Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Muschkies Webber - February 2, 1987

Father's Death

When did you find out about your father?

Uh, my mother had found out about my father I think from certain people still in Poland. But she did not believe it. She was still reading lists and going to different organizations that had survivor names and I think we finally faced the fact in Germany. I think that's when we set a date when to observe his Yahrzeit. I'm not sure. It's something that kind of crept up. I knew he was gone, so it didn't matter if it was official or not. There was still kind of a hope in the back of our mind, the back of my mind, but uh, it was anticlimactic at the time. It didn't make an effect on me. It's just that when somebody would do something to me that I felt was not right, I would explain it to myself, well it's only because I'm, originally when I didn't know my mother was alive, I would say because I'm an orphan. And then I would say it's because I don't have a father that's why I'm being screamed at, or I'm not allowed to do this or I'm not allowed to that. In Germany we lived in the city, we lived in Munich because my sister had education all through the war so she needed higher education. Not like they had in the DP camps after the war so my mother was advised that it would be better for us to live in Munich because there was a Hebrew high school there that my sister could attend. She wanted us to be in a Jewish atmosphere. We lived among normal people. People that had homes, that had families. We lived in a room with, that was, we used a room in an apartment that was occupied by a German family, a very affluent German family. They had to give up a room for us. They had such a normal life. They had a son that was about my age. I resented him. He had a father, he had a mother. They were able to enjoy the holidays. Theirs was Christmas, ours was something else. All right. We had some of it in the school; in the Hebrew school they tried to give us a lot of tradition. They tried to give us one full-course meal before we went home because we really didn't have a home. My mother was working in Germany. I resented that child and any other child that I happened to have crossed while I was coming from school. Why don't I have a home to come home too? Why do I have to live just in one room? It's already after the war. I mean I'm supposed to be already free. And yet, I didn't have any of that. We, you know, I'm a very lucky person in so many ways, I guess most important because I'm sitting here, but in Poland while I was in the orphanage I had, they had a correspondent I think it was from New York come and interview us and talk to us and he took our names and distributed it to a Hebrew school in New York. The girl that picked up my name started sending me letters, and not only letters but she started sending me parcels to Poland, to Germany wherever I came, when I came to the kommitet or the center of Jewish offices, there was a parcel always waiting for me. That's another thing that very few people had. We didn't have anything. And these parcels were like a Godsend. There was clothes for us, there was certain foods that we could exchange for other things in Germany after the war. Later on we found out that that particular family was struggling. They couldn't make a living but yet they took away from themselves and they send me. None of the other children received any parcels from New York. I was the only one. So it's like somebody was watching over us.

Did you know, of course, how rare it was to have someone your age survive Auschwitz?


© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn