Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992

Taking Away the Children to Płaszów

How old was your son?

Mine? Two years, he was two years, but he was so smart. He knew everything what was going on. He talked like I or you, you know. Everything, he could understand everything. How the children were hiding [crying] you wouldn't believe, they know that the German coming and for us they were hiding in the bunker, you know. It was unbelievable how smart they were, how beautiful, you know. I remember all the children, I never forget, I can't. [crying] [pause] And always when I have a chance, I always do something in memory of the children, always. And this is, I think you can forget why I was so close to the children, you know.

You took care of them in Płaszów?


You took care of them in Płaszów?


Were you responsible for them, is that what you did?

I think so. This what I think, this was terrible, really terrible, that they did nothing for the children, nothing. This was the last children from Kraków, you know. They were so smart. They knew everything what was going on. They had, this how they were, had they know that German are coming near the barracks, they would hiding, you know, under the, the, the barricades, you know. We had three ????, one, and the second ??? and the third, they were always going up to the third, you know, when they were hiding there. Un...unbelievable. That, you know, I can't even talk about it, but I think everybody should know about what was going on, I really...what was going on, because just terrible. To the last minute, I'll never forget how they came and took all the children that way. And I am sorry that I didn't go with my son [weeping]. They didn't take him, terrible. And like it was a transfer to Auschwitz, you know, I went.

The children were all in one barrack? The children were all in one barrack?

Yeah. The children were in one, like a kindergarten. They, they, they separated children.

And they came for them in one day?

One day, they came and they took all the children.

And to where were you? Where were you?

Umm?...I was on the cellar, they separate us. We couldn't be with the children. The children were separated and one...went only to visit them.

And you watched them take them away?

Watched them, that's right. And we were un...we didn't know that they would come for the children. We have like, we call it Zählappell, all the...

Roll call.

You know, you know, where on the, on the, on the special place, you know, all standing, and then they came to pick up all the children, they took away. And they were, they were...

And you saw them come for them?


From the Appelplatz, you saw them coming?

Yeah, yeah.

What did, what did you do?


What did you, did you say or do anything, did you, when you watched them take them away?

[Sigh] How I can do? They were standing all of us with a, with a mata..ma...guns. Around us, we couldn't move, we couldn't do it, you know, nothing. We couldn't do, we couldn't. They would kill us all. With the shotgun, they were, you, you know, around us. The soldiers where standing with the machine, guns, around us, you know. And then they were telling us, wait, telling, no, you will go to the children, the children will, are going to a better place. This what they were saying. To a better place, you know. And they took the children May the fourteenth. And then Auschwitz was again a transport, you know, they were taking a lot of people away and I ran too, you know, but they say, they going to Auschwitz. And I told them, I go to Auschwitz. I will see my baby, I will see my children, you know. So I run too, to go, you know.

Was in 1944?

1944 then August, I came to Auschwitz, you know.

Had you heard of Auschwitz before?

I heard about Auschwitz, but I didn't know what was going on in Auschwitz, we didn't know. I told you when I go to Auschwitz, I will meet my son, I will meet the children, you know. So I ran too, you know, to go out to Auschwitz. I left my husband and everything there, I am going to my, to my baby, I think, and I run.

What was your son's name?

Um..name? My son's name was Leo. Leo. He was so smart. He was three years old, he talked like I and you. Everything, he understood. He was trained, he was everything, you wouldn't even believe, no. The children were so smart, they knew everything what was going on. They were afraid, when they saw a German from the far they were hiding. You wouldn't believe, really. They say today the children are so smart and well, you can't even compare, you know, today the children, really. Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992 - Cousin's Children

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