Você está na página 1de 15

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

Page #

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

Luna Kaufman
Luna Kaufman was 12 years old when the holocaust started. She only got
to the sixth grade when they closed the schools in the beginning of the
war. She survived several different concentration camps and had her
mother there with her almost the whole time. Luna lost both her father
and sister in the Holocaust.
My name is Luna Kaufman and my maiden name was Fuss. I live presently in New Jersey. I was
born in Krakow, Poland in 1926, on November 28. I was born in a family consisting of my father
Marwick Fust, my mother Maria Fuss, and a sister that was a year older than me and her name was
Nusia Fuss.I lived in Krakow for up to the beginning of the war. At the start of the war, I was 12
years old, we were resettled to different places including several concentration camps. When the
war was over I survived with my mother but my sister and my father did not survive. When the war
broke out it was very unexpected in the sense that the occupation of Europe had taken place. And
then Germany entered Slovakia and we somehow never thought that the war would come to us.
One morning on September 1st in 1939, my father was standing by the window and he called us
up and said, Children look at that, the military maneuvers are so natural that theres a plane coming down in flames over the airport, which we could see from our windows. It looked so real that
we did not realize that this was a German plane that was really shot down. That was the beginning
of the war. It took the Nazis three days to come from the border to Krakow. The fear of the occupation was tremendous and everybody was very upset. Banks were closed and the food supply
stopped. As you can imagine there was pandemonium. My father kept on saying that the Germans
were so called jerks and theyre liberal towards Jews. My father said that this is all just a panic and
to not worry. He went downstairs and all of a sudden we heard him coming up with a German soldier and we were all terrified. My father said, Look, this is the man who I served for in the army
during the first war and hes in the occupying forces, so how bad can they be? He was my friend
and he still is.
So we didnt take it as seriously as we did in the beginning of the war, especially as a twelve
year old because I did not quite comprehend what might be coming. But it didnt take very long.
The schools were closed right away and school was just about to start, but we never entered school
that year. All the banks were completely closed so we could not get our money out. It was the
money that my sister and I had saved up for our bicycles, which we never got as a result. All this
was something that we thought, that as long as we could last through the cruelty of the war, it
would be all right. But each time a new order, a new curfew and a new limitation of activities came,
we thought that if we agreed to this they would leave us alone and we would be able to live. It just
2012 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

h ere , n ame

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

so happened to be that it never ended. If one step was taken; for example, the freezing of the
money; then they would only let the Jews shop in stores that were marked for only the Jews. The
problem was that those stores did not have proper supplies. They had very limited supplies and
the lines were tremendously long and it was very difficult to obtain any food. Dont forget there
were no refrigerators where you could stack up perishables for who knows how long, so we always
bought it every day as we needed it. We really felt
the limitations very badly. But the real trouble
started when they came to town. It was not even a
year after the war ended when they entered our
apartment and said we have to leave the city
because no Jew can live within the city limits. They
told us we would have to live in what you would
call today a suburb, but it really wasnt a suburb
because wherever the street ended there was a
completely different world of villages. There was
limited communication and we were not permitted to enter the city limits anymore. We lived like
that for a short period of time. It was very difficult because we had to move into some peasants
house with only one room for the entire family and with no indoor plumbing or hot water. As a
matter a fact, we had to get our water from a well outside. But we thought, all right we can live
here and last because the war will eventually end.
As it happens the next order came and they said that they are going to form a ghetto in
Krakow. A ghetto was a limited area where all the Jews had to live in very crowded spaces. We
lived in an apartment with four members of the family and we only had two rooms at our disposal
and a tiny little kitchen, but actually there was just a cold stove in the kitchen. In a sense, we kind
of welcomed going to the ghetto because when we lived in the suburbs outside of Krakow we were
totally cut off from any communication. We had no phones, no newspapers, and radio was also
illegal, so we didnt know what was going on. When we came to the ghetto we felt that we were all
together and that at least we could communicate and we knew what was going on. Also we were a
part of a very large family who had lived in Krakow since the 17th century, as far as I know, but I
understand it was even longer than that but I dont have the documentation. When they told us to
leave the city everybody went in different directions and we totally lost contact. When they formed
the ghetto everybody was herded back in so we again were in contact with the rest of the family.
But living in the ghetto was very difficult. The food ration was very limited and the living space
was limited. But, there was only one thing that we had to do and that was that we had to work. It
didnt matter where or how because in the winter they would grab us in the street and we would
shovel the snow. Whatever the work was we had to do it. I was fortunate enough to get a job in the
brush factory and we were paid for it. For a weeks work, I got enough money to buy a loaf of

