David P. Boder Interviews Fania Freilich; August 9, 1946; Paris, France

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

This is Spool number 36. The interviewee is Mrs. Freida Freilich, nÃe Volovska. She was born in AugustÃw, in Poland, forty-four years ago. She lives now in Paris. She is the wife of the concierge at the building that originally belongs, or possibly now belongs, to the [unintelligible] Hotel that is rented for a home of transient displaced people. [Her husband works at present as a janitor.]

David Boder

Now tell me, Mrs. Volovska, how long are you in Paris?

Fania Freilich

Since '37.

David Boder

Your are in Paris since 1837?

Fania Freilich

[correcting] 1937.

David Boder

Of course, 1937. And where from did you come to Paris?

Fania Freilich

From Luxembourg.

David Boder

And why did you come from Luxembourg to Paris?

Fania Freilich

Because we have heard about the things that are starting in Germany, upsets with Hitler. Yes.

David Boder

So you left Luxembourg and came to Paris.

Fania Freilich

To hide in Paris.

David Boder

In Paris, yes. Now how many people were in your family?

Fania Freilich

Six people.

David Boder

Who?

Fania Freilich

Three daughters and a son.

David Boder

Three daughters and a son and... your husband?

Fania Freilich

My husband, of course.

David Boder

Your husband, of course. All right. Now will you please tell me Mrs. Freilich, what happened here and what happened to you personally from the time the Germans had come.

Fania Freilich

From the time the Germans had come. The Germans arrived in the year '43. It was the thirteenth of June. Not in July, in June.

David Boder

In June, yes.

Fania Freilich

Yes. We saw the first ones arriving in Paris. We lived not far from the city gates. I saw the first Germans. I was together with a number of women friends. Many of them, seeing the Germans (because they have already run away from Austria and Germany) fainted on the streets. And the Germans gave orders that people shouldn't run, they should be calm, nothing will be done to them. Yes. So we stood on the streets, three, four, five days.

David Boder

What do you mean, "you stood on the streets?"

Fania Freilich

On the streets. Four-five days it lasted. The marching in of the Germans. They continued coming. Germans, and machine guns and war things with tanks, with horses.

David Boder

Why were you on the street?

Fania Freilich

Everybody was on the streets. People were not afraid of them.

David Boder

Oh, you were not afraid of them.

Fania Freilich

No, no. Not at their arrival. Nobody believed the German refugees -- what they were telling.

David Boder

Oh. And what were the German refugees telling?

Fania Freilich

They were telling that the men were taken to Dachau and they were allowed only a bundle of ten kilos and driven out of their homes, and [that the Germans] have taken away their wealth and when they came to Paris and told these things people did not believe. We said, A people such as the German people! one cannot believe that they will do such things to human beings. Alore, they were with us until '41. [Here apparently is a discrepancy in the years, but for some reason I didn't interrupt her.] At the beginning they were distributing food to the population. To the children they would throw chocolate.

David Boder

The Germans?

Fania Freilich

Yes. Bonbons. That year passed; and it was not too bad.

David Boder

And what kind of work were people doing?

Fania Freilich

Things were going on normally just like always.

David Boder

And what was your husband doing?

Fania Freilich

My man was working -- we had a barber shop.

David Boder

Oh, he was a barber.

Fania Freilich

A barber. He had his own barber shop. Shaving and haircuts. Then, in a few months we closed the business because we had a premonition that we shall also have to run away from here.

David Boder

Did Germans come into his shop?

Fania Freilich

No. The Germans did not come there. Not then.

David Boder

How come?

Fania Freilich

Because we were in an outlying district. We had our Jewish clientele and Frenchmen. Germans did not come around there. Later in the year '41 the debacle started. First it was told that men should present themselves early for work.

David Boder

All men, or just

Fania Freilich

All men. Not far from our house among our neighbors there were people who had run away from Austria who have seen everything. There were two hundred families in one building. A kind of tenement. They took their little bundles and voluntarily presented themselves for work. They were told that they will be normally paid according to their earnings.

David Boder

What did they take in their bundles?

Fania Freilich

A shirt, a pair of pants.

David Boder

Did that mean that they were to be taken to work away from home?

Fania Freilich

To all kind of work. To repair the railroad tracks. Other such things -- work in the fields. The smart people did not go. Only the fools went and believed that the Germans still have a bit of heart, that they wanted nothing of them. My husband did not go. From our house a few neighbors went. Since my husband is a Polish citizen he had to go for an extension of his papers to the Prefecture every three months. So he was told that he has to present himself "voluntarily" for military service.

David Boder

He?

Fania Freilich

To the Polish army.

David Boder

Oh. Yes. Was there a Polish army? With the Germans?

