Oral History

Hana Mueller Bruml describes preparations for a Red Cross visit to Theresienstadt

In 1942, Hana was confined with other Jews to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she worked as a nurse. There, amid epidemics and poverty, residents held operas, debates, and poetry readings. In 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. After a month there, she was sent to Sackisch, a Gross-Rosen subcamp, where she made airplane parts at forced labor. She was liberated in May 1945.


Then there was...uh...the comedy, organized and directed by Germans, where one day we were supposed to get the visit by the Red Cross. The houses were painted on the outside, where the inspection was going to take place. We got better food for a week. The children were told if that somebody come to interview them...uh...Seidl was the SS man there, the head, and they were supposed to say...they were supposed to get a box of sardines and say, "Uncle Seidl, Uncle Seidl, Sardinen schon wieder [Sardines again!]." That became the joke. "Uncle Seidl." Calling him "Uncle Seidl." "Schon [again] -- again we are getting sardines." Of course, we never ate or saw sardines. But here they was giving them and showing, we are getting it again, you know. It became such a joke. We did get the coffeehouse at the end where this concert, where you could see...uh...we used to call about the coffee, what you, how you make the coffee is you take one coffee bean, put it on a string and wave it over hot water. Uh...the miracle was that the water was somehow blackish. It was chicory, mainly. And...uh...it was warm.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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