Oral History

Blanka Rothschild describes the role of sharing and friendship in surviving 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

One of my school friend--I went to a private school for girls--one of the girls from my school was in ghetto as well, with her mother. And she became very, very ill, and they wanted to deport her. All of us who were her friends, from our meager portions decided to take a little bit and get it together and bring to her every day. You can't imagine the value of food at those days, to give away. I had a glove, somehow, somewhere, in ghetto, and we were freezing. So the glove was being worn by everybody, and my friend, by my friends. We were sharing the one glove, so one hand for few minutes was getting out of the numbness. I don't know who the glove really belonged to but I was given it, and we shared this glove. And I remember this glove. And when I met one of the girls after the war in England, she said to me, "Blanka, do you remember your glove?" "Yes, I remember the glove."


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  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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