...there with only one room


for the entire family and it
had no inner plumbing, or hot
water.

here, name

2012 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

bread but I had steady employment that protected me from being caught on the street. My father
and my sister were shipped out of the ghetto to build some barracks under the auspices of
Schindler at the time. I stayed in the ghetto with my mother. They were not permitted to come
back to the ghetto. Thats the last time I saw them; when they left the ghetto to go work.
One afternoon they came and they said that we all have to take one valise and throw it into
the couchette. They shipped us out to Plaszow
which was a concentration camp depicted in
Schindlers List. We went with my mother and the
requirement for being able to enter the concentration camp- when you think about it, its ludicrous
that entering the concentration camp was the big
prize-was to have working papers. Unless you had
working papers you were right away shipped to
camps and many of them were extermination
camps. Luckily, shortly before that happened we
were able to get employment for my mother in the
same brush factory where I was working. This gave
us the chance of being together. She had the papers in order and everything was okay. On the way
to the camp, we were marching, thousands of us, about a two-three mile walk. I dont remember
exactly the distance but my mother all of a sudden looks and she said Oh my god I lost my pocketbook and all my working papers, which means that she couldnt enter the camp and that meant
a death sentence at that point. So we started drifting back and walking very slowly as all the people
were going forward. All of a sudden I hear a voice yelling, Mrs. Fuss, Mrs. Fuss! A friend of mine
found the pocketbook, looked inside and saw my mothers papers and realizing how valuable they
were to her, she decided to call out the name. In all those thousands of people, its absolutely
inconceivable that this would make any sense, but obviously in this case it did, and that permitted
my mother to get into the camp. As a matter a fact, this girl now lives two blocks away from me
and we are still in contact. Strangely enough she doesnt remember that she did it because it was
such a panic and we were in such distress that people didnt remember these things. So we walked
together with my mother and as I said I was fortunate enough to work with her on the same shift,
at the same time and that was a blessing.
A time came when they told us they were shipping us out of the camp and they sending us
to another camp. Nobody believed it because this has never been done. We all believed that these
selections as you would you call it, happen very often. There were people who were taken every
day. They would come and take a few people, they would always go to the shooting range and they
would be killed. This time they said no, they were shipping us out. As I said, we didnt believe it
but I saw them taking my mother. At that point I took off my good shoes gave them to my girl-

unless you had working


papers you were right away
shipped to camps and many
of them were extermination
camps.

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

friend and I took off my coat. It was November and it was very cold and miserable outside but I
said you know my coat was really good and I didnt want to have it sent to Germany for some
child, so I just decided to leave it with my friend who had no coat. I said I want to join the group
that is being taken away, whatever happens let it happen together to us. The policeman that was
guarding the group that they selected was trying to convince me not to go voluntarily but I said no,
shes going and Im going and thats what saved my
life in the long run.
They did ship us to a factory in Skarzysko
which was right across from Warsaw and we were
working over there at the ammunition factory. The
work was very hard. I particularly was assigned to
work with aspartic acid. Aspartic acid is a very poisonous substance that they were building underwater mines from. Thats what I believe, I dont
know, I couldnt document it but thats what we
were told. The problem with the aspartic acid was that it was very poisonous and right away our
skin turned to yellow and our hair turned red. Nobody was really able to work more than a month
or two because your lungs were right away attacked and thats what happened to me. Eventually I
started spitting blood and I wound up in the hospital. Prior to that we went through a wave of
typhus in the camp. There was really no hospital, no medicine, no nothing, it was just a barrack
where all the sick people were laying and nobody really cared. There was nobody to care for us but
because my mother was all right she would bring me food and as soon as I got better and she got
sick I was able to bring her food. Thats how it saved our lives. I also had with me another friend
who was in the entire war with me and she also lives right now in New Jersey very close to me. She
joined our group because she was alone in the camp. We took turns during the typhoid, taking
care of each other as the time went on. Eventually I would be spitting blood and very sick with the
typhoid and they put me into a hospital, what they called a hospital. It was just a barrack with
bunk beds and each bunk bed containing two women. When the time came that I got a little better, the doctor was there but he didnt even have a thermometer. They didnt know anything. They
also watched how we were progressing and if I was in good shape I would have been allowed to go
back to work. But if I would have gone to work there was something so contaminated at work that
it would have poisoned me all over again. So they kept me a little longer. Fortunately they kept me
long enough where they were already evacuating our camp.
Our camp was near Warsaw and for weeks we saw the flames in Warsaw where the Russian
army was coming, in hoping that that will be our liberation. But somehow the flames never moved,
they never progressed. They had enough time to ship us out to Germany and what happened then
when they were shipping us to Germany is they decided that they were not going to take the sick

