When I was a little girl, I started school when I was 5 or 6 years old. My life was good. Then the school moved closer to the city and I went to a public school.
I didn’t like it there because I was called anti-Semitic names. They said, “You are Jewish, go to Palestine.”
In the fourth grade, I took a streetcar to a Jewish school in the city. Then I was happy, I made friends, and I loved the school.
In 1935, 1936, the times were not so good for us. Then the war broke out. The Germans invaded and then it became very bad for us.
There was very little to eat. My mother sold everything from our house to put food onto the table, to feed my sister and me. Then we moved to a special place only for the Jewish people. I was there until 1942. You can call it a ghetto, but they took most of the people to the main ghetto in 1943.
In 1942, I had to go to a work camp called Gelenau. I had to come to a special place where they took all of the young people. They put us on a train and shipped us to Germany. The factory I was in made cloth and I operated the machines.
When the treads broke, I had to fix them so that the machines could still run. It was a labor camp, hard work, but it wasn’t as bad as the concentration camp. This was only a work camp. I was there alone for about a year. Then they took all of the girls to Langenbielau concentration camp.
There were 200 women and we all did the same work. We were watched by a German all the time, from 6 in the morning until 7 at night. In the mornings, we had roll call to see if everybody was there. There was very little food, only a small piece of bread. They gave us some soup that was full of sand because the potatoes were not peeled.
They took everything away from us. We marched in wooden shoes. The first thing I did when I got out of the factory was look for water to wash myself. Things were very bad; we were hungry all of the time.
The Germans were very bad to us. They would go around with a whip and beat us for not working hard enough. It was horrible. I was beaten a couple of times. We had a small piece of bread, very small, and people would steal it if you didn’t finish all of your food right away. When I came back from work, I had the soup with the sandy potatoes. I don’t even remember what they gave us to drink.
It was a miracle that I kept going. We were waiting for the war to end so that we could be with our families. That is what kept us going. I had a top bunk and I kept saying, “If the war will be over and I’m still alive, they’ll put me into a museum for surviving.”
I wasn’t sure that I would survive. I wanted to be able to tell my story, what I went through. That’s what kept me going. I never gave up.