David P. Boder Interviews Polia Bisenhaus; July 29, 1946; Paris, France

var transcription = { interview: [ David Boder

[In German] Sie sprechen hier in dis . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, was, eh . . . spreche ich?

David Boder

Ich werde Ihnen sagen. Sagen Sie mal, Polia. Wie ist Ihr voller Name?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bitte, was?

David Boder

Was ist Ihr Name?

David Boder

[In English] What's your name?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German] Meine Name? Polia Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Eh, noch einmal . . .

David Boder

[In English] Polia what?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German] Polia Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Bisenhaus?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Bisenhaus.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] פֿון װוּ זײַט איר?

Polia Bisenhaus

איך? פֿון פּױלן.

David Boder

Zent fun Poland.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Velkhe shtat in Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

StaszÃw.

David Boder

StaszÃw?

Polia Bisenhaus

Hm.

David Boder

Was ist das: Russianâ . . . Russisch-Polen [unklar]?

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָרט (איז) געװען רוסיש־פּױלן.

David Boder

Kommen Sie a bisl nÃher. Es iz gevezn Rusish-Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

Rusish-Poyln. [umklor] Davor iz geven der krig, und jetzt ist es auch Rusish-Polen.

David Boder

Ja. Aber, eh, wÃhrend dem Krieg waren die Russen dort oder . . . ?

Polia Bisenhaus

Die Russen.

David Boder

Die Russen dort. Alright. Now . . . ErzÃhlen Sie mir: Und denn, wenn sind die Russen weggegangen, und ven sind die daytshn gekumen? Zogn zi mir di gantse geshikhte!

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, איך װאַר נישט דאָרט[ן], אין . . .עהה . . . װען די רוסן זענען אַרײַנגעקומען, װאַר איך אין דעם לאַגער אין . . . דײַטשלאַנד. איך װאַר נישט אין סטאַשו.

David Boder

Wieso sind Sie gekommen nach daytshland?

Polia Bisenhaus

איך װאַר אין קיעלצע [קעלץ], אין [ ? אומקלאָר] . . . אין אײן אַרבעטס-, עה, אַמוניציע־לאַגער, עה, אַרבעטסלאַגער . . . איך האָב געאַרבעט אַמוניציע . . . נאַכהער האָט מען מיך . . . אין 44סטן יאָר, האָט מען מיך עװאַקויִרט נאָך דײַטשלאַנד.

David Boder

Hmhm.

Polia Bisenhaus

Mm-hm.

David Boder

Aber vu haben Sie gelebt, wenn die Russen sind gekommen?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, איך װאַר נישט, װען די רוסן . . .

David Boder

Sie waren nicht unter di rusn?

Polia Bisenhaus

נײן, איך בין באַפֿרײַט געװאָרן דורך די . . . אַמעריקאַנער . . .

David Boder

Ja, aber Sie waren nicht unter di rusn?

Polia Bisenhaus

נײן. איך װאַר נישט אונטער די רוסן געװען, איך בין באַפֿרײַט געװאָרן דורך די אַמעריקאַנער.

David Boder

Ja. Also in was fÃr einem Lager waren Sie, wo [vern?] Sie in lager?

Polia Bisenhaus

אין פּױלן װאַר איך אין לאַגער, אין אײן אַרבעטסלאַגער און אין דײַטשלאַנד װאַר איך אין אײן פֿאַרניכטונגסלאַגער.

David Boder

Vernichtungslager?!

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/English] Alright. ErzÃhlen Sie mir: was war das Arbeitslager?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German/Yiddish] נו, מיר האָבן געאַרבעט, עה, 12 שטונדען אײן טאָג, אַ גאַנצן טאָג, און אײן װאָך בײַ טאָג, אײן װאָך בײַ נאַכט.

David Boder

Was haben Sie gearbayt?

Polia Bisenhaus

אַמוניציע, דאָס איז . . . עה, נו׃ . . . עה, אַמוניציע!

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

[אומקלאָר]

David Boder

Aha, oh, es war eine Fabrik!

Polia Bisenhaus

[umklor] Fabrik. [In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Nun, und, eh . . . ven Sie haben . . . was hat man Ihnen zu Essen gegeben?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, in Polen var es nicht schlimm, in Polen haben sie gegeben ganz gut Essen, das ist gewesen, eh . . . manche Tage in der Woche geveyn Fleisch, un, eh, in daytshland var es zeyer shlim.

David Boder

Aha. Aber das war in Polen. Und [In English] how long . . . [In German] Wie lange haben Sie gearbeitet in Polen?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German/Yiddish] In Polen dray yor.

David Boder

Drei Jahre? Und warum hat man Sie weggenommen von dort?

Polia Bisenhaus

װען די רוסן האָבן זיך דערנענטערט, מ'האָט . . . אין קעלץ האָט מען אונדז געשיקט נאָך טשענסטאָכאַו, נאַכהער, װען זײ האָבן זיך דערנענטערט נאָך טשענסטאָכאַו, האָט מען אונדז געשיקט נאָך, עה . . . דײַטשלאַנד.

David Boder

נאָך דײַטשלאַנד?

Polia Bisenhaus

[אומקלאָר]

David Boder

Aha. Eh . . . weil: vorhin haben Sie gesagt, Sie waren in einem Vernichtungslager: welches Lager war das?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bergen-Belsen.

David Boder

Bergen-Belsen?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Ohhh! In, eh . . . und, eh . . . was haben Sie dort getan?

Polia Bisenhaus

ביזענהאַוס׃ דאָרט האָבן מיר גאָר נישט געטאָן, מיר זענען געזעסן און האָבן נישט באַקומען קײן עסן. צען דעקאַ ברױט אַ טאָג, אָבער דאָס איז . . . עה, manche Tage das Brot auch nicht . . . [Di veser?] haben gesagt, אַז, עה . . . מ'האָט באַגנבֿעט די ברױט־קאַמער, האָבן זײ נישט געגעבן קײן עסן, און װען עס איז געקומען די עס־עס, צו פֿרעגן׃ װאַרום [פֿאַר װאָס] באַקומט איר הױטע [הײַנט] נישט קײן עסן? â האָבן זײ געזאָגט, עה . . . האָבן זײ געזאָגט די עס־עס, אַז מיר זאָלן זאָגן׃ מיר האָבן געשטאָלט [געגנבֿעט].

David Boder

Also, Sie sollen sagen . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja. Wir sollen sagen, [reden zur gleichen Zeit] wir haben gestohlt deriber bakumen wir heute, haben wir [Essensperre/Essenstrafe (?)].

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

In deriber haben sie undz nisht gegebn kayn esn.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

Das war . . . vielmal in der Woche.

David Boder

Aha. Und, eh: wie sind Sie geschlafen, erzÃhlen Sie . . . [unverstÃndlich]?

Polia Bisenhaus

Geschlafen? Auf der Erd . . . Geshlafn zenen vir auf der erd . . . eh . . . das ist gewesen . . . a gantsn Tag zenen vir gezesn auf di erd, of deym zelbn . . . eh, das iz gevezn Stroh, un nakhher, bay nakht, zaynen / zen' vir geshlafn of demzelbn ort: das war sehr schmutzig dort. fil(e?) zaynen/zenen geshtorbn fun dem shmuts, was dort war.

David Boder

Well, was haben die daytshn gesagt: was halt(n?) man Sie dortn?

Polia Bisenhaus

זײ האָבן גאָר נישט געזאָגט, װאַרום [פֿאַר װאָס] זײ האַלטן אונדז דאָרט. זײ האָבן אונדז נישט געזאָגט, אָבער מיר האָבן געװוּסט, זײ האַלטן אונדז דעריבער, װײַל זײ האָבן געװאָלט, עה . . . אונדז פֿאַרניכטן, אָבער . . . דאָס איז זײ נישט געלונגען.

David Boder

All right. Haben Sie andere Leute vernichtet dort [unverstÃndlich]?

Polia Bisenhaus

Oui, zeyer fil. Ven di layte varen shvakher . . .eh . . . fun jeden Tag zu Tag waren dokh di leute shvakher, vayl zi habn kayn esn nisht bekumen, haben sie uns, eh . . . haben sie genomen . . .eh . . . farnikhtet: das war dort ein, eh, nu, kamer, vu zay hobn fargazirt und, eh . . . nakhher hobn zi gebrent, un das iz dokh bakant ales, was die Deutschen haben gemacht.

