Sheri Kohen

"No one should ever experience anything like this in their lives "

Name at birth
Sari Labovic
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Sevlus, Czechoslovakia
Name of father, occupation
Samuel , Had a little dry goods store
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Devorah Rosner, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and nine children: Carmella, Rachel, Sigmund, Sheri (Shaindel or Yardena), Malka, Sanye (boy), Moishela, Edith, Kathy
How many in entire extended family?
About twenty were lost.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Carmella, Rachel, Sigmund, and Malka
In our city, Sevlus.  After the ghetto was established, there were about one hundred people crowded into our house.  The Germans used to make us clean the streets just to embarrass us.  When we girls were forced to go out, my mother was afraid of the Hungarian soldiers.  She told us to make ourselves look ugly because they were raping the women.  
 In 1944, our entire immediate family was taken to Auschwitz.  My brother Sigmund had earlier been taken to a Hungarian working camp.  We were packed into a cattle car like, I couldn’t breathe.  My sisters Edith and Kathy were just babies.  
My sisters Malka, Carmella and me survived the selection at Auschwitz.  We were together the whole time afterwards.  The rest of my family was murdered at Auschwitz.  At Auschwitz, they would make us stand at a rollcall for six hours, starting at 4 in the morning.
After Auschwitz, we were taken to a labor camp which was on a farm in Poland.  It was located in a little town.   We were supposed to work on a farm but we dug ditches so that tanks couldn’t get through.  They were so bad to us, so mean to us.   We were in mud, naked, and barefoot.  There was one German who liked me because I was a hard worker; he wanted to adopt me to work for him.  Conditions there were very hard, very bad; we slept in a barn, my shoes were frozen, it was often slippery, and rainy.  
Originally at the labor camp, there were 4000 girls, toward the end there were only 40 girls.  Then we went on a Death march and later taken on a cattle train.  We were packed in like sardines, we couldn’t move the whole night.  
We were liberated not far from Cracow.  We heard shooting, Russian soldiers were advancing.  But we also heard that Russian soldiers were raping the girls so we were also afraid of them.
I was with a group of ten girls.  There was a Krakovitch family, a mother and daughter with a horse and buggy.  The Russians later stopped us.  We slept in chicken coops.  We were afraid of the Russians,
We traveled for days, we had no food. Finally we came to Warsaw, to Praga nearby.  
We stayed in a bombed out house, there was no roof. .
Finally, we went home, my brother and sister Rachel were home.  We went back to Warsaw where we heard there were relatives.  We found two uncles who had been in the Czech army.   
After the war, Russia took over our area.  
Carmella and I made Aliyah, going to Palestine on the Aliyah Bet at the time.  We were captured by the British and were sent to Cyprus.  Once again we were prisoners in a camp, two years in Cyprus.     
My husband and I were married in Cyprus.  We met earlier in Austria.
We lived four in one room, near Tel Aviv.  Later, we were able to get our own place to live.  
My husband worked for the Israeli army.
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My mother’s sisters and brothers were here in Detroit: Malvina, Gertrude, Adolph, and Michael
Occupation after the war
Catering business, hairdresser
When and where were you married?
Zoli , tailor, worked in a dry goods store with Martin Rose, and butcher shop. We were partners in the butcher shop with Alex and Anna Greenberger.
Jerry and Eddie
Ilana Liss, Ariel Kohen and Great grandchildren Lily, Eden, and Ruby Liss; Judah, Talia, Micah Kohen
What do you think helped you to survive?
We were young, we didn’t think about what was going on. My older sister just wanted to be left alone and die. We were younger, we had the drive to live. Carmella kept on dragging her along on the death march. We kept trying to keep her alive, to push her. We had will power and the hope that maybe our parents will be home.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
No one should ever experience anything like this in their lives 
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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