Fania Freilich

That is what they said. And my husband went, complied with his duties, but he was set free because he had four children. That was that. He remained home.

David Boder

Did they know he was a Jew?

Fania Freilich

Yes, yes. And so things were going on. One was doing what one could and one lived.

David Boder

What was he doing?

Fania Freilich

Up to '43.

David Boder

What was he doing after he stopped working?

Fania Freilich

In the barbershop?

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

Oh, he was peddling a bit. He would go around to the homes of our acquaintances. He would cut hair, shave his old clients. So '42 passed. Afterwards in '42, the 16th of June, no the 15th; it was the 16th -- it was said that all men without exception must present themselves "voluntarily" for work. In Germany.

David Boder

The Jews or everybody?

Fania Freilich

Jews and all men.

David Boder

The Frenchmen, too.

Fania Freilich

Non-Jews, Jews, everybody. What can one do? So my husband says, now one has to go. This time one is unable to wiggle himself out because it was said that if the man will not present himself they will take the families and the children. And so I assembled a bundle for my husband. Various small things, underwear, and such things and a lot of neighbors from Pelmont all were sitting around and it was said on that night that those who have not presented themselves -- they will come and take them from the homes by force. Frenchmen. We were sitting there. The children slept in a kind of a vestibule -- a large room like here, in the vestibule. And my husband and I were sitting like here, at the window. It was already one; it was already two o'clock. We wanted to see what was going to happen. As I sit so with my husband we hear the gates opening and there enter about twenty motorcyclists with revolvers, gendarmes, police, inspectors, all Frenchmen. We saw no Germans. And they spread out over the four corners of the yard, all of them. Five or six men went up into each stairway. Soon the gates were shut and they started going from door to door. Ouvre la porte! We are doomed. They came in. They came in. So I thought that they have come to take my husband. And as if an angel had pushed my hand, I say to my husband, "You know what? I shall tell them that you are not here. Let them do what they want. They won't take me and the children. Certainly not. I will tell them that you are sick, that you are away in some hospital:, and the call: "Madame F."

David Boder

And where did he hide?

Fania Freilich

Just a minute. There was next to the door a kind of a kitchen. A small kitchen, with a kind of a door. So I gave him a push into that little kitchen and I posted myself in front of the door. So he comes in and says, "Where is your husband?" I say, "My husband isn't here. What do you want?"--"We have come to take everybody to go to work."

David Boder

Frenchmen?

Fania Freilich

Frenchmen. Speaking French. So I say, "My husband isn't here." So he says [The next section she gives in French as if giving the exact words of the French policemen. At my request, "What does it mean?" she repeats the whole passage in Yiddish, apparently with slight modifications. I am starting with her translation.] "Get dressed; get the children ready. Fix your bundles. This night, the 16th of July, 13th of July, we have an order to arrest women with children without exception and to send them to Drancy." Alors! I immediately fainted. But I pulled myself together so that my husband should not come out from hiding. And he stood in the corner by the door hidden well. I pulled myself together. The children, hearing it, started crying, and they all came into the room. "Mama, what are you doing?" And I said, "Yes, my child, the time has come. We have to go." [Here is a long pause and she weeps bitterly. Fully three sentences are not understandable due to loud and violent sobbing.] It was four o'clock in the morning. They had slept with such a savory sleep.

David Boder

Which children slept? You said that they have come into the room.

Fania Freilich

They slept in the other room. We didn't tell them that there is a second room. The arrangement was that if they will knock at our door, they should hide in the other room. The children heard the mother crying, they jumped up from their sleep and all came in naked to me and into the other room. So I said, "Children, we have to dress." [The next sentence isn't clear; she is still sobbing. The best I can get is, "We have to go, to go to the lager."] Just like this. One of them was nineteen. The second was sixteen years old. The boy was twelve years old and the little girl was eight years old. And there stood two inspectors and two policemen and they told us, "Take with you this, and take with you that, because you probably will have to be in the lager for a long time and it will be cold there. Take with you things to wear and you also had better take with you food, if you have got it."

David Boder

What month was it?

Fania Freilich

July. In the year '42, the 16th of July. That was a dark, bloody Thursday in Paris, when they took the first women with children. We made up our bundles. Everyone a bundle on the shoulder. We left everything behind, locked the door and the key they told us to hand to the janitor.

David Boder

Was the janitor a Jew?

Fania Freilich

A Gentile. And my husband was standing behind the door of the kitchen all in convulsions from the shock and he made signs to me that he wants to present himself voluntarily. So I didn't let him do it. I gave him a sign he should stay where he was, maybe the Lord will help that with his efforts we shall get free from the murderers. If one should remain at liberty maybe he will still be able to do something for us.

David Boder

That was good judgment.