David Boder

Wieso ist es bekannt? In amerike weià man sehr wenig.

Polia Bisenhaus

אוּוּוּוהה! אין אַמעריקע װײסט מען אַלץ! עה . . . װײַל די . . . די זשורנעלע [זשורנאַלן] האָבן שױן פֿיל געשריבן [װעגן דעם?] . . . נו, װײסט איר נישט, אָדער?

David Boder

Ja! Manche Leute wissen, manche wissen nicht . . . Das ist, warum ich will, dass . . . Haben Sie Verwandte in Amerika?

Polia Bisenhaus

Oui, ikh hab Verwandte in amerike . . .

David Boder

Wo sind Ihre Verwandten?

Polia Bisenhaus

עה . . . אײן אָנקל אין . . . ניו־יאָרק, און אײנער אין שיקאַגאָ.

David Boder

Sie haben einen Onkel in Chicago?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Ich bin in Chicago!

Polia Bisenhaus

"Bisenhaus"âdizelbe nomen . . . [ist/vi iz?] mayne . . .

David Boder

Bisenhaus?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bisenhaus, oui, das ist mayn fater(s?) zayn futer [feter?].

David Boder

Wollen Sie, dass ich Ihren Onkel sehen soll?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui! [In German/Yiddish] Ikh vol . . . gerne im sehen, aber ikh zol/vol kommen . . .

David Boder

Wollen Sie, dass ich Ihren Onkel sehen soll . . . und mit ihm sprechen?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, ja! Warum nicht?

David Boder

Wollen Sie nach Amerika kommen?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, איך װײס נישט, איך װאָלט גערן נאָך פּאַלעסטינע פֿאָרן . . .

David Boder

Sie wollen gern . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Vayl ikh hab dort tsvay tante, in ikh vil . . . farn . . . [Palestina?]. Beser . . . nokh Palestina. Ja, ikh denke, far mir vet es zayn beser vi in amerika.

David Boder

Wollen Sie etwas sagen zu Ihrem Onkel?

Polia Bisenhaus

Tsu maynen onkl?

David Boder

Ja, ich klingel ihn zu zu meinem Haus, und ich werde ihm geben . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, wenn Sie wollen . . . Soll ich ihm/HÃre ich ihn . . . was er spricht?

David Boder

No, no, was Sie sprechen.

Polia Bisenhaus

Was ich sprech, vet er hern?

David Boder

Ja.

Polia Bisenhaus

Und, eh . . . was er sprecht, vel ikh nisht . . .?

David Boder

Nein, nein, nein.

Polia Bisenhaus

אָה, דאָס איז נישט גוט! איך װיל אים אױך הערן!

David Boder

[In English] No, no, no. [In German] Sie kÃnnen jetzt einfach was sagen: wie in einem RadioâSie kÃnnen . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

אָבער איך װײס נישט זײַן אַדרעס.

David Boder

Oh, Ich werde ihn finden.

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja?

David Boder

Ja! Ich werde ihn finden. Sie werden [In English] me later [In German/Yiddish] die Adresse geben, ich werde es aufschreiben, und ich werde ihn finden.

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, יעצט שױן? [ . . . אומקלאָר]

David Boder

Nein, nein, nicht diesen Moment. Sie sprechen, was Sie Ihrem Onkel sagen wollen. Und wenn ich nach Chicago komm', dann nehm' ich die Maschine . . . und er wird zu mein' Haus kommen und ich werde ihm das zugeben, was Sie ihm sagen!

Polia Bisenhaus

So? Und ven komen Sie nach, eh . . . zu Hause?

David Boder

FÃnf Wochen.

Polia Bisenhaus

פֿינף װאָכן?

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, ס'איז גוט!

David Boder

Nur sagen Sie, was Sie sagen wollen! [lachen]

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . [umklor] . . . in dizem moment sagen, un ven ikh kan mit ihm sprechen, hab ikh im fil tsu sagen!

David Boder

Zum Beispiel: was wollen Sie Ihrem Onkel sagen?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, װאָס איך װיל [ / ? װײס איך װאָל?], װאָס ער מאַכט, װאָס ער טוט איצט . . .!

David Boder

Aha. Wollen Sie, dass er was fÃr Sie tun soll?

Polia Bisenhaus

FÃr Sie?

David Boder

Wollen Sie, dass er etwas fÃr Sie tun soll? Hat er Ihnen Geld geschickt?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu! Er shikt mir, ja!

David Boder

Er shikt Ihnen . . . ?

Polia Bisenhaus

[ . . . אומקלאָר] (איך װיל נישט, ?) ער זאָל מיר שיקן איצט אַ . . . איך לערן זיך אַ פֿאַך, איך װיל מיר זעלבסט מיר פֿאַרדינען, (איך זאָל קענען . . .)

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָס איז דאָך נישט . . . דער אָנקל זאָל מיר שיקן . . . װעט ער שיקן אײן מאָל, צװײ מאָל, דרײַ מאָל . . . [אומקלאָר â אָבער דאָס װערט דאָך ניט, נו?]

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

[ . . .? סע דאָך ניט קראַנק?] . . . [אומקלאָר] נאָר איך װיל זײַן זעלבשטענדיק, װיל איך פֿאַרדינען . . .

David Boder

Sprechen Sie lauter. Eh, iz er a reicher Mann, Ihr Onkel?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja! Er ist nicht . . . orem . . .

David Boder

Wieviel Woâ, eh, wieviel Monate waren Sie in Bergen . . . Belsen?

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָ אין בעלזען װאַר איך, עה . . . דרײַ מאָנאַטע. בעלזען.

David Boder

יאָ. דרײַ, דרײַ מאָנאַטע?

Polia Bisenhaus

דרײַ מאָנאַטע.

David Boder

[In English] And, eh . . . eh . . . [In German/Yiddish] Waren viele layte vernichtet dort?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, זײער פֿילע זענען געשטאָרבן, װײַל מיר האָבן . . . אױף אַן אַפּעל . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Polia Bisenhaus

Wissen Sie, was ein Appell ist?

David Boder

Ja.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . האָבן אַרױסגערופֿן לײַט [מענטשן], זײ האָבן [זענען] געגאַנגען גאַנץ נאַקעט, נישט אָנגעטאָן . . . דאָס איז געװעזן

David Boder

Warum [umklor: (hatten sie . . . nisht un . . .?)]

Polia Bisenhaus

זײ האָבן צוגענומען אַלעס, װאָס מיר האָבן נאָך פֿון דער הײם געהאַט, אַלע . . . קלײדער . . . און זײ האָבן געגעבן אַזױ מיט די שטרײַפֿן . . .

David Boder

Ja.

Polia Bisenhaus

[umklor] . . . vas [= vays] . . . fun klayder [umklor: (vus mer . . . vas . . . zen fun di klayder - ?!)] eh . . . un shiekh, un shtrimf [= StrÃmpfe], in vir zen' azoy gegangen in di grÃÃte . . . yanuar: in di grÃÃte keltn, yanuar, februar: das sind di grÃÃte keltn, zenen vir gegangen gants naket in deriber zenen fil geshtorbn! un esn, in eh . . . nisht geshlufn, nisht zikh gevashn, in deriber zenen fil geshtorbn!

David Boder

Haben die, eh . . . eh . . . Nazis . . . die . . . Frauen, eh . . . beleidigt, haben sie sie . . . beâ . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

Geschlagen?

David Boder

Nein, ich meine, haben sie, waren sie unanstÃndig mit de Frauen?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, das iz, das iz farshtendlekh!

David Boder

[In English] What do you mean "iz farshtendlekh"?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נו, אַז . . . זײ האָבן זיך באַצױגן זײער נישט גוט צו די פֿרױען! און זײ האָבן פֿיל מאָל אױף זײ געשלאָגן . . . װען מיר זענען נישט גלײַך געשטאַנען אױף דעם אַפּעל, װײַל אונדז איז . . . [אומקלאָר], װען עס װאַר קאַלט, אײנע האָט צוגעלײגט זיך אױף דעם צװײטן, האָבן זײ געשלאָגן, זײ האָבן . . . איבערן קאָפּ און אַזױ . . . [אומקלאָר]

David Boder

Eh . . . Nu, sagen Sie zum Beispiel, eh: Was hat man den ganzen Tag in Belsen getan? Sagen wir, am Morgen sind Sie aufgestandenâum wieviel Uhr?

Polia Bisenhaus

אין מאָרגן איז געװען אַן אַפּעל צום אױפֿשטײן, עה . . . פֿיר אור [= 4 אַ זײגער], דרײַ אור . . . פֿינף אור . . .

David Boder

Nu?

Polia Bisenhaus

Haben vir gegangen zikh vashn, un vashn iz geveyzn ayn, eh, tsimer, zeyer a klayns: kalt vaser. Gunts kalt, un vir zenen arayngangen gonts naket, un fil hobn zikh erkeltet [erkÃltet], zeyer fil . . .

David Boder

Ja.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . און דער אָרגאַניזם איז שװאַך׃ מע עסט נישט, מע װאַשט זיך מיט קאַלט װאַסער . . .

David Boder

Waren dort MÃnner oder Frauen, das haben Sie . . . [unverstÃndlich]?

Polia Bisenhaus

[umklor: (Frauen?)] Das waren die . . .

David Boder

Nein, nein, ich meine die Nazis.

Polia Bisenhaus

Die Nazis? Das waren Frauen und, eh, MÃnner, aber die Frauen zenen fil shlimer/schlimmer, varen fil shlimer/schlimmer fir undz vi di mener.

David Boder

Wieso?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, di frauen habn geshlogen . . . zeyer . . . zeyer geferlekh! ze haben geshlagen, ze haben zikh erlaubt . . . es varen fil Juden, [umklor: terkishe?] und rumener, . . . vas zaynen auch . . . vas zaynen geveyzn . . . di lagerfirer, LagerÃlteste . . . In di zenen nokh fil ar-, erger geveyn vi di daâ, vi di Natsis.

David Boder

Sie meinen, das zaynen Juden lagerfirnde . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja!

David Boder

Und . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . un di yuden, zi waren sehr schlimm fÃr uns. Sehr schlimm!

David Boder

Wie: die Juden waren lagerfirnde und die haben . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, ja, zey habn sehr shlim zikh bagangen mit undz.

David Boder

Tsu di andere Juden.

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja. Zeyer shlim.

David Boder

Nu, eh . . . sagen Sie: [vus?] sind Sie aufgestanden um drei, vier in de Morgen und Sie sind gegangen, haben sich gewaschen: den was?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, נאַכהער האָבן די . . . האָבן . . . געברענגט קאַװע, שװאַרצע קאַװע . . . פֿיל מאָל האָבן דאָס אױך נישט באַקומען . . . און, אָן ברױט.

David Boder

Ohne Brot. [In English] All right . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] Nakhher, eh . . . tsvelef ur, halb tsvelf, elf, [ . . .vi ayn mal (?)] iz es gevezn Mittagsstunde. De Mittagsstunde iâ gevezn: ayn bisschen [In English] soup, [In Yiddish/German] drayfertl liter, velkhes mal a halbn liter, in, eh, velkhes mal a halbn liter auch nisht . . . in, eh, das ist gewesen mit ribn. Manche . . . dray shtiklekh ribn, az me hot gefinen in a sup: i' gevezn zeyer gut. i' sho' ge'[veyn] a gite sup.

David Boder

Yo.

Polia Bisenhaus

Un nakhher, eh . . . finef ur, fir ur, manches Mal zeks ur: iz gevezn broyt. Ayn shtikchen broyt, das iz geveyzn azoy lang broyt, tsetaylt of tsen man, of tsvelef man . . .

David Boder

Hm . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . איז געװעזן . . . אױסגעקומען פֿאַר אַכט דעקאַ ברױט, צען דעקאַ ברױט אַ טאָג. דאָס איז געװען דאָס עסן.

David Boder

Un den in avnt? Un den, nach dem Essen, was haben Sie getan?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, nakhher . . . zen' wir gezesn, vayter! - Vi a gantsn Tag! [ . . .? umklor] nakhn apel var es, eh, das Mittag.

David Boder

Hmhm.

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָס . . . דער אַפּעל װאַר, עה, אין יעדן טאָג.

David Boder

Was, eh nennen Sie de Appell? Was [In English] was the Appell?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German]דער אַפּעל צײלט, עה . . . אױב עס איז װער אַנטלאָפֿן, אָדער װער עס איז געשטאָרבן׃ דאָס איז מע זאָל װיסן גענױ, װיפֿל עס איז דאָ איבערצוגעבן װײַטער, װיפֿל עס געפֿינט זיך אין לאַגער.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

װיפֿל פֿרױען, מענער . . . נו . . . דאַס װאַר, עה . . . פֿיל מאָל דער אַפּעל האָט געדױערט פֿיר, פֿינף שעה. און פֿיל מענטשן זײַנען אױפֿן אַפּעל געפֿאַלן . . . אַז מען איז . . . פֿון דער קעלט און פֿון מידקײט . . . הונגער

David Boder

Und was hat man mit ihnen/denen gemacht?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, נאַכהער זײַנען מיר געגאַנגען . . . פֿיל מאָל האָבן זײ נאָך דעם אַפּעל â פֿינף שעה שטײן אָט אין דרױסן â האָבן זײ גענומען אױף אַרבעט. די אַרבעט איז געװעזן צו טראָגן שטעק, שטעק . . . עה . . . פֿאַרשידן האָלץ, פֿון אײן אָרט אױפֿן צװײטן. דאָס איז געװעזן . . . אָבער די אַרבעט איז געװען גאָר נישט, אָבער זײ האָבן פֿיל מאָל געשלאָגן, װען מיר האָבן נישט געקענט אַזױ שנעל לױפֿן, און אַזױ װײַטער . . .

David Boder

Hmhm. Na, sagen Sie mal: war der Doktor dort [unverstÃndlich]?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, es war ein Dokter, ayn, eh . . . dentist . . . azo . . .

David Boder

Ein dentist? Hat er sie . . . was getan, zu die . . . zu die . . . Gefangene, hat er was getan?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, ער האָט אַרױסגענומען די צײן בלױז, אַרױסגעריסן, אױב װער עס האָט געהאַט [שלים?] צײן־שמאַרץ, -שמערץ, האָט ער אַרױסגענומען [צונער? (= צײן)].

David Boder

[In English/Yiddish] Was it a daytsher doctor, or . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נו, עס װאַר אַ דײַטשער דאָקטער, און עס װאַר אַ ייִדישער דאָקטער . . .

David Boder

אַ ייִדישער דאָקטער?

Polia Bisenhaus

ייִדישער.

David Boder

Aha. [In English] And, eh . . . [In German/Yiddish] Sagen Sie, eh . . . un den, wie sind Sie befreit gevordn?

Polia Bisenhaus

באַפֿרײַט געװאָרן בין איך בײַ דאַכאַו. פֿון די אַמעריקאַנער.

David Boder

Wieso? Hat man Sie von Belsen geschickt . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

פֿון בעלזען נאַכהער געװעזן נאָך אין דרײַ לאַגערן.

David Boder

ErzÃhlen Sie mir, welche . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

[פֿון?] בעלזען בין איך געװעזן אין בורגאַו, נאַכהער אין טירקענהײַם.

David Boder

[In English] Yes . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] אין בורגאַו װאַר איך, עה . . . דרײַ װאָכן . . . אָדער פֿיר װאָכן . . . נאַכהער אין טירקהײַם װאַר איך צװײ װאָכן. נאַכהער האָט מ'איבערגעפֿירט, װען די אַמעריקאַנדער האָבן זיך שױן דערנענטערט, האָט מען איבערגעפֿירט נאָך, עה . . . דאַכאַו. און דאָרטן זענען מיר באַפֿרײַט געװאָרן.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

In, eh . . . 30stn . . .

David Boder

Was, eh . . . wie hat man Sie gefirt fun, fun [eyn?] lager tsum andern: in, eh . . . af der Eisenbahn, [In English] by . . . truck, by . . . [In German/Yiddish] was?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, פֿון עה . . . פֿון בער־, פֿון בערגען־בעלזען נאָך, עה, בורגאַו זענען מיר געפֿאָרן אױף, עה . . . װאַגאָן, יאָ.

David Boder

In de vagonen?

Polia Bisenhaus

Vagon, yo.

David Boder

Eh . . . wie lange hat das gedauert?

Polia Bisenhaus

עה, דאָס האָט געדױערט, עה, גאַנצע אַכט טעג. אַכט טעג האָט געדױערט דאָס, די רײַזע.

David Boder

Eh . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

מיר האָבן קײן עסן נישט באַקומען, אױף די װעגן, און ס'איז געװעזן באָמבאַרדירן . . . און . . . זײער פֿיל זענען פֿון די באָמבעס דערהאַרגעט געװאָרן . . .

David Boder

Sind Leute geâ . . . Sind Leute geharget gevorn?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, ja.

David Boder

[Wie var dos (?)/ Wieso dos (?)] . . . di bombes gefaln . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

די באָמבעס געפֿאַלן, יאָ . . .

David Boder

Aufn Zug . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

אױפֿן צוג און, עה, װער עס האָט נישט געקענט אַנטלױפֿן, איז געפֿאַלן אונטער די באָמבן [באָמבעס].

David Boder

[vayl? well?] Wie haben Sie kenen antloyfn, ven Sie waren im Zug?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, װען . . . פֿון דער צװײטער זײַט . . . (דאַר־?)אונטער דעם װאַגאָן . . .

David Boder

דער צוג איז געשטאַנען?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, װען דער צוג װאַר באָמבאַרדירט, איז דער צוג נישט געפֿאָרן.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . איז געשטאַנען . . .

David Boder

Un di, eh . . . Nazis sind auch . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

די נאַציס זענען אַנטלאָפֿן, זײ האָבן זיך באַהאַלטן, זײ האָבן [אומקלאָר] געשאָפֿן, אַרױפֿגעשאָסן צו די . . . אַװיאָנען, און ס'איז . . .

David Boder

Ja. Und sie haben gelassen, dass Sie sich verstecken sollen?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, זײ האָבן נישט געזען! זײ האָבן . . . זענען אַלײן געװעזן צעמישט, װײַל זײ האָבן אַלײן געװאָלט זיך . . . עה . . . אַנטלױפֿן און . . .

David Boder

Aha. Und/von? da sind Sie acht Tage gegangen: von wo?

Polia Bisenhaus

Acht Tage sind wir gegangen fin, eh TÃrkenheim nukh Dachau.

David Boder

TÃrkenheim nach Dachau.

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja.

David Boder

[In English] Alright, [In German/Yiddish] nu erzÃhlen Sie mir: Sind Sie gekommen in Dachau: was hat man dort gemacht?

Polia Bisenhaus

אין דאַכאַו איז שױן געװעזן אַ פּאָר טעג פֿאַרן באַפֿרײַען, האָט . . . מיר זײַנען אָנגעקומען, האָבן די עס־עס געזאָגט, צו די פֿירערס, צו די צװײ, װאָס האָבן אונדז געפֿירט: [דײַטש׃] װאַרום האַט איר די לױטע געבראַכט? איך בראַוך זי נישט. [ייִדיש] און האָבן זײ געזאָגט׃ מיר װײסן נישט. װאָלט זײ, װאָלט זײ פֿאַרשטעקן. [דײַטש:] װאַס זאָללען װיר מאַכען מיט דיזע לױטע? [ייִדיש׃] האָט דער עס־עס־פֿירער געזאָגט׃ [ייִדיש/דײַטש:] אַה, איך װײס שױן, װאַס מיט די לױטע צו מאַכען! [ייִדיש׃] האָט ער אונדז אױסגעשטעלט, און מיר האָבן געדענקט, אַז זײ גײען אונדז אױסשיסן, װײַל ס'איז געװעזן נאַטירלעך â װי זײ האָבן געטאָן מיט אַלע ייִדן. נאָר, נאַכהער איז געקומען עפּעס אַ באַפֿעל, און זײ זענען אַנטלאָפֿן . . . [אומקלאָר] װער איז אַנטלאָפֿן? און נאַכהער האָט מען אונדז אַרײַנגעשיקט אין אַ בלאָק, סע געװײזן . . .

David Boder

[Vus heyst dus? / Di SSers?]

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, ס'איז שױן . . . די עס־עס, װאָס האָט פֿאַרנומען שױן [אומקלאָר], שױן . . . ייִדסן האָבן שױן אָנגעהױבן צו איבערנעמען/באַנעמען, מע האָט שױן געזען, אַז ס'דערנענטערט זיך שױן די באַפֿרײַונג . . . האָבן זײ אונדז אַרײַנגעפֿירט אין אַ בלאָק און, עה . . . מ'האָט זיך דאָרט דאַן געלײגט â זענען מיר געװען מיד פֿון אַכט טעג גײן צו פֿוס â און נאַכהער . . . צו מאָרגנס, מע איז אַרױס געגאַנגען, האָט מען שאָזן נישט געזען קײן אײן עס־עס׃ אַלע זענען שױן [געהאַט?] אַװעק, און דאָס . . . אין דער הײ דאָרטן, װוּ די עס־עס זענען געשטאַנען שטענדיק, און זײ האָבן [אומקלאָר] â איז שױן געשטאַנען ייִדישע העפֿטלינגע

David Boder

Yidishe . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ. ידישע העפֿטלינגע. ביקסנס האָבן זײ באַנומען פֿון די . . . פֿון די . . . נאַציס.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

â מע האָט שױן געזען אַז דערנענטערט זיך, נאַכהער האָבן דאָס די נאַציס [אומקלאָר] . . . אױס . . . װיפֿיל ייִדן נאָך געװען דאָ, אָבער עס איז זײ נישט געלונגען, װײַל די אַמעריקאַנער זענען געקומען.

David Boder

Di amerikaner. So, wieviel Tage waren Sie in Dachau?

Polia Bisenhaus

אין דאַכאַו װאַר איך, עה, דרײַ װאָכן â נאָך דער באַפֿרײַונג.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

Nakhher . . .

David Boder

Aber [noch?/be-?/da-?]vor der Befreiung: wie lange waren Sie . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, װאַר איך צװײ טעג [אומקלאָר].

David Boder

2 Tage bloà in Dachau?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja. Ja. 2 Tage.

David Boder

Und dann war die Befreiung.

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ. װאַר די באַפֿרײַונג און מיר זענען געװעזן באַפֿרײַט פֿון די אַמעריקאַנער, און דאָס װאַר שױן גוט!

David Boder

Ja. Hat man arrestiert . . . die SS dort, wenn die Amerikaner sind gekommen?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ. מ'האָט פֿיל אַרעסטירט, אָבער די אַמעריקאַנער האָבן זײ גאָר נישט געטאָן. װען מ'האָט דערקענט אַן עס־עס, װאָס ער האָט, עה . . . [אומקלאָר] . . . איז האָבן די אַמעריקאַנער נישט געלאָזט [אומקלאָר].

David Boder

די אַמעריקאַנער . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

האָבן נישט געלאָזט צו טאָן [גאָר נישט (?)].

David Boder

Zey hobn nisht erlaubt . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, sie haben nisht erlaubt.

David Boder

אַה. צו טאָן זײ עפּעס.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In English] No.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Aha. So, wo haben die yidishe layte bekomen de biksn [umklor: (un nokh vas?/un al das?)]?

Polia Bisenhaus

זײ האָבן נישט באַקומען, זײ האָבן אַלײן גענומען פֿון די נאַציס, װען זײ האָבן אַװעקגעװאָרפֿן די, די . . . ביקסן -

David Boder

Oh.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . האָבן זײ עס אַלײן גענומען!

David Boder

[In German/English] Aha. So. And wie . . . and then . . . wieso sind Sie gekommen nach Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נאָך פּאַריז? האָט מיך דער אָנקל מיט דער טאַנטע אַהערגענומען.

David Boder

Fun vu, in Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

Fun, eh . . . Ja, sie wohnen hier, eh . . .

David Boder

Oh, sie haben hier in Paris gelebt?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, in Paris . . . [umklor].

David Boder

Haben Sie gehat den die Adresse?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, איך האָב נישט געהאַט די אַדרעסע, נאָר זײ האָבן זיך דערװוּסט פֿון אַ [אומקלאָר], אױף אַ ליסט . . .

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . װאָס מ'האָט איבערגעשיקט פֿון לאַגער, האָט מען זיך דערװוּסט פֿון אַמעריקע, דער אָנקל האָט זיך אָפּגעפֿרעגט [אומקלאָר] נאָך פּאַריז, װער דאָס איז, די ביזענהאַוס [אומקלאָר ( . . . געזען אױף דער ליסט?)]. האָבן אונדז נישט געװוּסט, װײַל זײ האָבן מיך נישט געקענט . . . אַז איך בין אַװעק, בין איך געװעזן זײער יונג, נו, נאַכהער האָבן זיך . . .

David Boder

[אומקלאָר]

Polia Bisenhaus

נאַכהער האָבן זײ זיך דערװוּסט, האָבן זײ מיך אַהערגענומען.

David Boder

Haben Sie ahergenumen aus Paris. Und wie lange sind Sie in Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

אין פּאַריז בין איך זעקס מאָנאַט.

David Boder

6 monat? [In English] And [In German/Yiddish] Sie wollen gehen nach Palestina?

Polia Bisenhaus

Hm.

David Boder

Beser den nakh amerike.

Polia Bisenhaus

Beser den nakh amerike.

David Boder

Vu haben Sie . . . wen haben Sie dort in . . . eh . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

אין פּאַלעסטינע האָב איך צװײ טאַנטעס.

David Boder

און װוּ?

Polia Bisenhaus

[אומקלאָר] זײ װױנען אין . . . האַדעראַ.

David Boder

In Hadera? Und Sie denken, dass sie kÃnnen Sie . . . eh, tsunemen oder . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

איך דענק. זײ קענען מיך נישט, נאָר איך מוז דורך אַ קיבוץ . . . דורך הכשרה מוז איך . . . [אומקלאָר].

David Boder

Durch [In English] what?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] דורך אַ הכשרה. דורך אַ קיבוץ. [אומקלאָר]

David Boder

Verstehen Sie [In English] Hebrew?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נו, איך קען נישט, איך האָב געקענט אַ ביסל â איך [האָב] דאָך פֿאַרגעסן, װײַל איך לערן זיך פֿראַנצױזיש און . . .

David Boder

Sie lernen sich FranzÃsisch hier? Und die/Ihr Onkel und Tante leben hier schon lange [in Paris (?)]?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, sie sind shoyn hier 17 yor.

David Boder

Aha. Eh . . . ich will Sie noch etwas bitten.

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja?

David Boder

Wenn ikh, eh . . . ikh bin a profesor und ikh studiere diese Sachen, verstehen Sie? Aber, ich will sehen, Sie werden mir geben die Adresse von Ihrem Onkel und von der . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

אָבער די גענױע אַדרעסע האָב איך נישט, נאָר . . .

David Boder

[אומקלאָר]

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . האָב איך אין דער הײם.

David Boder

Ah, ich vil kimen morgn und ibermorgn und so on (?) . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja, ja. Kumt ir . . . hier . . . morgn auch?

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

װעל איך ברענגען מײַן אַדרעסע . . .

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . פֿון מײַן אָנקל, פֿון . . . יאָ?

David Boder

Ja. Und ich werde Ihren Onkel dann besuchen . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ. דאָס איז זײער אינטערעסאַנט . . . איר װעט איבערגעבן אַ גרוס, איר האָט מיך געזען אין אָר"ט . . . עה . . .

David Boder

Ja. Er wird sich sehr freuen.

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, יאָ! איך, עה . . . נאַטירלעך!

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish/English] [unintelligible] . . .this? Eh . . . This is a bild from a berimtn, eh . . . eh . . . kinstler. From di letzte 3 Jahre, was Sie sich haben derlebt: was denken Sie, meint dies Bild?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נו, דאָס בילד איז פֿון, פֿון אַ פֿרױ, װי, גלײב איך, אַז מע האָט זי דעפּאָרטירט און זי האָט אַלעס פֿאַרלױרן, און זי איז פֿאַרצװײפֿלט, זי קלערט װאָס צו טאָן, זי האָט נישט קײן אױסװעג.

David Boder

Hm. Und was denken Sie, is this bild?

Polia Bisenhaus

Das bild, das iz . . . auch fun de krig, un . . . das ist far de krig [or no?]?

David Boder

Ja . . . Nu . . .?

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָס איז . . . דאָס מוז זײַן . . . נו, אַ [אומקלאָר].

David Boder

Ja. Und was denken Sie, hat ihm passiert?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, אױך דאָס זעלבע â ער האָט אַלעס פֿאַרלױרן, די, די . . . די גאַנצע פֿאַמיליע â איז געבליבן אַלײן, אַזױ װי איך . . . איך בין אױך געבליבן אַלײן פֿון דער גאַנצער פֿאַמיליע. דאָס!

David Boder

Was is dis/this?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, דאָס איז, עה, דענק איך â איך װײס נישט, אױב ס'איז . . ., אױב דאָס שטימט!

David Boder

Ja. Aber natÃrlich. Was denken Sie?

Polia Bisenhaus

איך דענק, אַז ער װײנט נאָך זײַן פֿרױ, װי זי איז געשטאָרבן, אָדער דאָס איז זײַן טאָכטער, איך װײס נישט גענױ . . . [אומקלאָר (איך קען זען נישט די אױגן [?])]

David Boder

Und was denken Sie, [In English] is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German/Yiddish] Das? . . . [umklor]

David Boder

Sprechen Sie lauter . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . צו אַנטלױפֿן, נו, װוּ צו באַהאַלטן . . . [נו, און אַלעס פֿעלט אים (?)].

David Boder

Und was denken Sie, [In English] is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German/Yiddish] Das . . . nu, di arbet . . . [umklor]

David Boder

[unverstÃndlich]

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . מע אַרבעט, אין פֿעלד!

David Boder

Wo, denken Sie [In English], is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] נו, דאָס איז נישט פּאַלעסטינע? נו! פֿילײַכט! פֿילײַכט איז פּאַלעסטינע! יאָ. דאָס איז זײער שײן. מע אַרבעט, יאָ? אַ חלוץ אַרבעט אין פֿעלד. נו, דאָס איז זײער שײן!

David Boder

Sagen Sie, haben Sie eine Vater und Mutter?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, מײַן פֿאָטער און מוטער â דעפּאָרטירט. די גאַנצע פֿאַמיליע דעפּאָרטירט . . .

David Boder

Wenn hat men sie deportiert?

Polia Bisenhaus

צװײ און פֿערציקסטן יאָר.

David Boder

Ven Sie weren noch in Kielce?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, װען איך װאַר אין, עה, אין קיעלצע [קעלץ]. איך װאַר נאָך אין דער הײַם. נאָר איך בין געשיקט פֿון קעלץ האָט מען אונדז [געברענגט (?)] פֿון אונדזער שטאָט אין אַ, עה . . . פֿון . . . סע געװעזן . . . אַ שאָפּ â דאָס איז . . . פֿון אַלע פֿאַכן . . .

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, בין איך אַרײַן אין אַזאַ מין שאָפּ, האָב באַצאָלט געלט, מע האָט מיך אַרײַנגענומען דאָ . . . און נאַכהער, נאָך אַכט טעג [,,, אומקלאָר] בין איך געװעזן אין, עה . . . שאָפּ, נאַכהער האָט מען מיך געשיקט נאָך, עה, קעלץ.

David Boder

[אומקלאָר]

Polia Bisenhaus

און מײַן פֿאַמיליע האָט מען דעפּאָרטירט â איך װײס נישט, װוּ זײ זענען.

David Boder

װען האָט מען דעפּאָרטירט די פֿאַמיליע?

Polia Bisenhaus

צװײ און פֿערציק, דאָס איז, עה, נו . . . װי הײסט . . .

David Boder

Nu, aber ich meine: wie lange, nachdem di daytshn sind gekumen, hot men deportirt di familye?

Polia Bisenhaus

אָה, די דײַטשן זענען געקומען, עה, אין נײַן און דרײַסיק! נײַן און דרײַסיק.

David Boder

יאָ.

Polia Bisenhaus

און די עלטערן האָט מען דעפּאָרטירט אין צװײ און פֿערציק.

