Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Muschkies Webber - February 2, 1987

Separation from Mother

Have you ever thought to yourself, "If I weren't Jewish this wouldn't being happening to me"?

Oh definitely. Absolutely. When I saw those children playing ball. When...even on the way to Auschwitz when they picked me up and I looked out the little window and I saw all these things, normal things going on, the fields, the people walking, and I thought to myself, "why not me?" I mean what is it so terrible of being a Jew? I mean what am I doing any different? Yes, I did question that. I couldn't understand that. I didn't know why I was there. I just knew that my mother kept saying to me, just hold on, it'll just be a little bit longer, just a little bit longer everything will be fine, this will be over and everything will be back to normal. Grandparents will come back. She knew very well that they wouldn't. Uh, we'll be a family again, and everything will be all right. And that's what kept me going, and I didn't have that reinforcement from her in Auschwitz, and really at that point I felt it doesn't matter what happens to me. I don't care. I really did not care.

How long were you there without her?

Well, I guess it was sometime in November when she was sent out so maybe two or three weeks before I...time didn't mean anything to me because as I said, I lived from day to day from hour to hour from minute to minute even, so I can only associate certain things with the seasons. I know I came into Auschwitz, it was hot summer, I know I was in one of the camps and I had the typhus and it was in the spring. We came into the camp and within ten days the whole transport became sick including my mother and me and everybody. No medication, no anything. We survived. There wasn't even one death.

Deaths from typhus?

Yeah from typhus. So I can associate this time too, I have a memory there that I'm very, that I tend to be upset when I think about it now too, when we came to that camp I was put on a pritsche, on a bunk on the top. And I guess I was one of the first ones to get sick and my mother prepared some food and was trying to bring it up to me because I guess I was, either I was too sick or too stubborn, I don't know. Maybe I just wasn't feeling well anymore and I didn't want to eat. I just wasn't interested. And my mother tried to bring it up to me and she was already getting sick and she fainted while trying to give me, bring me up the food. I can picture that moment and uh, I even felt bad then, that by her trying to come up and give me that food I almost lost her because she fainted, I mean she just wasn't there. So uh, these are incidents that keep coming back to me and bring this terrible fear that I experienced over that long period of time back to me and that's why I'm a little reluctant to talk about this too much. I really am. Because I don't want to feel the way I felt then; and I don't want to shut it out altogether, because I want to feel still now. Don't know how, I'm afraid to shut off the other so I should not shut off my feelings now. I have a good life. I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children and I want to partake in that pleasure.

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