Oral History

Ruth Moser Borsos describes forced-labor assignments in Westerbork

Ruth moved to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass") in 1938. She and her father had permits to sail to the United States, but Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and they could not leave. Ruth was deported to the Westerbork camp in 1943 and to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany in 1944. After an exchange agreement with the Allies broke down, Ruth was interned near the Swiss border until liberation by French forces in 1945.


In the camp we were put to work, real silly work. We had to carry sand from one place to the other. It didn't make sense, but we had to do it, and as time went by they organized us into a variety of tasks, what we had to do. Well, I was really delegated to a place where we were sewing clothing, again sewing clothing, for...I'm not quite sure for whom it was. That was the whole day. Sometimes we would...I worked at a Dutch, but this was a Nazi, a Dutch Nazi farmer's farm. He had us clean out the pig sties. He had us work around his farm, clean up certain things. He had us work in the potato fields, or whatever so that he didn't have so much...we were slaves to him. He profited from from the camp being so nearby and from being a Nazi and collaborating with the Germans. And as a reward he would sit us with the chickens in the yard and give us a watery soup. That was the meal for the day.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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