David Boder

די עלטערן האָט מען דעפּאָרטירט אין צװײ און פֿערציק.

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja. '42.

David Boder

Waren Sie zu Hause, ven men hot zi hat deportirt?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, ikh var gar nisht zu Hause.

David Boder

Sie waren in Kelts [Kielce].

Polia Bisenhaus

Ja.

David Boder

Hatten Sie, haben Sie BrÃder und Schwestern?

Polia Bisenhaus

איך האָב געהאַט . . . הײַנט האָב איך נישט קײן [אומקלאָר (מער געזען [?] / מיט די זעקס (?)] פֿון דער גאַנצער פֿאַמיליע.

David Boder

װיפֿיל ברידער און שװעסטער האָט איר געהאַט?

Polia Bisenhaus

איך האָב געהאַט צװײ ברידער און דרײַ שװעסטער . . .

David Boder

In wo sind sie?

Polia Bisenhaus

דעפּאָרטירט! צװײ ברידער װאַרען אין, עה . . . [אומקלאָר] און זענען מער נישטאָ. פֿילײַכט [מען זײ (?)] דערמאָרדעט [אומקלאָר â אין סטאַרשוס? סטאַלשוס?] . . .

David Boder

Hmhm.

Polia Bisenhaus

[umklor]

David Boder

Was . . . soll ich Ihrem Onkel in Chicago sagen?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, was ihr wollt sagen! Nu, ir hat . . .

David Boder

Sind Sie glÃcklich hier?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, יאָ, איך בין זײער גוט בײַ מײַן טאַנטע, בײַ מײַן אָנקל . . .

David Boder

Aha. Und Sie studieren hier . . . Sie lernen im ORT?

Polia Bisenhaus

יאָ, איך לערן זיך אין אָר"ט סוטיען גאָרזש.

David Boder

Was is it?

Polia Bisenhaus

סוטיען גאָרזש לערן איך זיך.

David Boder

Was ist das?

Polia Bisenhaus

דאָס איז . . . קאָרסעטן און, עה . . . נו, סוטיען גאָרזש â פֿאַר, פֿאַר פֿרױען.

David Boder

Und was machen Sie am Tage?

Polia Bisenhaus

Nu, am Tage makh ikh gar nisht, heute makh ikh gar nisht.

David Boder

Sie arbeiten nicht?

Polia Bisenhaus

נו, איך אַרבעט נישט, איך בין בײַ דער טאַנטע.

David Boder

[In English] This is a record of Polia Bisenhaus taken at the ORT school, evening course, on July 29th, in Paris, 1946.

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

[In German] Now you talk into this.

Polia Bisenhaus

Now what shall I talk.

David Boder

I shall tell you. Now tell me Polia, what is your full name?

Polia Bisenhaus

What?

David Boder

What is your name?

David Boder

[In English] What's your name?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German] My name? Polia Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Say it again . . .

David Boder

[In English] Polia what?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German] Polia Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Bisenhaus?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bisenhaus.

David Boder

Bisenhaus.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Yes.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] Where are you from?

Polia Bisenhaus

I? - from Poland.

David Boder

You are from Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Yes.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] From what city in Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

Stashu.

David Boder

Stashu?

Polia Bisenhaus

Hm.

David Boder

What is that [In English] Russian? [In German/Yiddish] Russian-Poland, or.....?

Polia Bisenhaus

It was in Poland....

David Boder

Come nearer a bit. Was it Russian Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

Russian Poland. Before the war [a few words not clear] it was Russian Poland.

David Boder

Yes. But during the war, were the Russians there or....

Polia Bisenhaus

The Russians.

David Boder

The Russians were there. All right now, tell me, and then when the Russians had left - when did the Germans come? Tell me the whole story.

Polia Bisenhaus

Well I was not there when the Russians arrived I was already in a lager with the Germans [She apparently refers to the end of the war]. I was not in Stashu.

David Boder

How did you get to Germany?

Polia Bisenhaus

I was in Kielce in [locality not clear] in a labor....in an ammunition lager, in a work lager; I worked at ammunitions, and afterwards in the year '44 I was evacuated to Germany.

David Boder

So. But where did you live when the Russians came?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well I was not under the Russians.

David Boder

You were not under the Russians?

Polia Bisenhaus

I was liberated by the Americans.

David Boder

And you were not under the Russians.

Polia Bisenhaus

No, I was not under the Russians, I was liberated by the Americans.

David Boder

Yes. Now then in what kind of a lager were you? Where were you in a lager?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Poland I was in a lager, a labor lager; and in Germany I was in an annihilation lager.

David Boder

An annihilation camp?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Yes.

David Boder

[In German/English] Alright. Tell me about that labor camp.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In German/Yiddish] Well we were working twelve hours a day. One week during the day, one week during the night.

David Boder

What work did you do?

Polia Bisenhaus

Ammunitions. That is....ammunitions....

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

/a few words not clear]

David Boder

Oh. That was a factory.

Polia Bisenhaus

....a factory. [In French] Yes.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Now then, and what did they give you to eat?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Poland it was not bad. In Poland the food was fair, some days there was meat, but in Germany it was very bad.

David Boder

Aha. But that was in Poland. And how long did you work in Poland?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Poland? Three years.

David Boder

Three years. And why were you moved from there?

Polia Bisenhaus

When the Russians approached Kielce we were sent to Częstochowa. And afterwards, when they approached Częstochowa we were sent to Germany. [two or three words not clear]

David Boder

Aha. Why did you tell me that you were in an annihilation camp? Which camp was that?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bergen-Belsen.

David Boder

Bergen-Belsen?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Oui.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] Ohhh! What were you doing there?

Polia Bisenhaus

There we did nothing. We were sitting around and we got no food. We got ten deca of bread [about three ounces] per day, but on certain days there was no bread either. They would say.... the bread did not arrive [??] and they gave us no food. And when the SS would come, and ask "why were you not given food today", so they said, the SS told us to say that we had stolen.

David Boder

You should say that?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, that we should say that we had stolen and that is why we don't get any, we have food punishment.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

And that is why we got no food.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

And that happened many times during the week.

David Boder

Aha. And how did you sleep. Tell me about that.

Polia Bisenhaus

We slept on the ground, and it was....all day we were sitting on the ground, on the same straw, and afterwards at night we slept on the same place. It was very dirty there. Many died from the dirt that was there.

David Boder

What did the Germans say? Why were you held there?

Polia Bisenhaus

They told us nothing about why they held us there. They did not tell us but we knew, that they held us because they wanted to annihilate us, but they did not succeed.

David Boder

All right. Did they annihilate there other people?

Polia Bisenhaus

[two words not clear] When the people were weak, and were becoming weaker from day to day because they were not given any food, so they annihilated them. There was....well a chamber where they gassed [gas-killed] them, and afterwards they burned....well that all is known what the Germans have done.

David Boder

How come you say it is well known? In America they know very little.

Polia Bisenhaus

Oh, they know in America. The periodicals have written a lot. Don't they know?

David Boder

Oh yes, some people know, some people don't. That's why I want....do you have relatives in America?

Polia Bisenhaus

Oui, I have relatives in America.

David Boder

Where are your relatives?

Polia Bisenhaus

One uncle is in New York and one is in Chicago.

David Boder

You have an uncle in Chicago?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Yes.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] I am from Chicago.

Polia Bisenhaus

Bisenhaus. It is the same name.

David Boder

Bisenhaus?

Polia Bisenhaus

Bisenhaus. He is an uncle of my father.

David Boder

Do you wish that I should see your uncle?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In French] Yes! [In German/Yiddish] I should like to see him very much. But I should like....

David Boder

Do you want me to see your uncle, that I should talk to him?

Polia Bisenhaus

[rather indifferent] Yes, why not?

David Boder

Do you want to come to America?

Polia Bisenhaus

I don't know. I would very much like to go to Palestine.

David Boder

You want very much....

Polia Bisenhaus

Because I have there two aunts, and I would like better to go to Palestine. Yes, I think, for me it will be better than in America.

David Boder

Do you want to say something to your uncle?

Polia Bisenhaus

To my uncle?

David Boder

Yes. I shall call him to my house and have him listen to the machine. [There ensuses a conversation. It was apparently not clear to her that the conversation is being recorded] He will hear what you are saying.

