Feige Schwarzfink

Feige Schwarzfink

Born: May 8, 1925

Szydlowiec, Poland

Feige was born to a religious Jewish family in the small village of Szydlowiec [in Poland]. She lived with her parents, six brothers and sisters, and elderly grandparents in a small house which, like many homes in the village, had no running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. Feige's father was a shoemaker.

1933-39: In the afternoons after public school Feige studied at a Jewish religious school. Although her parents didn't know it, she attended meetings of the Bund, the Jewish Socialist party. Feige and her older brothers liked going to the Bund because of the nice people who belonged, rather than for the Bund's political activities. On September 1, 1939, the Germans invaded Poland and by September 9 they reached Szydlowiec. The Germans put the village under a 6 p.m. curfew and closed the schools.

1940-44: In November 1942 the Germans chased Feige's family out of their home; that same day the Germans seized Feige and her sister, Esther, and with other young Jewish girls, they were forced to walk to a labor camp at Skarszysko Kamienna. There she worked 12-hour shifts--some all day, some all night--in a munitions factory producing shells. For this grueling day's work they received one slice of bread, a bowl of soup, and some ersatz coffee. Feiga and her sister didn't drink the coffee; they used it to wash their hair, which was always dirty and lice-infested.

Feige was sent to another labor camp and three concentration camps before being liberated on April 30, 1945, by the American army. She immigrated to the United States in 1949.

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