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 I studied at a Jewish religious school. Although my parents didn't know it, I attended meetings of the Bund, the Jewish Socialist party. My older brothers and I 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 us out of our home; that same day the Germans seized me and my sister, Esther, and with other young Jewish girls, we were forced to walk to a labor camp at Skarszysko Kamienna. There I worked 12-hour shifts--some all day, some all night--in a munitions factory producing shells. For this grueling day's work we received one slice of bread, a bowl of soup, and some ersatz coffee. My sister and I didn't drink the coffee; we used it to wash our 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.