i want to join the group


that is being taken away. i
say whatever happens, let it
happen to us together.

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

people, so to eliminate everybody from the hospital, they killed everybody. There was an assistant
commandment of the camp that knew me and he knew I was in the hospital. As cruel and as horrible as he was, he came running through the hospital and threw me and a friend of mine who was
sharing a bed with me out through the back door in our nightgowns. He said you best be on your
way which we did and the following day they took all our children.
They took us to Germany and this was really my lifesaver because I would have gone back to
the plant. As I told you, I would not have survived
the plant. We came to Germany. The trip took forever, we were in cattle cars and nobody knew
where we were going or what was going on. We
wound up in a place that was amazing to us
because for the first time in three years we wound
up sleeping in brick barracks where the wind wasnt howling through the holes and we were working in a clean environment where it was metal so
there were no toxins in it. But when we got there it
so happened that they did not have our prison dresses. They took away our regular clothes that we
were wearing before and they were assigning us prison dresses, the striped dresses. The dresses
didnt arrive in time so we had to stay there not working in fairly warm surroundings of the brick
barracks, just resting. That really put me on my feet. Strangely enough I dont know how this came
about but this camp was not only Jewish women but there were Russian women too. The Russians
were prisoners and there were Polish women and there were French women. Each one had its own
room, a room containing 300 people. Still we were kind of separated from each other and the
Russian women, being soldier,s they had a little more rights than we did. We could not rebel. They
could afford to rebel, to say we arent going to go work on a mission against our brothers. After all
different persecutions that they suffered, they eventually were allowed to run the kitchen. I never
heard of any other camp that would have milk soup. Where they got the milk and what kind of
milk it was Ill never know but for my sick lungs that was the best remedy that could ever happen
and slowly I recovered. I was working then with the metal and as I said this was not a contaminated area so I recovered my strength. The food, obviously we only got one soup a day, but still we
got a soup and the soups were rather substantial in comparison to any other camp that we were at
before. We worked there until the very end of the war.
At the end of the war we could see the American planes flying over our heads. We were so
thrilled and naively not realizing that the bombs fly and they dont have an address. Whenever we
saw the planes coming we would wave hands and shout but every time there was an air raid they
would make us leave our beds leave our rooms and go to a it was a not really a shelter, it was a

...they decided that they


were not going to take the
sick people, so to eliminate
everybody from the hospital,
they killed everybody.

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

basement without windows. I decided that its a friendly place, theyre not going to do us any
harm. But how would they know that we were in those barracks when theres nobody there? One
day they were telling us to leave the beds and I said Im not going but then my supervisor in the
barracks made me leave. I didnt reach the door to exit when a bomb fell on my bed and if I had
stayed another five minutes I wouldnt be here today. That was not yet the end of our problem. In
order to protect themselves, the German guards
decided to take us walking. When the war was
over, we found out that we were just walking in circles because they knew very well that if they didnt
have the duty to guard us they would take them to
the front line, so that was their security blanket. In
the meantime they made us march for a month or
more without food, without any vests. It was just
horrendous.
When the war ended, they decided that the
last night we would separate. Actually we didnt know the war had ended but it was coming to an
end. They separated us into groups of 300 and put us into the hands of the German farmers. We
woke up in the morning and looked out the door and we see a pile of German uniforms. They had
left us there and had gone. There was no food there was nothing but the foreman of the farm. He
came in and found us in the barn and he said look, I have a pile of potatoes stacked that we saved
for the winter. Assign a few women and we will make a potato soup out of it. The potato soup
meant water and potatoes because there was nothing else, he didnt have anything else and there
was no salt. It tasted heavenly because that was the first food that we had received after all those
weeks. Otherwise, we would eat the wheat on the side of the road. It was the end of April so
already things were blooming a little. We stayed there for about two or three days. All of a sudden,
two Russian guys came on a motorcycle. One of them was injured and the other one was all right.
They came to the mayor of that little town and they said look we are coming back tomorrow and
you have to send those women to be in private homes, or if not we are going to shoot you. So they
divided us into groups of four, five, six and sent us to private farmers to live in their houses. The
farmers treated us very decently and for the first time I was sleeping on a regular bed. As a matter
a fact, we couldnt sleep on the bed, we had to sleep on the floor because we were not used to soft
mattress. There were straw mattresses over there on the farm but still it was more than we ever
had and we stayed there for a few days. Then we found out that the war was really over and you
cannot imagine our joy. After we found out that the war was over we decided that we have to go
back home because the occupying forces, the Russian soldiers, were not inclined to treat the
guests well, so we decided to go back home. It took us a whole week on the train to get back to
Poland, to Krakow, because being from Krakow for so many generations we knew that if anyone

