Oral History

Blanka Rothschild describes antisemitic regulations in occupied Lodz, Poland

Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrueck camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck, Blanka and her mother were sent to a subcamp of Sachsenhausen. Blanka was forced to work in an airplane factory (Arado-Werke). Her mother was sent to another camp. Soviet forces liberated Blanka in spring 1945. Blanka, living in abandoned houses, made her way back to Lodz. She discovered that none of her relatives, including her mother, had survived. Blanka then moved westward to Berlin, eventually to a displaced persons camp. She immigrated to the United States in 1947.


The Germans started to issue laws. Curfew was one of the first. We were not permitted on the streets past, I believe, five o'clock, I'm not too sure about the hour. We were required to wear yellow stars with the sign "Jude" identifying us as Jews. The money was frozen in the bank, and, uh, we started to be very frightened. One particular time I was walking on a street, not too far from my home, and I was called by a German officer. He called me, motioning with his hand to come over. My heart was beating wildly. I crossed the street. He asked me to go upstairs to his apartment, and being a young girl, I was just petrified. He asked me to clean the place. He took his gun off, put it on a table, and was sitting on a chair next to it watching me. Well, I didn't know too much about cleaning, but I cleaned very fast, and I did what he asked me to do. And he looked at me, and he said in German, "It is a shame that you are a Jew," and he let me go. This is another of the moments that I will never forget.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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