Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Muschkies Webber - February 2, 1987


Do you know why you decided to do that? Were they worried about the children?

Because the children were not allowed to exist. There was no place for children. It was only for able working bodies. The women were there to be in the kitchen and to cook, and the men were there to work in the factory, and there was no place for children. Children were not supposed to exist. They were supposed to have gone with the first transport out. So I remember in '42 was a very cold winter, at least it seemed it was cold, because at night we kept on walking, and even now I...sometimes when I see lights in a distance...at night when I walk, it brings me back the memories of that particular winter when we would just keep walking and walking all night long so we shouldn't freeze. And one of these nights I wanted a drink. So my mother walked up to a farm house and knocked on the door and asked would they please give me a glass of water or milk or whatever and she was willing to pay, because at that time we still had money. And the women looked at me and decided we were Jewish and she told us to go away. Well that wasn't enough. Within an hour or so we had a policeman following us. Obviously, this woman went to the police station and told them that there was a woman with a child that she believes were Jewish were walking around. That policeman was uh, I guess he looked at us and he could see that we were Jews, and he told us that not far away there was a camp where Jews are safe. The camp that we ran away from that particular night, and we shouldn't be walking around or knocking on farmers' doors because the farmers don't like it and they complain to the police. So he let us go. I really, now that I think of it, this could have been the end. Nobody would have questioned him if he would have shot us right there and then. Then came morning and we hid in a field, I guess, a corn field where the corn was cut down like half way and the stalks were still up and we were lying there and not far away some children started playing ball. I envied them. I couldn't even say anything, because I was afraid that they'll find us. Well, somebody threw the ball and it landed right by my feet, and one of those little kids came up, looked at me, saw me, picked up the ball and walked away. These things were happening so many times; I guess I could sit here for hours and tell you about these things. I guess the worst part of it all is that it brings back this certain feeling of fear that I had felt at that time, and that isn't very pleasant. But I guess it has to be. I think those first nights in the forest and all the times when I was so scared that if not for my mother and her kind words to me and all the crazy things I must have done at the time. I remembered one evening when we were supposed to leave for the forest I didn't want to go. I refused to go. All the other women with their children left and I refused to move. And that night we did not go out into the forest. Well, it seems like a German patrol found the other people. They never came back. We were saved. And that particular camp you asked me what I was doing there. There was a hiding place prepared for us over a office that was built in a auto shop in a big, like a warehouse. There was an office built where they were repairing the cars and we were on top of that office. The only way to reach the roof of that was with a ladder that was put up at night to bring us food. It was like against one wall. You know, like you put up an office and my father occasionally slept with me there at night, or else if he had to be somewhere else or he had to be counted at work I was left alone. The first day or two, I was there with other children and then the other children didn't want to stay. I remember that I had to finish all the food that my father brought me while he was there, because there was either mice or rats, I don't know what it was, but they were running around and it was he felt safer if there was no food around. So all day I would be there without any food and I couldn't move because the Germans were in the office and if I would have walked upstairs then they would have heard me. So all day long I couldn't move. And then at night I was able to walk around. I used to play little games with the animals. They used to kind of play little games among themselves and then they would get real close to me, and I would try to see how close I could really take for them to come before I would slightly move and they would run away. That was my game.

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