Rose's Story

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

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Part XVI

Rose Silberberg-Skier: And when we arrived in our hometown, everybody was dead. There wasn’t a Jew left. And we went to our house, and there was nobody. And we had nothing to eat. We had no money. And even if we had, there was nothing to buy. But we specifically had nothing to eat.

And the people, all around, when they saw my aunt, they knew her. So they knew that she’s Jewish, because they knew her from her youth. “Oh my God, how come you survived? I thought Hitler killed you all! You survived??” Very unhappy. “What do you want?? You want your house back? What is it that you want here?”

Who thinks of houses? We were looking for our FAMILY. “Do you want your house back?” That was all they were worried about.

Then my aunt said, “Let’s find out 100% what happened. Maybe the maid, Maria, maybe she will know what happened.” So we knew where she lived. My aunt went there with me. As she opened the door, she was wearing my mother’s clothes. And there was silverware all around from my mother. I didn’t want to say anything. But just automatically I said, “This is my mother’s!” I was happy to see something from my mother. This was like…home, you know? And she [Maria] brought me up, I want you to know. And she said, “Jew! Get out or I’ll call the Home Army.”

The Home Army was like a fascist Polish Underground, that was against the Communists. They used to make pogroms all over Poland against the Jews. “I’ll call the Home Army.” She slammed the door, and we walked away. We said out of this town. We better get out of here, because we’re dead.

So my aunt went to Krakow, and in Krakow, which is very near, she heard there was an orphanage, on Dluga 38. She said “I will bring you to the orphanage, because maybe they’ll give you something to eat. I have no money. I have nothing. And when I get myself together, I’ll pick you up, and we’ll go to Palestine.”

DP: Was this a Jewish orphanage?

RS: Yes. In fact, there is this book, My 100 Children, that describes the Krakow Jewish orphanage. When she brought me to that orphanage, and then she left, I can tell you that was one horrible place. Horrible. First of all, there was nothing to eat. There were 100 kids there, crowded in together, and lice were crawling all over. Some kids were on the floor with blankets, and some were on cots. I got a cot. That cot was crawling with lice, and the blanket was crawling with white lice. These are typhus lice. I didn’t have any lice throughout the war. Suddenly, in five minutes, I was full of lice. I was itching…it was just unbearable.

And the kids were crying, and some were sick. You name it, they had it. And there were not enough people to take care. And I remember they fed us…once a day? At that point it was once a day. This is how I remember it. If it was more, it’s possible, but I remember it as once a day.

And the one who was in charge of the kids, she was cutting for everybody a piece of bread, she had some soup. The soup she gave out. But the bread she put in the middle of the table. Now where I came from, you would never grab. I waited for her to say “take your slice of bread.” But she didn’t, and the kids grabbed my bread. I was always left without the bread. I used to cry, not just from hunger. I was so angry at her. I used to say, “this stupid woman is so unjust. Why doesn’t she watch out for me?” She sees the kids are hungry, they’ll take my slice. Because my mother said you don’t take, you have to wait until they tell you to take. And I waited, because I was stupid! But this was how I was brought up.

DP: How old were you now?

RS: Now I’m 10.

DP: Did you ever change your name back?

RS: Yes, when my aunt brought me to the orphanage it was under Rose Silberberg. And at that time her name was Klagsbald. She was a widow because husband was murdered and her kid too.



  • At Thursday, July 17, 2014 1:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Home Army wasn' t like a fascist Polish Underground, that Germans used to make pogroms all over Poland against the Jews. The Home Army sabotaged German operations such as transports headed for the Eastern Front in the Soviet Union. The Home Army also fought several full-scale battles against the Germans, particularly in 1943 and in the 1944 Operation Tempest. The Home Army, in support of the Soviet military effort, tied down substantial German forces and destroyed much-needed German supplies.


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