Polia Bisenhaus

What I am saying, he will hear?

David Boder

Yes, yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

And what he says I would not hear? Oh, that is no good. I want to hear him too.

David Boder

[In English] No, no, no. [In German] No, no. Here you may simply say something, just like on a radio.

Polia Bisenhaus

But I don't know his address.

David Boder

Oh, I will find him.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes?

David Boder

Yes. I shall find him. You will later give me his address. I shall take it down and I will find him.

Polia Bisenhaus

Right now.

David Boder

No, no. You just say now what you want to tell to your uncle, and when I shall return to Chicago, I shall have this machine, and I shall ask him to my house and I shall let him hear what you are saying.

Polia Bisenhaus

So, and when will you be home?

David Boder

In five weeks.

Polia Bisenhaus

Five weeks?

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

Well, that is good [She apparently was unable to grasp the situation].

David Boder

Now say something.

Polia Bisenhaus

Now can I say anything? If I could talk to him I would have a lot to say.

David Boder

Now for example, what would you like to tell to your uncle?

Polia Bisenhaus

What I would like....how he was, how he feels, what is he doing.

David Boder

So. Do you want him to do something for you?

Polia Bisenhaus

For you? [She is apparently bewildered by the German second person plural].

David Boder

Do you want him to do something for you? Has he sent you money?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well he sends me....yes.

David Boder

He sends you....?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, but I am learning a trade so that I may earn something myself. It is not nice that the uncle should have to send me [money]. He may send it once, twice, three times, but it is not proper.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

I am not sick, one does not have to support me, I want to become independent, I want to earn [something] myself.

David Boder

Speak louder. Is he a rich man, your uncle?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, he is not poor.

David Boder

How many weeks, how many months were you in Belsen, in Belsen?

Polia Bisenhaus

I was three months in Bergen-Belsen.

David Boder

Three months?

Polia Bisenhaus

Three months.

David Boder

Were many people exterminated there?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes. Many people died. Because at the appell.....

David Boder

Um.

Polia Bisenhaus

Do you know what an appell is?

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

They would call out people, they were going completely naked, with nothing on....

David Boder

Why had they nothing on?

Polia Bisenhaus

They have taken away everything that we had yet from home. All their clothes. They have given such stripes.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

[a few words not clear]....without shoes or stockings we were going around in the greatest....January, in the greatest cold, January, February, these are the greatest colds, and we were going around almost naked, all shorn [?] without food, without sleep, without washing, so many of course died.

David Boder

Did the Nazie molest the woman, did they.....

Polia Bisenhaus

....beat them?

David Boder

No, I mean were they indescent with the woman?

Polia Bisenhaus

That of course is understood. [She apparently did not understand the allusion to sex]

David Boder

[In English] What do you mean, "it is understood?"

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] They behaved very badly towards the women. They have beaten us frequently. When one did not stand straight at the appell, when in the cold one would cuddle up next to the other, and they would beat [us] over the head, and otherwise drag us around.

David Boder

Now tell me for example, what were people doing all day in Belsen. Say you got up in the morning - at what time?

Polia Bisenhaus

In the morning there was an appell to get up say at four o'clock, three o'clock, five o'clock.

David Boder

Nu.

Polia Bisenhaus

So we went to wash. For washing there was a room a very small one; cold water very cold, and we would go in there completely naked, and many of us caught cold.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

And the organism [She uses the word organ with a slurred ending] is weak, one did not eat; one washes himself with cold water.

David Boder

Were there men or women who.....

Polia Bisenhaus

Women, these were.

David Boder

I mean the Nazis.

Polia Bisenhaus

The Nazis? There were women and men. But the women were much worse to us. They were much worse to us than the men.

David Boder

How come?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well, the women were beating us terribly, they were beating us. There were many Jews [women] Turkish and Romanian [Jews] who were the lager leaders, lager trusties and they were much worse than the Nazis.

David Boder

You mean to say there were Jewish lager leaders?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes.

David Boder

And....

Polia Bisenhaus

And they were very mean to us, very mean.

David Boder

There were Jewish lager leaders and they have.....

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, yes, they behaved very mean.

David Boder

Towards the other Jews?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, yes. Very mean.

David Boder

Now tell me then. You would get up at three, four in the morning, and you went to wash, then what?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, afterwards they have gave us coffee, black coffee; many times we would not get that either, and without bread.

David Boder

Without bread. [In English] All right.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] Yes. And afterwards at twelve o'clock, half past eleven, eleven, however it would happen, it was dinner time. At dinner time there was a bit of soup, three-quarters of a liter, sometimes half a liter, sometimes not even a half a liter, that was with turnips. If one would find three pieces of turnips in a soup that was considered already very good. That was already a good soup.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

And afterwards at five o'clock at four o'clock, sometimes at six o'clock there was bread, a little piece of bread, divided among ten people, twelve people.

David Boder

Hm....

Polia Bisenhaus

It would come out maybe eight deca of bread, ten deca of bread a piece. That was the meal.

David Boder

And then in the evening. And then what were you doing after the meal?

Polia Bisenhaus

Afterwards we kept on sitting like all of the day. During the appell we got our dinner.

David Boder

Oh.

Polia Bisenhaus

The appell took place every day.

David Boder

What do you call the appell? What was the appell?

Polia Bisenhaus

The appell is the count, whether somebody had escaped, whether somebody had died, so they would know exactly how many are to be handed over to the [next]shift, how many there were in the lager.

David Boder

Aha.

Polia Bisenhaus

How many women, men....[?] It happened many times that the appell lasted four, five hours. And many people collapsed at the appell, from the cold and from fatigue, from hunger.

David Boder

And what was done with them?

Polia Bisenhaus

[She apparently did not get the question]. Well afterwards we went....often they made an appell - not to stand outdoors [??] but they took us to work. The work consisted in carrying sticks, all kinds of lumber from one yard into the other. That was the work.....was nothing, but they beat us many times when we could not run so fast and [word not clear].

David Boder

Hm....now tell me was there a doctor?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, there was a doctor, a dentist.

David Boder

A dentist, did he do anything for the prisoners? Did he do something for them?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well, he pulled teeth. He pulled them out if one had a toothache, he took out teeth.

David Boder

[In English/Yiddish] Was it a German doctor?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] No. [??] There was a German doctor, there was a Jewish doctor.

David Boder

A Jewish doctor....

Polia Bisenhaus

A Jewish doctor.

David Boder

Aha. And [a pause] tell me and then how were you liberated?

Polia Bisenhaus

Liberated I was from Dachau by the Americans.

David Boder

Now come, were you sent from Belsen....?

Polia Bisenhaus

From Belsen there were afterwards still three lagers.

David Boder

Tell me about them.

Polia Bisenhaus

After Belsen we were in Burgau, and afterwards in Turkenheim.

David Boder

[In English] Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] In Burgau we were three weeks, or four weeks. Afterwards, in Turkenheim I was two weeks. Afterwards when [one word not clear] the Americans approached we were led to Dachau and there we were liberated, the 30-th of ....

David Boder

Now were you transported from one lager to the other, by train, by truck, how?

Polia Bisenhaus

From Bergen-Belsen to Burgau we traveled in wagons [RR cars].

David Boder

In wagons?

Polia Bisenhaus

In wagons.

David Boder

And how long did that last?

Polia Bisenhaus

It lasted a whole eight days. Eight days it lasted - the trip.

David Boder

And...

Polia Bisenhaus

And we did not get any food on the way, and there were bombardments, and many were killed by bombs.

David Boder

Were also your people killed, how come?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, yes.

David Boder

How, did the bombs fall....

Polia Bisenhaus

The bombs fell

David Boder

On the train?

Polia Bisenhaus

On the train, one could not run away.

David Boder

How could you run away if you were in the train?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well, on the other side...

David Boder

Oh, the train was standing?

Polia Bisenhaus

When they bombarded the train would stand.

David Boder

And the Nazis too?

Polia Bisenhaus

The Nazis have run away. They hid. They were shooting, they shot at the planes and ...

David Boder

Did they permit you to hide?

Polia Bisenhaus

They did not see it. They themselves were in a mix-up, because they themselves wanted to run away.

David Boder

Well then....and then you marched eight days, where from?

Polia Bisenhaus

And then we marched eight days from Turkenheim to Dachau.

