Oral History

Blanka Rothschild describes deportations from the Lodz ghetto

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.

Transcript

When we walked through the ghetto to work after the entire ghetto was empty, it was a very weird feeling. Empty streets, open windows, flowing curtains blowing with the wind. No people. Once we thought that we saw a glimmer of somebody in the window, or a candle or something and, of course, we averted our eyes not to give away to the German escorts that somebody was there. In November of 1944 came our time, we had to be taken out. The entire population of our hospital was walked to the place where the cattle cars were, and we were loaded. It was a horrible thing because people had to stand. There was no place to sit or squat. If somebody was sick or even dying, he died on his feet standing up. It was just unbearable. Water was the worst...the lack of water, the thirst was the worst.


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  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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