Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eva Wimmer - January 1, 1985

Arrival and Life in Łódź

Again, over there by the train there were people waiting for us from the ghetto. They explained everything. Where we'll be going. They heard about the tragedy--what happened on certain uh, uh, trains. They said, unfortunately, the survivors of the people who are--who are survivors, the ones who died, there were wives who died, left husbands, there were sons, daughters who choked to death. It was tragic. Well, we gathered in one place over there in the Łódź ghetto and they told us we will be sent to different places to live and, naturally, they will--we will have to work for the Germans. And it took a couple of days 'til they organized everybody in places. The five sisters, we were five of us, so they gave us one room in, in the ghetto. Uh, [sigh] what can I say? It was very hard, very hard. There was uh, nothing. We had no water in the house. We had nothing. It was just one room to live in. Those were the living uh, environments. And we, we worked in a factory. We made the shoes for the German soldiers. Uh, from, from, I don't know how to explain uh, I've, I've never seen this before it and I've never seen this after since I am here in the United States and I--we lived in Sweden. I've never seen something like this. They made big shoes for the wintertime for the soldiers to cover up for the cold weather so we made from straw, from straw we made uh, pigtails. We, we, we braided or whatever...


And then we--one type of the, the uh, the factory made this, the other part sew the, the shoes together. But, I was, I was uh, whatever it's called..




Yes, that's what I was doing. This we did for two years in the ghetto. Food was very, very little. We had to stay in lines every single day. I was under-aged. Under-aged meant under eighteen so they gave us privileges like one--I was only from the five sisters, I was the youngest so I worked 'til twelve. And after twelve, I went to classes for a couple of hours to learn German and then I went home--so-called home, whatever it was--I went home to stay in lines to get the food out from the, from the grocery stores, whatever was available for us. Very little. For hours and hours, sometimes my, my sisters came home from the factory before I was even home from the line. So, they came to meet me and help me carry home the packages whatever I had. Many times, unfortunately, when I came already to the, to the place where I was supposed to get uh, whatever, the cabbage or potatoes, whatever it was--they run short. And after staying there for hours and hours, we went home with nothing. And this happens many, many times. This went on for two years. Very hard work. Very little clothes to wear in the wintertime. Shoes, we had wooden shoes and they wore out and, and holes were all over. And when we had to go, we had to make the straw. We had to put under the water uh, on the, on the back yard where we worked in the factory was a water, uh...


Well, yes. And we had to sort this, uh--a few girls this was our--they, they send us to do this. Others had different assignments. So, when we did this, the water, unfortunately, the shoes, the wooden shoes were wearing out. And they didn't replace different ones so they, they--for the wetness it was--in the wintertime the same thing as the summertime we had to do the same thing. We, we caught colds. We were sick. There was no sick leave. We had to go to work just the same until we collapsed. Luckily, somebody above us, evidently, like if it would be now uh, is right away you having a temperature of 102 you must be on antibiotics. We didn't get even Tylenol or aspirin. Some--uh, uh, we, we made it somehow. So um, this was going on for two years.

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