Lola Taubman

" There is so much anti-semitism throughout the world.  While I have my doubts, I can only hope that people will not forget the horrors of the Holocaust or let it happen again.  "

Name at birth
Lola (Ilona) Goldstein
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
I spent the first 17 years of my life in Svalava, Czechoslovakia. In 1944, the Nazis took my family and me to Auschwitz by way of cattle car.
Name of father, occupation
Maximilian (Miska) Goldstein, Grocery store owner, wholesale grain business
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Vsemta Oberlander, Homemaker and grocery store assistant
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and siblings: Pibor, Arthur, Arnold, Richard, and Lola; two died in infancy and one at the age of three
Who survived the Holocaust?
Myself, my uncles Louis, Zygmund, Jacob, Morris Goldstein and aunt Manci Goldstein and her husband, cousin Sam Moss, Olga, and baby Oberlander
In 1939, when I was twelve years old, Hungarian Nazi soldiers invaded my hometown of Svalava, Czechoslovakia.  Aside from some minor changes imposed upon us, things remained relatively peaceful.  
In 1942, the Nazis began occupying our homes, schools and businesses.  While most of my family and I were permitted to stay in Svalava, life was difficult.  Food was scarce and our income was nonexistent.  Since my school had been occupied by the Nazis, I continued my studies in a funeral home outside of town, residing with strangers.  
In 1944, German soldiers invaded Svalava.  My family and I, and hundreds of remaining Jews were placed on cattle cars and transported to a brick factory in Mukacevo.  There, the conditions were horrible.  We suffered from extreme cold, many people were ill with contagious diseases like tuberculosis, we had to sleep on a hard concrete floor, and we shared only one toilet. 
Four weeks later, the Nazis began shipping the Jews to Auschwitz by cattle car.  During the three day journey, we had no food, no toilets, and no windows to let in fresh air.  Many died in the cattle car.  
Upon arriving at the gates of Auschwitz, the men and women were separated into two lines.  I remember seeing Joseph Mengele standing with another German official.  
Half of the men were taken directly to the gas chambers while others were sent to barracks to work.  As for the women, some were immediately taken to the gas chambers to die, my mother included.  Some of my cousins and I on the other hand, were led to the “sauna,” where we were stripped, disinfected, shaven, and led to barracks.  
Our work consisted of sorting through people’s clothing, shoes and blankets, and transporting them to a warehouse.  
I remember that in order to keep up with the killings, the Nazis led many prisoners across the street to Birkenau where they were showered in gasoline and then burned to death.
I worked at Auschwitz for almost one year.  After Auschwitz, other prisoners and I were marched to various concentration camps, Ravensbruck and Malchow included.  We were forced to eat snow for survival.  There were bodies of corpses all around.  I remember an incident when, after an inmate gave birth to a child, her fellow prisoners cut the umbilical cord by hand and “threw the infant away” for fear that the Nazis would kill the mother upon discovery.  
After awhile, I was shipped to Leipzig to work in an ammunitions factory.  I was separated from some, but not all of my aunts and cousins.  During my imprisonment at the ammunitions factory, I heard frequent bombings by the Russian allies.  I suspected that the end of the war was near.  Indeed, in 1945, upon learning of the liberation of the concentration camps, the Nazis fled Leipzig and led us on a death march.  
Eventually, the Nazis abandoned us and leaving us to fend for ourselves in the harsh winter.  After suffering from hunger, cold and exhaustion for a time, my remaining family members and I met a Czechoslovakian officer who kindly arranged some of our fellow prisoners and us to take a bus to Prague.  
There, I was reunited with two of my uncles who had survived imprisonment in Siberia.  I lived with them for a while and moved to various Displaced Persons (DP) camps.  
In 1949, I finally obtained the necessary immigration papers to move to the United States.  My remaining family members had already made the trip and were waiting to reunite with me. 

To learn more about this survivor, please visit online at the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
After Nazi soldiers fled during a death march from the Leipzig ammunition factory, I moved to and from various DP camps in Czechoslovakia, Munich, and Frankfurt. I remember one, in particular, located outside of Frankfurt called Salzheim. There, I worked for the Israeli Consulate helping to obtain immigration papers for survivors. In 1949, I obtained the necessary immigration papers and boarded a ship from Bremen, Germany to the United States.
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
At first, I settled in New York, where I lived with my Uncle Louis and Aunt Magda. There, I worked for an import/export company for $7.50 per week. In 1951, my Uncle Louis secured a job for me in Detroit working as an assistant to an interior designer. I lived with my employer, Ruth Adler Schnee, until I got married in 1954.
Occupation after the war
Homemaker and speaker
When and where were you married?
In 1954, I married Sam Taubman in Birmingham, Michigan. We lived in an apartment in Detroit directly behind the building which housed the original Temple Israel.
Sam Taubman, Aeronautical engineer
Alyssa Taubman, real estate attorney in San Francisco; Richard Taubman, attorney in Michigan; Ruth Taubman, jewelry designer in Ann Arbor
I have six grandchildren.
What do you think helped you to survive?
Despite my doubts whether I would survive the war, my youth, strength and determination drove me to fight for my life. I also attribute my survival to my family upbringing, my responsibility to my family members, and my education.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
 There is so much anti-semitism throughout the world.  While I have my doubts, I can only hope that people will not forget the horrors of the Holocaust or let it happen again.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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