Fania Freilich

What?

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

And so it was; I couldn't bid goodbye to my husband. My husband couldn't bid goodbye to the children. The door was shut and my heart felt like an iron bolt. Everything left behind. Each with a bundle on his shoulder and that is how we left home. When we got out into the yard we found about forty families sitting with their bundles. Small ones, grown-ups, mothers with children, old people, everybody was here. So I said to my neighbors: "See, we are meeting all together." "Yes", they say, "Time has come and we must go." We did not believe what the Germans refugees were telling us, and what the Austrian refugees told us. We considered the German people as people who have a bit of human heart, but now we see that everything they told us is true because they have experienced it before. They led us away to the comissariat for registration. In a large "shop" [she uses the word shop] the gendarmes, the police, the inspectors were working [with sarcasm] very efficiently. They did their work better even than the Germans have told them. Loyally. Frenchmen and Frenchwomen stood around, and around. All were rejoicing. The Jews are being taken away. They will have our apartments.

David Boder

[Here I am asking for an explanation of a word with which she designated the Frenchwomen.]

Fania Freilich

[impatiently] French Gentiles, Gentiles, Gentiles.

David Boder

You mean French women.

Fania Freilich

Women and men. Gentiles. "The Jews will be taken away. We will take their apartments; we will take their things. The jews are all rich and we have nothing. We shall have more to eat." They patted their bellies. They were rejoicing. The Jews were marching. Blood was flowing from their eyes. Two o'clock at night with no sleep, with sleepy children in their arms.

David Boder

And you were there with the three children?

Fania Freilich

Yes, with four children. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Alors. We were brought to the commisariat. They started writing and registering. The name is such and such, born then and then. Those with children were soon sent to Pithiviers.

David Boder

Where?

Fania Freilich

[somewhat irritated] Pithiviers.

David Boder

Pithiviers.

Fania Freilich

Yes. And those without children were sent to Drancy.

David Boder

What is Pithiviers?

Fania Freilich

Pithiviers is a concentration camp. In France.

David Boder

Far from Paris?

Fania Freilich

Not far from Paris. Some 15 kilometers.

David Boder

And Drancy?

Fania Freilich

Drancy was an armory. It was an armory afterwards converted into a concentration camp, also some fifteen, twelve kilometers away. Alors. That night they led us from the commisariat to the velodrom Iviere.

David Boder

The same night?

Fania Freilich

The same night. The registration lasted until dawn, until daybreak.

Fania Freilich

They led us to the velodrom, Iviere. The velodrom is, well the velodrom Iviere is such a place where they race on motocycles.

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

They ride around and around.

David Boder

Yes, yes, I understand. The races.

Fania Freilich

They go around and around on motorcycles.

David Boder

A racing place for motorcycles.

Fania Freilich

Yes. They could pack in there 100,000 people, but when I arrived with my children there wasn't even room enough to set down a bundle, and so--

David Boder

Were you walking on foot?

Fania Freilich

We had to go -- we went on trucks.

David Boder

Oh, you went on busses.

Fania Freilich

On autobusses from the commisariat to the velodrom Iviere. It is quite a distance, about three kilometers. To the commissariat we were led on foot.

David Boder

Yes, but from the commissariat to the velodrom?

Fania Freilich

From the commissariat to the velodrom?

David Boder

That was three kilometers. And how far was it from your house to the commissariat?

Fania Freilich

It was about half a kilometer. So we dragged ourselves through the night and at two o'clock... We arrived at the velodrom Iviere. I was not exactly in the best of health because I suffer from gall bladder. I was very sick. And the daughter of mine, had very much courage. She dragged the bundles. She got a hold of some straw that was lying around on the sides prepared for the people and she fixed a "lay-down." "Here, mother", she said, "here we will lie down and we shall sleep over the night." It was very hard to find some room. People were lying almost one over the other. Jammed together like herring and there was room for 100,000 people. That night was the night just like in a hell... hell.

David Boder

I understand.

Fania Freilich

Children cried, women fainted [here follow three French words pronounced very forcefully but indistinctly] And we lived to see the day. When day came they brought a bit of black coffee. They gave everybody a little coffee.

David Boder

For 100,000 people?

Fania Freilich

They did. We were not 100,00 people. We were about 50,000 people, but the bundles that everybody had with them -- we needed room for that. Everybody dragged with him whatever he could, and it required space for all these things. Some food was cooked and distributed afterwards for midday. The children got something thrown -- the children got something thrown to them. The Frenchmen pretended to be kind. [Mockingly] It was not their fault, the Germans were doing it. They would throw a cookie to a child, a bonbon, and constantly [the following sentence was said in French] "It is not we who are doing it, it is the Germans." Do you understand what it means?

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

It is not we who are doing this, but the Germans. We understood well that it was not done by the Germans. If they wouldn't have helped the Germans, the Germans would not have done it. Alors! At the velodrom Iviere I was four days with the children. During these five days the place was a battlefield. They carried away about five hundred dead, people who just died. The aged, the sick, the chronically ill, they couldn't stand it for more than a day or two. If they come into a house and lead out a person who has been lying sick and they take him away, where are they taking him away? -- To die! Just driven like sheep with a stave. Five hundred people, men, women, children died during these five days and in that whole place they had altogether two physicians who were ministering to 50,000 people.

David Boder

What kind of physicians were they?

Fania Freilich

Frenchmen, Murderers. I too was under them... murderers! They would deal with the people just as if these people had no business to be alive anymore. Hurry up, a tap with a stick and that is all. There were a few nurses because the people were very excited. Every time when a woman or a child would raise their voice crying the whole velodrom, as many as there were, could cry with them. The destruction of the temple! I personally could not cry any more. I had on my heart a sheet of iron. It wasn't that I had courage. I simply was prostrated. The children would bring a bit of water, a bit of tea, and so we remained there all these days. Every day some people were selected and went away. By and by, some to Pithiviers, some to Drancy. Those with children to Pithiviers. Single persons to Drancy. One who has not gone through the velodrom Iviere personally cannot imagine what was going on there. It is impossible Monsieur Professor, to present a picture of the events. Impossible. Impossible to make a picture of it. One had to have iron strength and a heart of a beast, of a horse. Words are of no avail. Meanwhile my husband succeeded to get out of the apartment and he hurried to a good friend of his who worked for the Germans. A furrier, who made fur coats for the winter, such little fur vests. And this one had the right to get out women and children from the velodrom whom the French had arrested. And there was a large "microphone" [Footnote: She of course refers to an address system.] in the middle of the place on the velodrom, and there they called out the names. Those families who were arrested whose men worked for the Germans and had certificates, certificates, those would be set free immediately. They were ordered to be set free. Here I saw they set free a family one day, then the next day a lot of families are being set free, and here I am very weak, and I say to my children, "Children, go to the microphone. Maybe our name too will be called. Maybe Father has done something for us. He has a good friend who works for the Germans; maybe he has gone to see him, maybe he has asked him" So they gave our name reversed.

David Boder

What does that mean?

Fania Freilich

Instead of Marcus Freilich, they called out, Marcus Marcus.

David Boder

Oh.

Fania Freilich

Marcus, Marcus. My daughter comes... "Mother, I don't hear Freilich. They called Marcus." So I say, "We are not Marcus, our last name is Freilich." "Mother, I don't know. Our father is lost. Probably the French have caught him and he too was sent away to the lager." Then they did call out for our family.

David Boder

Freilich, too?

Fania Freilich

No. Marcus. He gave them his name but they thought his last name is Marcus. And that his first name is Freilich. Well, he was a "Goische Kop" [stupid]

David Boder

Was he a Jew?

Fania Freilich

A Gentile.

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

... who worked for the Germans. And so, comes the fifth day. What can one do? There came our turn and they take us to Pithiviers. There is no liberator for us. They led us out five o'clock in the morning from the velodrom and there stood twenty large busses on the square and at the gate there stood about fifty gredarmes and policemen and inspectors and they led us just like they lead criminals, those who have committed the greatest crimes in the world. That is the way they led us. During the five days at the velodrom the place was terribly dirty. One didn't see any water for washing purposes. The toilets (if you excuse me) had overrun. There stood around a lot of acquaintances who were not arrested, with bundles -- all around the gates, to send in food for the children. But the Frenchmen fired at them and did not permit a single bundle to pass into the velodrom for the people. And as many people that came there with bundles for the unfortunate people, those who still remained free all had to go back. They were all driven away. Not a crum was permitted to pass. The people who were already there do not have to eat. They are doomed. Do you understand? That was all. And they have to return. They have spent heavy money and everything got spoiled, perished, and they had to throw it out and the French did not admit into the velodrom even an ounce of bread, and no food, and that was during the fruit season. Children were running around with starved lips, blue, and the French wouldn't pass a single piece of fruit for the children. And so we were led away. We were loaded into large busses, and the gendarmes, the policemen and inspectors stood at the gate...

David Boder

This concludes Spool 36 of Mrs. Freilich, and we are continuing... we are continuing her story on Spool 37.

David Boder

August 9 1946, Spool 37. A continuation of spool 36 with Mrs. Freilich's story. From the... from the apprehension and concentration camp placement of Jews in June 1942.

David Boder

And so, Mrs. F., will you start with the episode when you were taken into autobusses.