...at the end of the war we


could see the american
planes flying over our heads.
We were so thrilled...

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

had survived they would come to our house and look for us. Thats how we finally wound up right
after the war, but then our life started all over again and thats where we were.
When did you end up coming to America?
Coming to America was a long process. I stayed first in Poland from 1945 to 1949 and I managed
to graduate from college. I think Im one of the few
people that never went to high school. I finished
sixth grade when the war broke out and then right
after coming home to Poland my mother insisted
that I enroll in some kind of education. I enrolled
at the university and they gave us one year to make
a high school equivalency diploma which I did. In
1949, I graduated from the university with a degree
in musicology. At that time there was an Iron
Curtain, so you couldnt get out of Poland. This
was the Communists. But when Israel was created
they let some people escape to Israel. We had to give up all our papers, all our passports, everything, and they loaded us into sealed trains and they shipped us to Italy where we boarded the
boat and went to Israel. I had met a young man right after the war when we were in college but he
escaped to the green border, which I didnt want to do because my mother was sick at the time.
This was not something that we could handle so we wound up in Israel. He in the meantime, graduated and went to America and the moment I got to Israel he came to Israel and we got married.
As a wife of an American, he was not a citizen he only had a green card, but as his wife I was permitted to come to the States. It took another year til my papers cleared, but I was able to come
here legally and I came to America in 1952.

it tasted heavenly because


that was the first food that
we had received after all
those weeks...

When you were transported to Germany was that before, after or during Kristallnacht?
Oh no, Kristallnacht was before the war. Kristallnacht was in 1935 and the war broke out in 1939.
Do you know how your parents or family died, how did you get separated from them?
My father and sister were taken to work at a different place. As a matter of fact this week I received
a letter from the Red Cross because I have inquired and I heard the stories about my father being
shipped to Auschwitz in 1943 and that he was cremated. Somebody told me, a friend of ours who
was with him. I didnt find it out until some months after the war ended. They say that they have
no documentation in the Red Cross telling where people went, but I got a reply from them just a
few years since I applied for it and all of a sudden last week I got a phone call from the Red Cross.
They said they got a reply from Poland, but they dont understand because its in Polish. As you
can imagine, I can understand it. It showed that they traced my father as far as being shipped out
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

of Plaszow but they never found out exactly where he died and they have no documentation. As far
as I know in May of 1943 my father was shipped to Auschwitz and executed. Thats the best that I
can tell. My sister on the other hand was shipped to another camp called Stutthof, which was one
of the cruelest camps. It was on the shore of Baltic Sea in German territory. It took me a few years
after the war til I found out. In April of 1945, just before the war ended, a shipment of women
came from Auschwitz through other camps and
they told me that my sister was fine and alive and
my cousin from Belgium was in Auschwitz working
in the kitchen and was helping her with food. Yet,
when the war was over there was no sign of her.
Then a few years later in New Jersey I came across
a women who was with my sister in the camp and
told me that the entire camp in which they were in
Stutthof was put on ships and sunk at sea. Some of the women were rescued by Swedish boats
and were taken to Sweden to recover; however, my sister was among those who couldnt be rescued.

i was able to come here


legally and i came to
america in 1952.

