South Carolina Council on the Holocaust

“The work that the SC Council on the Holocaust does is so important for our students in South Carolina. Having a chance to discuss and reflect on the past gives students the tools to be better citizens for our future.”

--Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education

The Survivors' Stories -- A Virtual Library

BLUMA . . . .

They agreed to go to a labor camp where the sisters spent the next two years working in a bullet factory. In 1944, as the Germans began to lose the war and the Russians moved toward Germany from the east, Bluma and her sister along with the other prisoners working in the factory were moved to a city closer to Germany. Here they continued to work twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week. Three months later they were moved again to the Bergen-Belsen (Burg-In Bell-Sen ) concentration camp in Germany.

One day the Germans put all the camp inmates on trains. The Russians were coming closer, so they decided to take us to Germany. We had no idea where we were going. When we arrived in Bergen-Belsen, they stripped us of all of our personal belongings. They gave each of us prison clothes. They consisted of a striped dress, shoes, and socks. They didn't care if the clothes were too short or too big or too long. Any jewelry that we had was taken away from us. They took us to the barracks. These barracks were just empty rooms. There were about forty girls in one room. It was winter and very cold. There was no water and no bathrooms.

Every morning they got us up at five o'clock and they counted us. After this roll call, they gave us a cup of coffee. For lunch they gave us watery potato soup made of potato peels and a piece of black bread. In the evening, we received only a cup of black coffee.

In Bergen-Belsen diseases spread quickly; many people became sick with typhoid fever. Some people just went crazy. They started talking to themselves. They walked back and forth. The Nazis just wanted people to die there from hunger and disease.

The only work we had was to carry a pile of junk from one end of the place to another. We all lost a lot of weight. We were there for three months and if we had been there for another three months, I don't think anybody would have survived. We had lice all over us. There was no way I could get rid of them. I cried a lot. I didn't want to live any more -- the cold, hunger, and disease.

One day we got lucky again. A German military commission came. They were looking for workers for an airplane factory. They looked us over as we went by. Some were told to go right and the others to go left. I was lucky. I went right and finally my sister also went right. They took us out of Bergen-Belsen and we went to Burgau. They made airplanes there. My job was painting the number on the airplane. It was much better there than at Bergen-Belsen.