 2002

Conditions in Ghetto

No, no, no, no. No, you're going--do you remember walking the streets of the ghetto? What was it like on the streets?

Oh horrible. This I remember. I should have said before when I was working in the ghett...you mean the ghetto. My father was--somebody died, he took care of it. You know, in each building there was like a--so he took care. And he was holding the book under his arm. When the German stopped us, he said that he has to go and take care because somebody passed away. So they let him go by.

So he would say Kaddish for them, for the people who died. But were there dead bodies on the street?

There was dead bodies, that was later. That was later. Now I'm back like in 1941. So when, so when I was walking in the street, I could see soldiers. They were standing and watching us. But when you're young, you're not as afraid. You, you scared, but you take chances. And uh, and then when we went on the other side, my, my mother, when she passed when--before when she was sick, she gave us a little purse and she had put in that purse a little diamond. A diamond. It wasn't small and what did she do, she put the diamond in the oven. Not in the oven, we had like a building oven you know, the old kind of thing, you had the tiles. So she took out the tile and then she put the diamond in. So my sister knew about it. I was so much younger, so I didn't remember that much. So she said to me, we were already on the little ghetto, so we had to go across the bridge in order to go into the big ghetto. But there was nobody there anymore. Unless there were people hiding there. Some people were hiding in the apartments on the, on the... But anyhow--so I remember I, I came to the big ghetto to our apartment and a block, a couple blocks away you had a German soldier with a gun. And we just kept running. We went to the apartment. We took the purse. We took a little purse that my, my mother had that little beautiful purse that she bought it before the war. I mean, from her vacation one day. And we took the diamond with us. And then we went back to my aunt's place, but nobody was there anymore. See I, I'm jumping from one thing to another, so it's not...

Do you think they were taken to Auschwitz too or were they, were they shot? Were they shooting people there?

In Auschwitz?

No, I mean in Łódź.

Of course they were.

They were shooting people.

Yeah, in Łódź.

Did you see anyone shot?

See I hid my mother once. They had a selection. See, I keep reminding myself. They had a selection, they came to our building and the building was as big as-- long as a block. So I hid there under an cover. And I, and my sister and I--we, we went downstairs for the selection. So they let us go. And the older people they took away. I don't remember my, I think my father wasn't alive anymore. You talk to my sister, she remembers everything.

And, and they would have killed your mother because she...

Of course they would. They would take her away. They would take her away and they would send her to the gas chamber, I'm pretty sure. When I came to Auschwitz.

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