When did you first notice that the Jewish people were in danger?
We knew that the Nazis were hunting the Jews because of Kristallnacht, but we never believed that
it would happen to us. Yet they came and started persecuting us, catching people on the streets
taking them right to clean the barracks or to sweep the streets, taking away our rights to go to
school, and our rights to shop in any stores. We knew the moment the war broke out that they
would not treat us well, but we never expected mass murder.
When you were in any of the camps, did you have a number?
I did not have a number tattooed, but we were assigned numbers when we got to Germany. They
assigned everyone prison dresses that had a number on it. And strangely enough, I was liberated
wearing that dress. In the camp, I made sure that my number was legible. I pulled it out from my
mattress and I embroidered my number on it, 648. When we finally were liberated, the Russians
gave us some clothes that they took from the Germans. I was already in civilian clothes. I told them
that I wasnt going to leave this dress behind; I wanted to take it with me. I took it to Poland, and
when we left Poland for Israel we were allowed to take only seven dresses. When I came to customs they counted this as one dress. Can you imagine leaving and only being allowed to take seven
dresses? Even though you couldnt buy a dress in Israel, for it was right after the War of
Independence. I didnt care; I would get more clothes. This dress was a symbol for me to remember the war. I just published a book called Lunas Life, and on the cover there is a picture of my
dress with the number on it. Im very happy I kept the dress; it really means a lot to me.
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

Do you think people living outside the camps knew what was going on inside the camps?
I do believe that they mustve known. First of all, when they were burning the bodies the stench
was undeniable and it went all over. The newspapers that the Germans were producing said point
blank that they were going to kill all the Jews. When we arrived in Laxer there was a little old man,
an engineer, who I was working for who comes to me and he says I dont know why you are in
prison, because you are too young to be a prostitute and I dont think you are a smuggler, so why
would they imprison you? I dont know whether
he played a game or if he really didnt know we
were Jews because he lived in obscurity. Who
knows? They knew very well; I think that people all
over the world refused to believe it or didnt want
to get involved. For example: there was a young
Polish man involved with the Polish Underground
who they smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to see
firsthand what was going on. Then they sent him
out to the foreign leaders of America and France to
tell them to seek some help for us. He met a deaf ear no matter where he went. I think its a lesson that you dont turn your back on anyone or anything. It is very important. Thats why I am
working very hard now at the Seton Hall University, which is one of the four Catholic universities.
There was a nun at the university named Sister Rose Thering who had to work tremendously on
developing rapport with the Jewish community. She passed away in 1926 and I took over her position. I find it very rewarding how well we wor together and how we understand each other. The
only way we can have equality is we are just working together as one united group. If we are intercepting each others life and supportive and not let anyone do what the Nazis did. There is no such
thing as an innocent bystander, I think you cannot be a bystander. You have to be an activist when
you see someone in trouble.

We knew that the nazis


were hunting the Jews
because of Kristallnacht, but
we never believed that it
would happen to us.

When your mom said she dropped her pocketbook, what was going through your head at that moment?
We were terrified because we knew if she didn't find her pocketbook that was the end of her.
They would bring people day by day to a hill and they would bring them there, shoot them. That
was the fate of people that didnt have documents. We were mortified if anything happened to her.
If she wouldnt have been able to enter the camp that would have been horrible.
How grateful were you when you found out that your mothers pocketbook was found?
You can imagine how grateful I was. I was absolutely elated. It was a mixed feeling because on one
hand, my mother was safe, on the other hand we didnt know what the fate was of my father and
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

my sister. It was a very large part of my family. As a matter of fact, I had two cousins that had just
had babies and they came running to my mother just before the liquidation of the ghetto and they
said what should we do? We cant give up the children and you couldnt protest too much because
if you protested too much, the children would be tortured. It was a horrible, horrible thing. Then
they decided to go together with the children, I can only imagine what happened, but we didnt
have any witnesses as to how it happened. We
know that they perished that day at the liquidation
of the ghetto because they didnt give up their children.
Did you ever fight with your family and if so, do you
regret it now?

There is no such thing as


an innocent bystander... you
have to be activist when you
see someone in trouble.

