Oral History

Dorotka (Dora) Goldstein Roth describes conditions in the Vilna ghetto

After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Dora's family fled to Vilna, Lithuania. When the Germans occupied Vilna, Dora's father was shot and the rest of the family was confined in the Vilna ghetto. Dora, her sister, and her mother were deported to the Kaiserwald camp in Latvia and then to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig. Her mother and sister perished in Stutthof. Dora herself was shot immediately before liberation, but she survived.


You know in the ghetto there were schools for children. What we did--we didn't learn much in the schools, we were...we learned how to sing. I know all the Yiddish songs from the Vilna ghetto. I sang them. I have a record with all those songs. I have done it in London. So I knew all the songs. But you have to understand that the Jewish children did not have the right to live, so a few times in the week they came to...to take out the children, so the schools had bunkers, and we were given brown paper and pencils to...to keep quiet. So, if you can call it a school--I wouldn't call it--but it, it was a place were they, the children came, and every day less and less children came, because the children were taken out of the ghetto and put in...and killed. So less and less children were in those classrooms, if you call them classrooms. But I was lucky, and I stayed until the end, and, during some days, my mother did not send me because we had to eat and there was...and horse meat was very expensive. There was no other meat. So, she would send me to sell cigarettes and matches on the street. And as I was a good looking child, people had pity on me, so they bought.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
View Archival Details

This content is available in the following languages

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.