Oral History

Doriane Kurz describes food rations and conditions in Bergen-Belsen

Doriane's Jewish family fled to Amsterdam in 1940, a year that also saw the German occupation of the Netherlands. Her father perished after deportation to Auschwitz. After their mother was seized, Doriane and her brother hid with gentiles. The three were reunited at Bergen-Belsen, where they were deported via Westerbork. They were liberated during the camp's 1945 evacuation. Doriane's mother died of cancer soon after Doriane helped her recover from typhus. Doriane and her brother immigrated to the United States.




Most of our time during the day, Freddie's and mine, was spent talking about food because there was not very much to eat and we were hungry much of the time, almost all the time. I don't remember that about Westerbork. We must have had enough to eat there, but in Belsen the rations were...the rations were three-quarters of a liter of watery soup made from a variety of turnip, cooked in water. It was very watery. And three and a half centimeters of bread a day and...and there was some kind of an ersatz coffee because I remember there were some people who worked in the kitchen and they would come with those large...I don't know...like milk-can kind of things with a handle, one on each side, and I remember them carrying this heavy thing with both of them leaning sideways carrying that thing. And we all had cups and things that...you had to have your own, and they were also hidden in your bed. Everything was hidden in your bed, your clothes were hidden in your bed, and your...and your eating utensils and whatever you owned had to be in bed including some kind of...a night pot so...people had dysentery and you couldn't run out at night and go to those facilities so you had to have something, and all that was in the bed and the bed was shared with two people and in our case...I guess my brother being a boy, my mother shared her bunk with him and since I was a girl I shared it with another woman.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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