After having survived for three months in Auschwitz, where were you transported to?
We were then taken to an ammunition factory. My sister saw to it that I was given the light work to do while she did the hard work. The work that my sister did earned her a small bottle of milk each day. Although at home I never liked milk nor would I drink milk, here in the camps my sister insisted that I drink the whole bottle; there was no choice of food there; we ate and drank whatever we were given, in order to survive.
How long did you remain in the ammunition factory?
We worked in the ammunition factory for close to a year. We were then transported to another camp, Zaltsveider, where we were finally liberated.
Can you tell us about liberation?
We were liberated by the English and then the Americans. Even after we were liberated, we remained in a DP camp in Zaltsveider for two or three months. When we left Zaltsveider we traveled to Budapest, Hungary. There we met my sister Lolly, who had been hidden at the home of gentiles throughout the war.
Together with another 30 girls, I joined a Bais Yaakov dormitory in Budapest set up by the Agudah, where I remained for the next year. When I left I traveled to Czechoslovakia, from where we hoped to get visas to America. We wanted to rebuild our life. We wanted to go back to normalcy, to live a life of Yiddishkeit as we did in our father’s house.
We had relatives living in America. My cousin Leibish Greenberger was involved in Agudah and he was able to secure papers for me to come as a student. I was the first of my sisters to arrive in America, in 1948; they followed a short while later. I arrived at Ellis Island, where I remained for a few days. After settling down, I went to Rebbetzin Kaplan’s Bais Yaakov in Williamsburg. I moved in as a boarder with Rebbetzin Zelmanowitz.
I married my husband, Yisroel Fischer, my third cousin. We were bentched to have two healthy daughters whom we raised in the Yiddishe derech that we were raised in de alte heim. We sent them to Bais Yaakov and married them off into the shentzte, chashuve mishpachos. Today I can boast of, ka”h, many einiklach and ur-einiklach, many of them carrying the names of my parents, siblings and relatives, who are all shomrei Torah u’mitzvos.
How did you keep your emunah strong through the horrors of the Holocaust?
As my father was being taken away, he left us with one message: “Tayereh kinder, pas oif tzu shtein oifen gruden veg, nisht tzu gen arupin gos, biz me kuched oif alleh zeitin.” My father’s words were really mussar to us children: never to veer off the right path, to stay on the derech Hashem, never to stray from the Torah path — not even a little bit.
Those words of my father stayed with me throughout my life and still echo in my ears and mind until today. There were many challenges and decisions to make in life — chinuch, kashrus, tznius, etc. I always heeded and listened to my father’s mussar and, baruch Hashem, that is what kept me strong and holding fast to Yiddishkeit.
What message can you impart to today’s generation?
Children, every day you should thank the Ribbono shel Olam that you were born during a time when there is freedom. Follow the ways of the Torah and Yiddishkeit. Baruch Hashem, there is so much Yiddishkeit around. So many yeshivos and so many Bais Yaakovs, the frum kehillah is, ka”h, flourishing.
You live in a generation where you are not missing anything. It is important to know how to appreciate what your parents do for you, and appreciate that we can practice Yiddishkeit in the open.
These survivors’ memoirs are being compiled by Project Witness.