Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992


What kind of work did you do outside?

Sewing, on a machine. I was, I was sewing on, on...

Do you know the name of the company?

There was uh, lets see, Optima and then Madritsch, Optima and then Madritsch. Was sewing and then some uh, uh, Polack or somebody was bringing something, I had a friend that was bringing something. Bread or something, you know. It was, it was not so easy, what I will tell you. It was terrible, terrible. [pause] Terrible. I still say, how could the whole world, goes on, let do things like this, [crying] to people? I really mean it. I accuse everybody, I can't help. I accuse America mostly. They didn't do nothing for us [crying], nothing, they knew what happened. They knew very well, you know. What happened to us, oh, I will tell you something, in 1944, this was in 1944, I was in Płaszów concentration camp, and I knew that somebody was coming from America, somebody was, I don't know if you heard about Dr. Whitehead? He was a German Jew and he was for the Joint, you know, yeah? You heard about him?

Sure, sure, Joint Distribution.

No. somebody was telling him, you know, I was working in a concentration camp. I had to go to work too, you know. In the beginning, I used to work to Madritsch out, you know, but later on I had a lot problem with my leg so they didn't want to take me. They were afraid that the German, I stop the business and the German would kill me [??], they say, for you, it is better to stay in the Lager, in the concentration camp, like to go out, so we can be responsible, the Jewish policemen are telling me this. I can't be responsible for you if you stop the whole business and not to work, you know, I have problems with my legs. Something happened, maybe never, I don't know what happened. But, no I stopped working, to go out from there, from the concentration camp, Płaszów. And I took a job, they give me a job that I took in uh, Wäsherei, you know. I was washing clothes and everything, you know, for awhile and I had, somebody was telling me that I had uh...that somebody was coming that's special uh...to make something, arrangement, you know, for, specially for the children. I will tell you about the children, about the children, they should get something in medication, you know, for us. Somebody from America, somebody's coming. And I heard about this. And I said, "Cyla, you have to go and talk to him, you have to go and talk to him," I said. I have to go and talk to him and explain to him what a terrible situation we're at, what a terrible situation of the children. It was only three hundred sixty children in the...in the concentration camp, Płaszów. And I know all the child, children. My child was too, my brothers' children were there, and my friends' children were there, you know. And I know almost every child and for me, I told you in the beginning, children were something special, [crying]. Then I said I have to do something and talk to this man. And how I would do, I don't know, but I have to talk to him and tell him about the children in concentration camp, Płaszów. And I know when he will come, somebody told me about when he's coming. So, I said, I will watch to him. Even if they will kill him, I don't care, but I have to talk to him. And I know when he was coming, you know. I told from the, the start, I was working, in the Wäscherei, this was like a cleaning, we were washing the, all the laundry for the people, and the laundry for the German officers, you know. I was ironing, you know. I was very good in ironing. So I, I had a special job, really, you know. Sometimes an officer, the German come in and was looking...I ironed good for him, the shirt, really, I wouldn't iron perfectly, he would kill me. For him killing was nothing, you know. Fred's father was shot by a officer, a German officer, you know. For him, it would be nothing. And I took the job to concentrate, I said I had to have something, if not, I wouldn't know what to do, you know, with the, with a child and children, my brothers' children. It was...it was just terrible. I was working in the ironing in the shirts and everything and I told something pass that the commander, that the Jewish commander was coming and would he, going somebody else and the officer German was going, you know. The commander of the Lager, Getto, his name was Getto, you know. And somebody else. I said, if they will kill me, I have to go. Really, it was a need that I have to do. And when I was certain that they were leaving, I ran out, you know, I ran out that I don't care if they kill me or not and I stopped him, and I said to him, to Dr., the German almost, he gave the commander of the Jewish Lager stopped him for a moment, you know. And I said to him, "Why don't you do for us? I know you from America.” So he said, "yes, I am from America," he said to me. I said, "Why don't you do for us something?” He said, "What, what we can do?” So I said to him, "Don't you know what's going here on?” I asked him this. "Well, don't you know what's going here on?” So, you know what he answers? I'll never forget. They know everything what's going on, but they wouldn't do nothing. This was, he said. But I said, what about the Red Cross? Why they don't help us? So he says to me, "Red Cross do nothing for, for the Jewish people.” This what he answered me. I'll never forget it, from this time I hate Red Cross, even now, I can't stand them. I can't hear them, an, an, an, and you know in other, today they don't recognize the Red Cross in Israel, yes? And I said, I don't then care about this, Israel shouldn't even care about this, that they don't recognize them. I, I, I really can't...I'll never forgive them for doing nothing for us, you know. And then I said to him, "You know the children in this concentration camp [crying] is three hundred sixty children. Can you do something for the children? Please do it.” He says, "I can do nothing.” I would like you to have. And, and this was a lesson what I...the officer in ???? almost shot me. But, the Jewish commander pushed me away, I fell, you know. He would kill me, you know. I'll never forget. But, you know, children were something very special for me, really very special. I, I know all the children, I can't forget them even after the war. [crying] I just want to but, I try, you know, I couldn't forget, you know. It was just, just terrible. If you would laid there, they came, they took all the children to Auschwitz. They took my child, too. My brothers' children. Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992 - Taking Away the Children to Płaszów

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