Oral History

Blanka Rothschild describes forced labor in the Ravensbrück camp

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.


It was done not by SS, but it was done by the German supervisor in my factory where I worked, Arado, the airplane factory. I was very sick at the time. I had fever, my finger. I couldn't perform the work. He didn't know that I was sabotaging all along, but the beating was about my inability to perform my work. He threw me down. He wore high boots, and he start, started to stomp on me. They didn't have guns, the Meisters. He was stomping on me breaking my ribs. It was horrible. I had a fever anyway because my finger was infected. And the two girls that worked in the same division, the same horrible place, helped me back after our work and that's when I went to that place where the sick people were. And they said, "Don't say a word because in a few days we will be liberated." We knew the fire was--we were liberated April 20-something when the Russians reached Wittenberg and displaced the people from the camps. They had no time to kill us. They went, the, the plan was to kill us, but they just plainly didn't have time, and, uh, I survived.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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