Oral History

Guta Blass Weintraub describes Starachowice ghetto cultural life

Guta and her family fled to Starachowice, Poland. There, the Germans ordered them and other Jews into a ghetto and put them to work in forced-labor factories. As an act of resistance at the Majowka camp, Guta attacked a Nazi guard preparing to shoot her and other prisoners at a mass grave. A bullet grazed her, but Guta pretended to be fatally wounded. Days later, Guta was deported to Auschwitz, then Ravensbrueck, where she was liberated. Her mother died only weeks short of freedom.


The ghetto was still...uh...not terrible, by comparison to...to a work camp or a concentration camp. In other words, we were still sort of free, but we have to abide by the rules of the Germans and...but we were moving around freely in the area of our confinement; and...um...we were still together, which was the most important thing, my parents and my brother and I. And we...our lives were still sort of normal because...uh...we were able to get together with friends, with relatives, and amazing thing that all through our confinements in the ghetto or in a work camp or even in concentration camp...uh...is the fact that...uh...we were...the Jewish population always had a sense of...of wanting to...to learn...of wanting...of, you know, wanting to have knowledge, so we did not stop. So, in...in the...uh...ghetto, uh, we were--like for example, I continued...I was teaching young children in kindergarten. Someone else, who had a little higher education than I, was teaching me. Of course, we all had to pay. And I remember I...I was taking algebra and...uh...continued with my German, although I spoke German well, but I...I needed to improve it, in...in writing and so on. And we were--I even took Latin. I took French, and...uh...we...uh...were able to, to get together and sing Hebrew songs and--so it was important because we were still together.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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