Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Escaping Selection III

The barracks are closed off, they're holding people from both sides out now, and in front of us is nothing but a, a road and there's the two ditches on the sides. Beyond that are the two kitchens and one is completely closed up already and the other one there some girls are standing there waiting for the food to be picked up to take to the--to their, to their specific barracks. And it had rain, and, and the mud. All of a sudden, after she said that she just, she goes back to the barrack--she was in charge of her people--she said she had to go and say goodbye. And uh, out of nowhere the gates open and a mess of us--didn't include me yet--start running. When I saw that, and all of a sudden you look around, you see that the, the uh, the Gestapo are running after this one and after that one trying to get the line back into order, took my chance. I ran across the ditch. My shoes were big, too big for my feet--it was, it not a full boot shoe, just a, a summer shoe--got stuck in that mud but I ran anyway. With me, the girl whose sister that was left behind, ran too. But she fell in the ditch and she got shot in the back. And I thought to myself, "It's better that way. You don't have to go and get burned." And I ran, I ran up to the girls, the women that were standing in line waiting for the food. And one group brought back empties, you know, on...once it was empty, you had to bring back the empties. Somehow, or rather, whether it was my idea or it was two women there with the idea, opened the lid and I jumped in. There--those containers are huge, they're very tall. You're talking about fourteen-year-old and I'm very small--at this point nothing but skin and bones. They left a fraction of the lid open and I wait there. The guard must have seen people running, came to look around, didn't see anybody. Went back. That's how I survived--once they closed I survived one time. Two weeks later, uh...

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