Oral History

Judith Meisel describes arrival at the Stutthof camp

Upon her father's death, Judith and her family moved to Kovno. Soon, they were confined to the ghetto, which the Germans formed in 1941. Judith, her mother and sister were deported to Stutthof, where her mother died. Judith and her sister escaped from a death march out of Stutthof. They posed as non-Jews, found farm work and eventual refuge in Denmark. Their brother survived Dachau.


I remember when I arrived in Stutthof, the most horrible thing I saw is nothing but shoes and shoes and eyeglasses and shoes. It was just a huge heap of shoes, and I remember asking my mother, "What's that?" and she said, "Frage nicht 'ne Frages" [Don't ask questions]. I can remember that in Yiddish: "Don't ask questions. Why are you asking so many questions? I don't know." And, uh, we, again, had to stand in Appell [roll call], and I remember one woman, very heavyset woman, sort of her hair I can remember back in like, in a roll, and she was walking around with a big, um, oh, how do you say?...whip, 'konuiszck,' a whip, and she was just hitting, um, walking around and she said, "No one comes out alive here. You're all to be doomed." And, um, and she also said it in Polish and also in Russian, and, uh, so we could understand and, because we, a lot of us knew Russian. And, uh, then we were taken into a place, and they examined us. I can remember a hand going into my vagina and just pulling, and what we found out they were looking for gold and that, and I could...I'll never forget this woman, like two before that, had her teeth just pulled out and blood was gushing out of her mouth, and she was taken out her gold teeth. And, uh, and I can remember getting a shot, and what the shot was for I don't know. Um...later on, later on I found out, uh, that, uh, you know, when you begin to question why, and that is so we wouldn't have our period.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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