Fania Freilich

Alors! My turn came on the fifth day.

David Boder

What day?

Fania Freilich

Fifth day. My turn came on the fifth day. I was there five days. I went with the rest of the transport.

David Boder

Yes. Were people already transported before?

Fania Freilich

There were transports from the velodrom to Pithiviers. Five days it lasted. I was exactly in the last transport. Alors! They led us out through the gate and it was five o'clock in the morning. Of course, that was done by the murderers so that nobody should see how they proceed with their "fine" business. The open world should not see what they were doing. We were led out and we did not see a person on the street. There are only fifty people at the gate. Standing there. Gendarmes, policement, and inspectors. Frenchmen. They stood there and looked at us very indifferently. As if they were thinking, "That is very good. Now has come the time when we will get rid of the Jews here, because the Jews are our misfortune here, in France. They are taking away our business; they eat away from us everything; and we just stand there and look on. Now we are the masters. We shall get rid of them." Cold, with tight lips, they stood there like murderers. Just like they would have led us out to the dance, to a ball, indifferent. And they laughed, they were amused over us. We are being dragged at five o'clock with the bundles, with little children in our arms, and so we were taken to a train. We were ordered to get out of the busses. On the side stood passengers. Frenchmen, Frenchwomen, who saw us disembark from the busses and led into the train. They laughed. Why? we were loaded in a train like the kind in which animals are being transported. Cattle, horses -- the cars were locked, without windows, without air, just like beasts are being transported. Cattle. Alors! We all got in. It was very high to climb. We finally packed ourselves up, one shoving the other.

David Boder

The children with you?

Fania Freilich

Yes, yes.

David Boder

How many children?

Fania Freilich

This time I had three children with me.

David Boder

Where was the fourth one?

Fania Freilich

The fourth one was taken away already.

David Boder

When?

Fania Freilich

Before. I had four. But the fourth one, the fourth one, the oldest one, to her something different happened!

David Boder

What happened?

Fania Freilich

That is a different story. And for her I still have to take vengeance of one person who has delivered my child into the hands of the executioner with the knife. [Footnote: Knife figuratively refers to the guillotine, and is used synonymously with death by execution.] He is still alive. Alors! I arrived with all my three children. The youngest one, the eight-year-old one was a very weak child. The little Ester now with me. A very weak child.

David Boder

The little one here?

Fania Freilich

The little one. Up to the age of three she was always sick. I saw a professor... She was a very weak child and she was eight years old. She was very weak. We traveled in the train. We had to travel an hour and a half, two hours, or more. Normally it would have taken only an hour, but the train dragged on for about two hours. The child felt nauseated. She wanted, excuse me, to throw up.

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

And there is no where to do it. And I took the child and as there was above a little window. One couldn't even stick through the hand. I stuck out her little head, her little head, and she threw up, and she caught some air and she got better. She got better-- and I dragged myself in again, into the car. I set her down next to me and so we arrived at Pithiviers. We arrived on the streets of Pithiviers. At the station of Pithiviers they ordered us all to disembark from the cars. Our things... they will bring our things.

David Boder

Yes.

Fania Freilich

Yes. Because we had to walk quite a distance. On the sides on both side, "the honors were beautiful." On the one side gendarmes, on the other side inspectors, police. We are led like criminals, like murderers. Children cry, mothers faint, and we march. I don't know where we are going. They lead us; we go. We are led and we are led, and we are led, and we are led to a large square. Around and around fenced up with barbed wire. Very high, higher than a man and a big black gate opens for us. We are led through the gate. We pass one gate, another gate, three gates we have to pass and we see from a distance a big black barracks knocked together from plain thin boards. Between one board and the other one could stick through his head and look outside. It just looked like a "suka". [Footnote: A tent built by Jews in connection with the autumn holidays.] A suka is even better, more stable. Inside of this big barracks were a few bundles of straw and the guards told us that now we have to stay here. "There is some straw. Each one of you may take a bit of straw and lie down on the floor." And there was no floor, it was plain filth.

David Boder

And your things?

Fania Freilich

Our things... our things we got in a couple of hours.

David Boder

You got them.

Fania Freilich

Yes, yes. Just like a field. Plain earth. We spread out a bit of straw. People were fighting for a bit of straw. Everyone wanted a little bit more and even--

David Boder

Were there men, too?

