Oral History

Ludmilla Page recalls arriving in Auschwitz instead of Oskar Schindler's munitions factory in Brünnlitz

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

In, sometime in the beginning of November, my husband and I found out that we were on the list. The men, they, we were very happy, we didn't know what will await us, but we knew that we're going to go to something better than, than anything that we could conceive at the time. The men left a week before the woman did, and, later we found out that they did not go directly to, Bruen...Bruennlitz, they went to Gross-Rosen, which, they stayed there, I think, a few days, and, this was a very, very difficult camp, but they finally arrived in Bruennlitz. The woman, on the other hand, we left a week later, and we were on, in the cattle trains, of course, packed like sardines. And we were going, we didn't know where we going, we assumed we going to go, to Bruennlitz, directly. All of a sudden we landed at this very famous now platform, famed platform at, station in Auschwitz with SS running like mad people, with dogs barking all over. And they started to push us out of trains, and, run us to, to a selection, through a selection process, which was by itself terrible. We had to undress completely. I clutched, in those days I already wore glasses, and I clutched them in my hand because I knew if I don't have glasses, I wouldn't be able to do any work. I wouldn't be able to, to see very well. So I clutch, and thank God no one ever, discovered. Some woman had their heads shaven. I didn't, just cut short, so I don't know how they did it, probably, you know, just picked certain, certain people. Then, and of course the Germans were making, laughing and making, you know, dirty jokes, and it was just terrible. We were completely not prepared for this because we thought we going to Mr. Schindler, you know, to his camp.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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