Oral History

Ruth Webber describes the bitterness that she felt after the end of the war when she was in an orphanage in Krakow

Ruth was four years old when the Germans invaded Poland and occupied Ostrowiec. Her family was forced into a ghetto. Germans took over her father's photography business, although he was allowed to continue working outside the ghetto. Before the ghetto was liquidated, Ruth's parents sent her sister into hiding, and managed to get work at a labor camp outside the ghetto. Ruth also went into hiding, either in nearby woods or within the camp itself. When the camp was liquidated, Ruth's parents were split up. Ruth was sent to several concentration camps before eventually being deported to Auschwitz. When Ruth became sick, she was sent to the camp infirmary, managing to escape just before a selection. After the war, Ruth lived in an orphanage in Krakow until she was reunited with her mother.


I was very bitter after the war, towards everybody. How they allowed me to, to be, to go through such misery for so long. And then on top of it I didn't even know for a few months that my mother survived, or my father, which he didn't. And I was terribly angry at everything and everybody. Because nobody even cared after I survived, that I survived. I had to be protected even after that. When we were in the orphanage in Krakow we were not allowed to go out because some people felt that we should not have survived. And it was not safe to go out from our house, from the house we were kept in, and the garden. That was the only place that we were allowed to go. And the war wasn't even over then. It was the spring of '45. So after surviving all this--and my God, the thoughts, the hate that I had, the things that I was going to do to the Germans for doing these things to us. It's awesome for a child to even think about these--you know, I, I'm even afraid to think about them now myself. I was going to be a butcher. The things that I was going to do to revenge. And then, actually, with the help of mother, to try to forget the past, I realized that living a normal life and continue being to be able to, to feel and enjoy, that I was not destroyed.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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