Fania Freilich

Men, women, children, old ones and young ones. All were there. Somehow, a "lay-down" was fixed for me. They spread out a bit of straw. Everyone had some rags, a blanket, a little towel. I saw even some foolish people who had dragged with them feather-beds. They exhausted their guts dragging them. They were all exhausted. What for? Just to salvage a few more things from home. Let it be a pillow; let it be a feather bed; let it be some of the better things. It's all over. We shan't see our homes anymore. We shall not see our things anymore. They exhausted their guts. My child was made to drag a quota of bundles, the sixteen-year-old one. And the poor dear spread out on the straw and I asked she should be given something to soothe her. "Nurse, give here something." And she gave her some kind of a pill to put her to sleep. Well. She got pains dragging the bundles. I couldn't carry anything. I was very weak. I was taken from bed, sick. I had an attack of gall bladder. But she dragged. She was the older one. Sixteen years old. She looked like a twenty-year-old one. Everybody calls her the beautiful Marie [she begins to weep] She was so beautiful. [Here a few words become incomprehensible due to her sobbing. All one hears are the words "my child." Women would approach me, "Madam, who is this young girl, the beautiful one, the blond one?" [Here she sobs violently.] My child. [Wails again cover her words. Only words audible, "my daughter." We arrived in Pithiviers. A day passed. And she became a bit stronger, but she still was weak and she lost all her courage. So she says, "Mother, I feel that from here I shall not get out anymore." So I say, "Mara, you are young. You had courage; so go on having courage. God will not abandon us. Let us see what will happen next." So she says, "you know I have a girl friend, an Austrian, Mariann." Mariann Brger, was her name. A neighbor of ours. And she had a canteen, a canteen where they were selling all kinds of things to prisoners. Some lemonade, a comb, a handkerchief, some other little things. Notion, and such other things, so she engaged her to be a salesgirl. So she said, "I have accepted the job, I will be with Mariann," she said, "I want to do it." So she together with the other used to carry around the lager such big cases of dirty bottles, selling one to each, one to each, one to each, one to each, one to each. Just as much as she could. She met with an accident. I was out in the yard with the two children. She was lying on the straw. She was very tired and since there were little children, and a little boy had in his hands a kind of club, a little stick, so he passed by and saw her lying so he struck her over her little head. So it was. I hear people running. People yell, "Mara is injured, Mara F. has been injured." I go inside. She lies in a puddle of blood. He has struck her with the stick over the head. Possibly she got a fracture of the skull. Others told me that one of the gendarmes did it. An anti-Semite. While she was sleeping he passed by with a club and hit her over the head.

David Boder

So, who was it. The gendarme or the little boy?

Fania Freilich

We couldn't find out. Nobody knew how that accident happened. They didn't know. So she was taken. There was a kind of Red Cross. She spent in the hospital two, three days. They cured her, but she became kind of ... she lost all her courage. But I upheld her spirit. She minded me a great deal. She got acquainted there with a doctor. The doctor, also a Jew, was a prisoner. So he took her as a nurse, as a nurse for the sick. Alas, he was taken away with the same transport as they.

David Boder

With whom?

Fania Freilich

With the transport. They were deported from Pithiviers.

David Boder

Your daughter?

Fania Freilich

Yes.

David Boder

How did that happen?

Fania Freilich

Alors! We were three weeks in Pithiviers. During these three weeks there were three transports. With the first transport they sent away six thousand men, and single women without children. That was the first transport. And all of them had their hair shorn off right on the square and they were thoroughly inspected, down to their shirts, and they searched them and everything they had was taken away. Everything. And the women were inspected and they sent away six thousand men. That was the first transport.

David Boder

Only men?

Fania Freilich

Mostly men.

David Boder

And when did they send away your daughter?

Fania Freilich

With the second transport. My daughter was sent away. Single women and young girls [here three words are incomprehensible] I get up at one or two o'clock at night and I hear that tomorrow there will be a transport. So I say, "Woe is me. Who knows whether already we are going with this transport?" And I hear they all single men and young girls, and women who have no children; to go with this transport. Women with children remained for the third transport. And they call my daughter's little name, too. Mara F... doomed. One must go. She and a girl friend and a brother of that girl, neighbors of the same house, were keeping together, and there came six o'clock in the morning. They started waking them, and drove them out to the square. They were led out to the square at o'clock. That was the 29th of July. The 16th of July we were arrested and this happened the 29th or 30th. I don't know exactly. They were led out on the square for deportation, to death. Yes. They were led out at six o'clock, so I thought they will stand there and hour, and they will embark them into the trains. Doomed. They will be deported. So they were kept there from six in the morning until seven in the evening. It was 40 degrees of heat [Footnote: centigrade]. Bees burned to death in the air. Hot! It was so hot that men fainted and they herded them together under the open sky, under the open sky in the field behind the wires; and from the place where they were standing it was about hundred and fifty meters to our barracks.

David Boder

Were there German soldiers too?

Fania Freilich

Not a single one, Monsieur Professor.

David Boder

Frenchmen?

