Oral History

Ludmilla Page describes arrival at the Brünnlitz munitions factory

Ludmilla was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Kishinev, Romania. She and her mother, a physician, were living in Poland when the Germans invaded on September 1, 1939. They were taken to Krakow. Ludmilla was forced to live in the Krakow ghetto; her mother was sent to the Warsaw ghetto. Ludmilla worked in a factory at the Plaszow labor camp for a businessman who was a friend of the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. In October 1944, Schindler attempted to save some Jewish workers by relocating them to a munitions factory in Bruennlitz, in the Sudetenland. Ludmilla was among those on Schindler's list to be relocated. She and about 300 other women were detained briefly in Auschwitz before reaching Bruennlitz. There, some of the workers sought to sabotage the production of munitions. Ludmilla was liberated in early May 1945.

Transcript

We saw a building, which was a two-story building. The lower, floor, and then the upper was all, had balconies all through the width of the building, and the door was open, the, the gates, rather, were open, and we marched in. And as we marched in, I saw men in the striped suits, you know, which we, they didn't wear in Plaszow, because in Plaszow one still could wear, their own clothes, you know. But all, everybody was shaven, a group of men standing on the balcony with shaven heads, with the so-called "Lausenpromenade," which means, "Lice Promenade," you know a, a shaved strip of hair, of, uh, of skin, rather, completely shaved. And they were waving to us, and, and crying, and laughing. First they, they thought that we are in a terrible shape because wore those rags, first of all, in which they never saw us before, and before we left Birkenau, they painted us with paint, like red, yellow, whatever, in order so we would not escape during our, journey. And I saw among those men my husband. And, of course, my happiness had no, you know, no limits. And then, but downstairs, we saw a group of SS men, but in the middle of them, Mr. Schindler, with his little Tyrolean hat, with a little feather, you know, and completely ignoring the, the Lagerfuehrer, that means the head of our camp, and all the SS men and woman, he said, "I greet you. Don't worry. Now you going to be well taken care of. There is hot soup waiting for you, and don't worry, you are with me now." So then we proceeded to go to the big, the big halls of the factory itself. And of course, there was hot soup, and a pretty good hot soup, and, we, somehow, subconsciously, we are not afraid anymore. Our living quarters were not ready yet. There were no bunks. Everybody slept on, on straw, but nothing mattered anymore, you know, because we knew that he will not, he will do everything, it was not absolutely sure, but we believed that he will do everything in his power to let, to, to help us survive the war.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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