David Boder

Turkenheim to Dachau. Now tell me you came to Dachau. What were you doing there?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Dachau it was already a few days before liberation. We arrived, and the SS said to the leaders, who brought us: 'Why did you bring these people, I don't need them;' So they said, 'we don't know, because they wanted to hide [save themselves], what shall we do with these people?' And the SS leader said: 'Oh I know well what to do with these people.' He lined us up, and we thought that they were going to shoot us, because there was a rumor [??] that so will be done with all Jews. Afterwards there came an order, and they ran away, and when the gestapo saw this they ran away. And afterwards we were led into a block, already there were....

David Boder

What do you mean?

Polia Bisenhaus

The SS already behaved themselves with the Jews, the Jews already started taking over. They saw that liberation was near, they took us into a block [she speaks with excitement]. The people were tired, eight days walking on foot, and in the morning when we came out we saw no more SS. They were all gone. And in the air up high were people standing and they showed white flags [??] and there were standing already Jewish prisoners.

David Boder

Jewish prisoners?

Polia Bisenhaus

Jewish prisoners, with guns, and they have taken over the service from the Nazis.

David Boder

Yes. Now....

Polia Bisenhaus

One saw that things have changed.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

Afterwards the Nazis tried to get out of the lager, they still wanted to kill the few Jews, but they failed, because the Americans had come.

David Boder

They failed. So how many days were you in Dachau?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Dachau I was three weeks already after liberation. Afterwards..

David Boder

But before liberation? How long were you....

Polia Bisenhaus

Well I was there two days.

David Boder

Two days only, in Dachau.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, two days.

David Boder

And then came liberation.

Polia Bisenhaus

Then came liberation. And we were liberated by the Americans, and that was already good.

David Boder

Yes. Were many SS arrested when the Americans came?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, many were arrested, but the Americans did not do anything. They [the prisoners] recognized an SS who did much evil to the Jews[??], but the Americans did not permit to do anything to him.

David Boder

What did the Americans do?

Polia Bisenhaus

They did not want to do anything.

David Boder

They did not permit....

Polia Bisenhaus

No, they did not permit

David Boder

....to do anything to him.

Polia Bisenhaus

[In English] No.

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish] So where did the Jewish men get the rifles....?

Polia Bisenhaus

They did not get them, they took them from the Nazis, when they threw away their rifles.

David Boder

Oh.

Polia Bisenhaus

And they took them right away.

David Boder

Aha. And now how did you happen to come to Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

To Paris I was taken by an uncle and an aunt.

David Boder

Where from? From Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, they were already here.

David Boder

Oh, they have lived already in Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, they lived in Paris [??]

David Boder

Did you have the address?

Polia Bisenhaus

No, I had no address, but they found out from a [word not clear] from a list.

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

It was sent out from the lager, so it became known in America. The uncle made inquiries in Paris, who....that was the Bisenhaus from Labush [??]. The first did not know, and they did not know me, because I was still very fatigued [??], afterwards they found out they took me over here.

David Boder

They took you over to Paris. And how long are you now in Paris?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Paris I am six months.

David Boder

Six months. And you plan to go to Palestine.

Polia Bisenhaus

Hm.

David Boder

Better than to go to America?

Polia Bisenhaus

Better than to go to America.

David Boder

Who do you know. Who do you have in Palestine?

Polia Bisenhaus

In Palestine I have two aunts.

David Boder

Where?

Polia Bisenhaus

[words not clear] in Hadera [??]

David Boder

And you think that they can take you over.

Polia Bisenhaus

They don't know me but I have to go there through a Kibbutz a Hachshara.

David Boder

Through what?

Polia Bisenhaus

I can go through a Hachshara, through a Kibbutz.

David Boder

Do you understand Hebrew?

Polia Bisenhaus

No, I don't know. The little I knew I have forgotten, because I study now French.

David Boder

You study French here, and your uncle and aunt live here already a long time?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes. They are here already seventeen years.

David Boder

Aha. I wish to ask you for something.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes.

David Boder

I am a professor who studies these things you understand. But I shall see, if you give me the address of your uncle....

Polia Bisenhaus

I have the address at home.

David Boder

I shall be here tomorrow and after tomorrow.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, yes. Will you come here . . . in the morning too?

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

Well I will bring the address . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

. . . for my uncle, yes?

David Boder

Yes. And I will visit your uncle then . . .

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, he will be very interested . . . you will tell him you have seen me at ORT . . .

David Boder

Yes. He will be very happy.

Polia Bisenhaus

Well, yes. Naturally!

David Boder

[In German/Yiddish/English] [unintelligible] [Here I showed her one of the TAT cards. âD.P.B.] This is a picture by a prominent artist. From the last three years of your experiences, what do you think does this picture mean?

Polia Bisenhaus

[In Yiddish/German] Well this picture is of a woman, I believe she has lost everything, who is worried about what to do, she has no way out.

David Boder

And what do you think is this picture about?

Polia Bisenhaus

This picture is about the war, this is about the war.

David Boder

Yes, go on.

Polia Bisenhaus

That is [word not clear]

David Boder

Yes, what do you think happened to him?

Polia Bisenhaus

Well he has lost everything. The whole family, he has remained alone. [word not clear] I too have remained alone of the whole family.

David Boder

And what is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

And this. I don't know. It is a [word not clear].

David Boder

But what do you think?

Polia Bisenhaus

I think he is thinking about his wife, who has died. And this is his daughter. I don't know [word not clear].

David Boder

And what do you think is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

This? [a pause, she says only a few words which are not clear].

David Boder

And what do think is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

[a few words not clear]

David Boder

And what do you think is this?

Polia Bisenhaus

Is it not Palestine?

David Boder

Maybe.

Polia Bisenhaus

Maybe. He works, he works in the field, and that is very nice.

David Boder

Tell me, do you have a father and mother?

Polia Bisenhaus

No. my father and mother were deported with the whole family.

David Boder

When were they deported?

Polia Bisenhaus

Five or six years ago [??]

David Boder

When you were still in Kielce.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, when I still was in Kielce. I was still home. I was sent from Kielce, we were taken to the city where there was a .....shop [She uses the English word - like so many DPs] for all kinds of trades. And I went to the shop, money was paid [apparently a bribe to gain occupational deferment from deportation] and I was accepted, and afterwards I was eight [eighteen??] days I was in the shop and then I was sent to Kielce. And the family was deported and I don't know where they are.

David Boder

When was the family deported?

Polia Bisenhaus

'42.

David Boder

I mean how long after the Nazis came was the family deported?

Polia Bisenhaus

Oh, the Germans had come in '39. In '39....

David Boder

Yes.

Polia Bisenhaus

....and the parents were deported in '42.

David Boder

The parents were deported in '42.

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes, in '42.

David Boder

Were you home when they were deported?

Polia Bisenhaus

No I was not home.

David Boder

You were in Kielce?

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes.

David Boder

Do you have brothers and sisters?

Polia Bisenhaus

I had[word not clear] but I am alone of the six of the whole family [there is a great deal of noise, the last sentence may be incorrect].

David Boder

How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Polia Bisenhaus

I had two brothers, and three sisters.

David Boder

And where are they?

Polia Bisenhaus

Deported. My brothers were in Skarżysko and they are no more. Maybe they were murdered in Skarżysko.

David Boder

Now what shall I tell your uncle in Chicago?

Polia Bisenhaus

Now whatever you want to tell him. That you have....

David Boder

Are you all right here

Polia Bisenhaus

Yes. I have it good here, with my aunt, with my uncle.

David Boder

And you study here, you learn....

Polia Bisenhaus

I learn at the ORT to make soutien gorge [brassiers]

David Boder

What is that?

Polia Bisenhaus

Soutien gorge I learn....

David Boder

What is that?

Polia Bisenhaus

These are corsets well, soutien gorge.

David Boder

And what are you doing in the day time? [The interview took place at an ORT night school.]

Polia Bisenhaus

During the day I do nothing. Now I do nothing.

David Boder

Don't you work?

Polia Bisenhaus

No I do not work during the day. [It was hard for DPs to get work permits in Paris.]

David Boder

[In English] This is a record of Polia Bisenhaus taken at the ORT school, evening course, on July 29th, in Paris, 1946.