Rose's Story

My mother, Rose Silberberg Skier, tells the miraculous story of how she survived the Holocaust

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Part V

Rose-Silberberg Skier: And as far as going back to the ghetto, as I was saying, the last time that I left her place was with my aunt. My aunt came to get me, and we went through back ways.

It was a Friday, for the Sabbath, and my birthday. And when I got to the place, we were so happy to see each other, my mother and I.

That night, was when the Germans surrounded the ghetto with SS men. Practically, from what I could see, every yard. The whole ghetto was surrounded. And when we got up Saturday morning—we were like in a little valley, and there was a hill above, we had no curtains—and they were looking at us with guns pointed at our window. And our windows were open. And we thought, “What is THIS?” And then my father went and he said the whole ghetto is surrounded. And not only that, but they didn’t let my father go to the synagogue. They didn’t let anybody out. Everybody had to stay indoors.

And then they came with loudspeakers:

“All the Jews have to go to the railroad tracks. You’ll go to work. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.” Something like that. It was very bad.

So my father had made a bunker even in that ghetto. And it was in the stove. They dug out underneath. So it looked like you were going into the stove. And underneath was like a cellar. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. So my father said “let’s go in there and hide.”

But of course, what they didn’t realize, is that the SS could see everything. We had no way to hide, really. And they saw us going into that bunker. And they came running from that hill. And they were saying, “JEWS!! Get out! Get out of that stove!” And we were lucky that they didn’t shoot us. Just then they weren’t in the mood for shooting.

So we got out. And they said, “OUT! And go to the railroad tracks!”

Now my father and my mother were saying this was terrible. But what’s more, they realized that children would probably not go to work, but be killed. There was already the rumor. So they felt bad that, here, I’m only one day here, and they made me come, and I probably won’t survive, under normal circumstances.

(click to watch video)

But I know that my father was very religious and he took me aside and he said, “The Torah says, that in cases of peril or emergency you should ask a small child for advice. I’m asking you. Do you think we should go to the railroad tracks, or should we try to hide in this ghetto, and see if we could get out and get back to the bunker? They say we are going to go to work.”

So I remember what I said. I said: “If you think you’re going to work, go to the tracks. If you think that they will not give you work but will kill you, stay here and look for a bunker.”

So my father was thinking and he said: “You know what? I will go with your mother to the tracks, because we are young and we will probably go to work. You stay with your aunt.” Because my aunt Sara had Aryan papers. And she said she would try to get out of the ghetto legally, because she had these Christian papers and she looked very Christian, so that was no problem.

He said, “Let her take you out, as a child, and try to go back to Mrs. Cicha, to the bunker. And then we’ll probably all survive.” And this is what happened. So they went to the tracks, and suddenly they’re back. The trains were so full, they said you have to come tomorrow. So it was kind of a hopeful sign. Maybe that’s it. Maybe they’ll change their minds. They did not.

That night, I remember my mother said to me, “Come, I’m going to cut your hair. Because I don’t know when I’m going to see you again. I don’t want you to get lice.” (I had long braids). And she cut my hair, and she told me, keep yourself clean, and all this, and probably I’ll see you again. But it was very sad when she was cutting my hair. It’s something that stayed with me. (cries)

DP: Did she say anything else to you?

RS: She was just hugging me and kissing me…but the next day my father said: “I want to talk to you.” He said, “Always remember that you are a Jew. Whatever happens, remember that. And whatever happens, remember you name. Because I hope we all will survive. But in case you don’t see me, and you survive, go to Jerusalem, because we have a cousin there, and his name is Tzemach Silberberg. The street is Alfassi 31, Jerusalem.”

And he made me repeat it many times. I was nine years old so I could repeat it. Alfassi 31 Jerusalem. “And you tell him your name is Silberberg, and you tell him who you are, and he will take you in.” That was so sad for me (crying).

Then we got dressed. My mother I remember put a kerchief on, which she normally didn’t wear a kerchief. She put a kerchief on, and she left the hut with my father. And we actually left together. My aunt and I, and my father and mother. To the tracks was to one side, and to go to the gate where the SS were standing guarding the ghetto was another side, just the opposite direction.

And I remember my father turned around, and I turned around to look. And I wanted so much my mother should turn around—but she didn’t. She just walked straight away. That was the last time I ever saw them.

After that, my aunt and I went to the gate. And as we were approaching the gate the SS man was screaming, “Get away from here! Go back into the ghetto!”

And my aunt said, “Look! I have papers!” And she took out the papers. “Look! I’m a Christian! Take a look! Take a look!”

He said, “What? You’re a Catholic? And what are you doing in this ghetto? I’m going to shoot you!” And he pointed a gun to shoot. And we went back. We couldn’t get out.



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