Rose's Story

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

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Part XII

Now this convent was located next to railroad tracks. Side tracks. So most of the trains were going with soldiers to the Russian front. Passing us, going through Poland to the front. But some trains were Red Cross trains, or rather hospital trains, with soldiers, wounded. When they were wounded, they sometimes used to put them on the side track because they weren’t important enough to be on that main track. They still needed it for the soldiers to go to the front.

So sometimes for a whole day, a train would sit there with soldiers, and we could look through from our window to their window. We could see what the nurses were doing. We could see their faces. And that’s it.

Now, that January 1945 I remember, suddenly the door opened, and out of the blue, 20, 25 SS men came in. It was unbelievable. I said, they’re not coming for us, there are too many! But they were a scary-looking bunch, I tell you.

The Mother Superior was a Nazi. Her brother was an SS man. (She was German, I must point out). And she invited them all for lunch. And they sat down in the dining room, and there was a long table. She was sitting at the head of the table. On each side were SS men. And then a little further down were the other nuns. All German nuns. And I was helping Sister Roberta, and I brought in string beans, all the way to Mother Superior.

And suddenly I heard her say, “Who is on the train?”

And he said, “Jews.”

“You have JEWS on the train??”


She said, “I thought you were FINISHED with all the Jews already!”

“Don’t worry, we’re taking them from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen and we’re going to finish them off.”

(whispers) I heard it!

I snuck out. I ran to the pig sties where my aunt was working. I said, “There is a train of Jews from Auschwitz! Maybe my mother is there or my sister or my father! Let’s run!”

She ran to the train (it was just…five minutes away). But it wasn’t a regular train. It was a train like a cattle car. And through the slits, we saw just young girls with shaven heads and pajamas. And they were crying, “water…water” in German. It was snowing at that time. And I went over and I said, in Polish, is there anybody by the name of Felicia Silberberg, Mala Silberberg…and they couldn’t understand. So I started to talk German, is there anybody like this, so they said, “No! There are no Polish Jews here. We are a Hungarian transport. There are no Polish Jews in Auschwitz. Give us water give us water!” I went to another car, same story.

So we took the snow, and we started to throw the snow against the grate. Then my aunt says, “You know what? I’ll run down, and get the potatoes from the pigs,” because she was just making boiled potatoes with the peels. “We’ll bring them back.” And we went together and brought a heavy pail of potatoes. We started to squash them and throw them.

Just as we did that, the Polish girl, Irena, came out. She comes over, she takes a look, and she was screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? ARE YOU CRAZY?? You’re taking food from the pigs, and you’re giving it to the Jews?? These are JEWS!! ARE you CRAZY?? I’m going to call the SS!!”

She ran back to the Convent, and she called the SS. And they came running out like wild animals. Screaming, “GET AWAY FROM THAT TRAIN!! These are Jews!! Get AWAY!!” And my aunt was still lingering throwing the potatoes, and he came very close to her. “You LOVE Jews?? I’ll put you on the train! You want to go on the train? Come with me and I’ll put you on the train.” He was going to do it! He was going to open up the train. So we started to run away.

So this is now from the other side. We’re seeing it from the other side. So she ran away. She said, “Come back to the Convent, or he’ll put us on the train.” And that’s it. And then the train took off.

And then I said to my aunt, “What is this? There are no Polish Jews in Auschwitz? That’s where the all went! Where are they? This is our whole family!” So we got very shook up. Because till then, we really didn’t know what was going on. Until it dawned on us, something is very fishy here. Something is terrible. But 100% we didn’t know what happened. Maybe they were evacuated somewhere else. But still it was very bad.



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