Fania Freilich

Not a single German did I see. I didn't see them. [The next few words are not clear] There was only one German officer from the Gestapo with one soldier. With his ... [she hesitates] gun on the side and watching how the French handled the people. And at a table in the front sat many militia men. There stood boxes, large one, and the people had to step forward and hand over their money at the desk. Do you understand? And they cut open the valises of the people and looked for money and other things. They cut open the feather beds, the pillows. The foolish people had dragged their feather beds with pillows, so they cut them open. They thought if they take the feather beds and the pillows, they will have it soft to sleep, but they were cut up, and the field looked, in July, as if it were winter. There was a snowfall of feathers. A snowfall of feathers. By seven o'clock in the evening the people were registered. And they were led away from the square. I too gave my child... I had some eau de cologne. I gave her some drops to take on the train, so she made signs to me from a distance. We were not permitted to go near them. All day already they would not permit the people who remained in the barracks to come near to these who were assigned for deportation. "Mother," she yelled, "they take everything away." I heard it. Not a little bottle, not a little knife, not a comb, not even a pin in the head.

David Boder

Did they also cut off their hair?

Fania Freilich

Not of the women. Not here in France, only of the men. Their hair was cut when they arrived in Auschwitz. They took away the pins from their heads, a comb [next word is not intelligible], a little knife, a... a fork, whatever they had of these things ---- everything was taken away. My child showed me from a distance that she pours out the eau de cologne from the bottle and washes her head with it so that I should see it. "Mother", she shouted, "my eau de cologne they cannot pour on themselves. I am washing my head with it, with that eau de cologne, and the flask with the drops you have given I have smashed myself." And she points at her hair. They have taken away the pins from their hair [pause] And so from a distance with her hands. "Au revoir, Maman. Courage. I am already sacrified. See that you should save yourself with the two little ones. I give myself up already as a sacrifice." [The next few words are not intelligible.] And so she departed with her suitcase and with her bundle from the square AND UP TO THIS DAY I HAVE NOT SEEN MY CHILD. ALREADY FOR FOUR DARK YEARS... [a long pause ]. They were deported on a Thursday. And Saturday evening there happened a miracle. I hear that here comes a man and calls my name. It has been written about it in the papers. I got out that day, one in twenty thousand. Fania F., Mara F., Max F. What happened? I have sent out a little message from the lager with some person to my husband. "You should know. Try. If you are not going to do something we shall be deported with the children to Auschwitz." And the letter arrived. It has cost hundreds of French francs and a French gendarme has carried it out [apparently the letter]. If one would give him a hundred francs he would take out a letter, throw it in the mail box, and it would get to the people. And when I wrote the letter, the letter arrived, and my husband managed to get from the prefecture the paper that they should let me out with my children.

David Boder

And your daughter was already gone?

Fania Freilich

Yes, unfortunately. My child was already away. Saturday evening I got out of the prison from the lager of Pithiviers. As we were getting out we were inspected three times, three times. They suspected that people were sending out diamonds, Jewelry or such things, but we did not take anything like that because they have announced, "Those who are so fortunate to get out, if they will carry out something from the lager will be shot on the spot as soon as it should be found out."

David Boder

Mrs. F., will you tell me now what happened to your other daughter?

Fania Freilich

With the older one it was like this. One "nice" morning a man came and asked, "Does Charlotte F. live here?" I said "Yes." My child was in bed sleeping. It was eight o'clock in the morning. What has happened? A French woman has reported on her that she went to Etoile [Footnote: The most famous park in the city of Paris] and she doesn't carry the yellow star and she goes to the movies. Don't you know it was regulated when to go to the store. Children couldn't go out to play. You could buy things only between one and two, and in the afternoon from three to four. Summertime we had to lock ourselves in at eight o'clock. We could not go out in the street. One couldn't go out to a railroad station. The Jew could not go out in the large parks. In the first class car of the metro [Footnote: The subway in Paris has cars of first and second class.] the Jew had no right to travel. On the railroad a Jew could not travel. So the man says, "Yes, you know you have been reported, that you are not carrying your star and you go to the movies and you are a Jewess, and that is prohibited to you."

David Boder

How old was your daughter?

Fania Freilich

Nineteen years. So I ask who has reported her? So he says he doesn't know. It was reported directly to the German commandant's office. So I say, "Daughter mine, what will happen now?" So she says, "Mama, it can't be helped. I have to dress and go."

David Boder

Was the man who came to call for her a Frenchman?

Fania Freilich

A policeman. He spoke French. I can't be sure whether he was an Alsatian or a Frenchman.

David Boder

And he said that she has to come with him?

