Oral History

Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes antisemitic remarks made as she was forced to march into the Graeben camp

Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in Sosnowiec. Her father owned a knitting factory. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, they took over the factory. The family's furniture was given to a German woman. Bella was forced to work in a factory in the Sosnowiec ghetto in 1941. At the end of 1942 the family was deported to the Bedzin ghetto. Bella was deported to the Graeben subcamp of Gross-Rosen in 1943 and to Bergen-Belsen in 1944. She was liberated in April 1945.


I was sent to a, a factory. They were making... they were making thread out of flax. It was, I am sure, for uniforms or clothing. I remember a few things. I remember being walked down the street when we were...we were put on wagons and sent into Germany and then we had to walk through a little town to Graeben where the camp was, and we were of course walking on the street, never on the sidewalks. And the Germans were lining the streets watching us, and what I do remember is that they were surprised. We were still...we had come out of our homes so we were still wearing our clothing, we were not in prison garb, and we were picked for good looks, if you will, good teeth, a certain amount of strength, you know, and some of us were very good-looking girls and women. I was, and we were ranging...I was at that point sixteen, some of us were seventeen, eighteen. There were some women in their very early twenties, and some were really very pretty. And one of the things I remember was the astonishment. They were...the Germans were standing on the sidewalks and they were saying, "These are Jewish women? They're so pretty. They look so...so normal."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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