I regret it because I was the youngest and I was a


little rambunctious. My sister was really a lady. She
was exactly a year older than me. I regret that
sometimes I wasnt so nice, I was a little pest. I wish I wasnt, but we loved each other very much
and I think she knew that anyway. You know you always have things you regret in your life. You
always think you could do better.
What were the conditions and quality of your life in the ghetto?
First of all, I was working. In the ghetto the workday was 10 hours. We could get some food. In
the ghetto, we were not eating in a common kitchen; we had to cook our own food and supply our
own food. The conditions were very hard because of living with another family. They were so
totally different than us. They were very religious and very intolerant of anything that we were
doing, so it was a difficult kind of life.
When you got to the concentration camps, were you ever dehumanized when you arrived, like shaving of
your head?
First of all, you cannot dehumanize someone unless they let you. I never let them have the upper
hand and I never had my head shaved. When they took our dresses away, and gave us our prison
dresses, they obviously did not fit right and they were not the most attractive. I right away somehow made a needle from a wire and put up a hem on the dress. I got a piece of belt from the
machines and made a belt. And yet, in Skarzysko we were given little rugs for cleaning the
machines and every time I found a nice piece of fabric, I made a scarf and wore a scarf with my
dress. I always looked neat because if I let myself go, if my hair was a mess; I would have a very
bad self image. They would not dehumanize me; I would dehumanize me. A lot of women were
very depressed and did not take care of themselves. They looked horrible. As a matter of fact,
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

thats what caused me going to such a contaminated factory because I always looked so neat. A
commandant of the camp stopped me one day and said you look too good; you have it too good in
here. You are going to go to a different, harder job. That was my unfortunate rebellion against
them and I just could not give in and let them dehumanize me. I never felt inferior. I always felt it
was their fault for treating people like this, not mine.
What happened to non-Jewish prisoners like political
prisoners or gypsies?

you can imagine how


grateful i was. i was
absolutely elated.

The one difference was that the prisoners that


were Non-Jewish were that they were not automatically sent to the shooting ranges or crematoria. If
they were executed there would be a mock trial.
Some of them were released. The main part was
that when the war was over, they had families and
homes to come home to and we had nothing. As a matter of fact our apartment that we gave to a
family, which was evacuated from western Poland, when we came back and said the apartment
belonged to us and was built by my grandfather, they said no we are living and we are not going to
live with strangers. It was very peculiar.
Did you ever meet anyone at the concentration camps that you will never forget?
Oh, I have lots of friends from concentration camps. As a matter of fact, there was also one woman
who was a bunkmate of mine who was with me when we were saved before we were sent to
Germany, who wound up in Israel as a very serious historian and educator. She wrote two books,
Grenades and Death Comes In Yellow. She is writing about an SS woman. For the most part they
were very cruel and terrible people. This woman was very nice. She had to hide that she was nice
to me because she wouldve been punished herself. She always gave me extra soup and helped out.
I wish I would have known who she was because she really behaved very nicely but also dont forget that this camp was the last camp before liberation. The Russian and American armies were
closing in on Germany, trying to liberate us, and we dont know whether the guards in the camp
were so nice to us because they knew the liberation was coming and they had to be accountable
for all they did, or whether they were nice all along I dont know. The commandant of the camp
was even very nice. Once we got to Germany and worked in the ammunition factory with the
metal, they were no longer shooting or killing us. I suspected one of the reasons was that they had
to pay for each one of us. We suspected that we were a good work system for them. They had us
for nothing.
While you were in the concentration camp, did you ever pray to God or practice the Jewish faith?
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

Not really, you know I cant say that I did. This didnt even enter anybodys mind. I followed the
Passover holiday though. We were getting one slice of bread and a bowl of soup each day. I decided as a symbol I am not going to eat bread that week, which didnt make sense considering the
starvation diet we were on. It was so little that it didnt really matter. This is a holiday where you
are supposed to fast. I always fasted on all of the holidays. That is the only thing that linked me to
the Jewish tradition.
Did you have a special skill that helped you to survive?
I think that the only thing that I had was having
my mother with me. It was a spiritual support that
I couldnt have dreamt any other way. I had to
watch out for her because how would I face my
father when the war was over if I survived and she
didnt. Obviously I never came to that point. My
big rebellion was that I would not let them dehumanize me because I am who I am and I dont
care what they say about me. Thats how I feel and
Im not going to give in to anybody or anything. I
think that was very helpful. You have to look
inside yourself for self-esteem.

When the war was over,


they had families and homes
to come home to, and we had
nothing.

