Mrs. Henna Feintuch (Part III)

Were you taken to work?

Sure. We were taken to Germany to work in an ammunition factory. We worked together at one machine. They didn’t know that we were sisters or they would not have allowed it. The pipes we worked with were all frozen. We had to lift the pipes with our bare hands. The material was heavy and the work was very strenuous.

Each day we were counted during tzel apel; once in the morning before we left for work and once when we arrived at our work place; they had to be certain that no one tried to escape. Hardly ever did people try to run away, for it was almost impossible; if someone was caught he’d be tortured and most likely shot.

Can you tell us about liberation?

One day while standing in line for tzel apel, each person was given bread. We were told that we were going to be walking — destination unknown. We walked for four days. When we were allowed to rest, we were sent to rest on a mountain. At the bottom of the mountain was a river. Those girls who could no longer go on, collapsed on the mountain and their dead bodies rolled down the mountain, into the river. It snowed on the mountains and our bodies were frozen and covered with snow.

After a few days we noticed that the German soldiers seemed to be packing themselves up, as if getting ready to leave. There were horses and cows grazing lower down and there we saw the soldiers, who were obviously drunk. They packed up their wagons and left.

After we were sure they had gone, we went into the German houses and took sugar, flour and anything that we could find. Then, from far, we saw motorcycles carrying Russian soldiers coming out of the forest. We began waving in their direction and the soldiers saw us and came to rescue us. The Russians gave us permission to take whatever we wanted from the empty houses. We remained there for two, three days, trying to gather everything that we needed.

From here we walked about 10 minutes to the train. We traveled on the train for two or three hours. Then we had to get off and wait for the next train; it was a long wait. We traveled a few days until we finally arrived home.

How many surviving members were there in your family?

On the way home to Chust, the train made stops in many towns. When we stopped in Budapest, the Jewish people who had been liberated earlier were waiting at the train station with food for us. They took us to the school buildings to wash up. My brother Chaim was in Budapest; he was informed of our arrival by people who were there from Chust and recognized us.

Chaim met a Satmar girl and married her in the town of Satmar. We all returned to Chust together. My sister Mali returned to Czechoslovakia in search of other siblings. There she found my brother Menachem.

I met my husband in Satmar and we were married there. We lived in Satmar, where we had our oldest son. In 1948, we traveled to Eretz Yisrael.

What message can you impart to today’s generation?

Baruch Hashem, we were liberated and we were thankful to be alive. Life in Europe was difficult. We did not have all the amenities that families today grow up with. I recall having to bring water from the river, which we boiled on the stovetop for washing up. We collected firewood to keep us warm in the winter. We used outhouses as bathrooms and ice boxes for refrigerators. I am thankful that living conditions in America are much easier.