Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Food in the Ghetto

Was it cooked food?

No, no, no. It would be um, uh, staples, vegetables, uh...

What did you do, go once a week or once a day?

No it wasn't months a day, no. I think it might have been something. Don't forget, refrigeration wasn't there. So if it was milk, it would probably have to be daily. Uh, all of the kids took turns to go and get it, uh...

Where would you get...

No, my mother would have to cook the food. She--I remember her cooking.

Do you?

Yes, whatever it was. It was so bad and we--I've gotta tell you, we were accordingly pretty strict Orthodox as far as cooking and foods. And um, towards the end, just before they took us from the ghetto things were very, very bad. I mean, you couldn't get no, no butter, no margarine, no oil, no nothing. Um, I smuggled out of the ghetto dressed up like a little farm gal with a babushka and a, one of those long skirts, like a, a, a Czech uh, outfit. And I went through a farm--snuck out between boards and went to an old farm lady that we used to know. And she gave me in a little pot, a earthen pot which I thought it was mm, margarine or something. Well, brought it to my mother. I vaguely remember, I wouldn't have remembered except for one thing. She put it on bread for the children. And I went to bite into it and it was--I never tasted it, but I had smelled pork fat, pork schmaltz.


And I want...I started gagging and I felt sick and I didn't want it. And she begged me, "Please don't tell the children." And I just put it down and I walked out. I couldn't eat it because it--I, I thought I was going to just die right then and there. Something you're not used to. The, the little guys, they, they didn't think nothing of it, but...

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