When you were in the Concentration camps did you feel you would survive?
I never doubted it. Dont forget that if I had thought that I would not survive, I would not have
had the strength to stand up. You know being 12 helped because if I had been more logical or
older, I would have thought about it more, because logically it didnt make any sense. Logic was
not something we dwelled upon.
When all the Jewish people were rounded up, what was going through your head? Did you know what was
going to happen?
We always knew why they rounded us up. They would round up people one day and take every
gray haired woman because she was too old and another day they would round us up and pick out
another group of people. We always knew that it was only for one purpose. It was very strange
because there was a policeman that was guarding us and we were falling behind everyone. I gave
this policeman a whole speech about how horrible he was for volunteering to do this. He took my
mother to the shooting range. I talked for a long time, telling him how awful he was. When we
reached the house of the commandant of the camp, he removed himself, giving us the opportunity
to escape. Which was a complete impossibly at that moment as the commandant had big dogs and
here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

they would have caught us right there. No I said that you will lead us to the end and you will
have it on your conscience that you led us to our death. Years later, when I wound up in Israel,
they had us in detention camp, for help with immigration and everything. We were on army carts
and on one army cart, was this policeman. I never told him I survived the war because I wanted to
let him live with the guilt.
Did you ever take any risks for yourself or for others
and what were they?

it was a spiritual support


that i couldn t have dreamt
of any other way.

I dont think I did anything. For example, when we


were working in the metal factory, I knew that the
metal was very important to the war at that time. I
was working on a machine that was cutting the metal into strips. I would mess up the knives in the
machine so it would break or waste metal. Nobody thought that a little girl knew how to work a
machine. They would help and repair it for me thinking that they were doing me a big favor.
People would say that this was some rebellion. I was probably getting bored and decided that I was
going to do something else. It was nothing really. In the scope of things, the sabotage, so what? It
wasted a few bars of metal. I dont know that this endangered my life. If they would have caught
me, I would have paid for it with my life, but I think I did it for my own satisfaction.
Was the first time you heard about gas chambers and crematoriums when you heard about your father or
did you hear about them before that?
We heard about it before that, but I didnt know that my father was in the crematoria until almost
a year after the war. First of all, they had a crematoria in Skarzysko that I never knew about. We
called it the frying pan. Every now and then you
would see the trucks go by with a hand waving to try
and make communication. And then a few hours
later, you could smell the stench of burning bodies.
We knew about them.
Can you give us some examples how people helped
each other out in the concentration camps?
People were really wonderful. The healthy ones
would help the sick ones. People were much more
helpful than we would like to believe. Because the
food was so scarce, they tried to fight for food.
Were you able to freely leave the ghettos?
No. You could not leave the ghetto. It was surrounded by barbed wire. The main entrance to the
Krakow ghetto was a big gate. Some people were taken to jobs outside the ghetto. They would try

...we should reach out to


everybody and be living in
brotherhood with everybody.
never think that we are
superior.

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

Page #

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

to escape or hide, but you couldnt leave it normally. You had to hide when you were escaping.
Did you communicate with other Jewish people in other ghettos?
No. We could not communicate. Some people did, but there were no phones. Some people would
bribe other people to send messages but it was very difficult.
What nationalities were represented in the camps?
Jews were lumped together as one group. There were French, French underground, the Russian
women war prisoners. The smallest encroachment,
they put you in the camps. Anybody who was handing a slice of bread to a Jew, was right away sent to a
camp.
Were you taken on any death marches?
Yes, we were taken on a 3-week death march at the
end of the war.
We could see the planes flying over. We knew the
end was coming, but we didnt know if we would
make it.

if they would have caught


me, i would have paid for it
with my life, but i think i did
it for my own satisfaction.

Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?


The one thing I want to tell you, especially the young people is that we should reach out to everybody and be living in brotherhood with everybody. Never think that we are superior. We are all the
same people and we are all trying to keep the world a nice place to live. Never stereotype people. It
starts from calling a name and then it builds up and then something like the Holocaust happens.
Thank you for telling us your story.
You are very welcome.

Luna is currently living in New Jersey. She is not married at this moment. Ms. Kaufman has been active in
the performing arts as president of the New Jersey
State Opera and a member of the Mayors Task Force
for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

here, name

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications

Page #

here, name

WiTneSSeS and SurvivorS:

T he S Tory of The h oLocauST

2013 d.c. everest area Schools Publications