Oral History

Cecilie Klein-Pollack describes survival with her sister in Auschwitz

Cecilie was the youngest of six children born to a religious, middle-class Jewish family. In 1939, Hungary occupied Cecilie's area of Czechoslovakia. Members of her family were imprisoned. The Germans occupied Hungary in 1944. Cecilie and her family had to move into a ghetto in Huszt and were later deported to Auschwitz. Cecilie and her sister were chosen for forced labor; the rest of her family was gassed upon arrival. Cecilie was transferred to several other camps, where she labored in factories. Allied forces liberated her in 1945. After the war she was reunited with and married her fiance.


We were called the two good sisters because we could not, we wouldn't, because it came to a point where even sisters would take away each other's food. And with us it was that we would fight only that the next one should take a bite more, or she should have more. She would, she would cry why I didn't eat up my, my bread because I was, I was afraid after we didn't eat like for three days and we had that experience, so I was trying to save up a piece of bread in case we are not going to have the next day. And then if there was, if there was that day a search. So, they were not allowed to find, if they would find the bread, they would take it away and they would still beat me up. So, I would beg my sister to help me eat, help me, they're going to, to beat me up if they find bread, so she would cry why she has to, that she is eating my bread, and I will have that much less and, and, and I may, uh, you know, die sooner or I won't survive or I'll get sick. Yes, we could only--and it was, everybody had to have somebody and if you, if you didn't then you didn't survive, no matter how strong you were. Unless you had some kind of a choice, uh, uh, position like, uh, Blockaelteste [block elder] or, uh, or, uh, Stubendienst [housekeeping] or, uh, Kapo, then you could survive.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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