Fania Freilich

Yes. I was very upset. That was still before the rest of the family were taken to the concentration camp. That was three weeks before. That was in June and we were later taken in July. He says, "You have time, don't hurry. Drink your coffee. Don't hurry. It isn't so bad. A Frenchwoman has reported that you don't wear your star, that you go to the movies. Well, you will explain and they will let you go." Well, I made coffee for my child. It was her last coffee with me. And the man was joking and laughing. To him it was a kind of an every day event, just as lighting a cigarette. To take a Jewish child out of bed, eight o'clock in the morning. To take her to the German commandant, like into hell, where the Gestapo people were sitting with their rubber truncheans beating and killing. She got dressed and left. When she arrived she found there some other people who had been arrested, Jewish people who had also been reported by the French. From there they were soon sent away to a prison. I was running around a day, two, three, four, nobody would tell me where my child was. I went to the prefecture. I ran here, I ran there. Nobody wants to tell me where she is. Through hard efforts I find out where she is. I arrived there with a package of food, to pass it on to her because for the three days that the child was away she had nothing to eat, no money, no food, nothing. And they don't let me even hear her, just like she would be the greatest criminal, the worst murderer. What has she done? She didn't wear the Jewish star. If one would carry on the street a star, and one point would not be so straight, they would tear it off and deport the person to Auschwitz. At last I found my child. I passed on to her the package of food, but they do not permit me to see her. Just like a murderer. On the third, fourth day I brought her a change of clothes. She left the house well dressed with a hat on her head, dressed very elegantly. They passed on to me her things. I gave her other things, and so four days had passed. Then I received a letter I should come and look for her in such and such a place. Finally I managed to arrange to meet her. And so I was admitted. Here I entered. So I say, "What is happening, Sulamith?" [Her Hebrew name is Sulamith.] What has happened to my child? What is the offense?" "Yes," she says, "Mother, a Frenchwoman has tattled on me that I have not been wearing the Jewish Star and that I was going to the movies, and that is why I am in prison." She was sent away to the... prison that had been a big armory. I did not find my daughter alone. I found about five hundred or six hundred people!

David Boder

[In English] This concludes Spool... this concludes Spool 37. We are in the middle of the case of the older daughter of Mrs. Freilich. We will continue on Spool 38. Illinois Institute of Technology recording, July... August 9, 1946. In Paris, 9 Rue de Patin.

David Boder

This is Spool 38. Mrs. Freilich continues with her spool of the Freilich family. August 9, 1946, 9 rue de Patin, in the home for aged Jews. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording. David Boder

David Boder

[In German] Men and women together?

Fania Freilich

Yes, men and women in the same prison but separated from each other. All prisoners. Among them fourteen year old girls. All of them Jews, but later Gentiles were added. I asked my child, "What is going to happen?"

David Boder

Did they allow you to see each other alone?

Fania Freilich

No, not all alone. There was a visiting hour, and those who had their own in prison were able to see them, say, twice a week during the visiting hours. They would be led out into a large hall with benches and tables and members of families could come in and talk to them.

David Boder

Did they watch you so you should not pass something on to them?

Fania Freilich

No, we could give them everything. There were gendarmes and police who watched, of course, trying to catch a word of the conversation. There were spies among them; also Gestapo agents. There was among them a German woman from the Gestapo (which they found out later) but they did not know then that she was from the Gestapo. They thought she was also a prisoner, and she was assigned to spy after the young girls who were possible mixed up in politics or similar affairs, or who were talking against Germany or such things. When I came I found that my child was also so foolish. "Mother, you see, this woman is a very fine, a very decent woman. She too is a prisoner like myself." So I say to her, "My child, my dear child. You are so naive. Don't you recognize that she is from the Gestapo? She being a German? She is here to spy after you. In case you say a word that is not just so and they will put you in the lock-up." And I made it clear to her that one should not talk about improper things. "And with that woman you should not talk at all. Neither should your good friends talk to her".... So she tells me that the woman is a prisoner, and her husband is a prisoner, and he was among the men and she among the women. And such foolish children could not understand that these two people were employees of the Gestapo. Do you understand? In all the child was there two weeks. In these two weeks we saw each other twice. I took to her some things. I took to her a package of food. She, alas, knew that they will be sent to Germany. There were some French gendarmes who had a bit of heart, so they told them, you should know that you will be sent from here to work in Germany. But there were exceptions, people who remained there for six months, and there were a few others who remained there for a year. But my child was just out of luck, she remained there only for two weeks, and she was deported.

David Boder

And where was she sent?

Fania Freilich

Listen. Here I come one morning with her necessary things. Behold they don't let me in. I turn around and there are about another hundred people. Nobody is admitted any more to them. They were taken to the third story, locked up, assigned for deportation. They are being held just like criminals. No families are admitted; they are not permitted to write..... We were running back and forth for a day and two until I broke down with the bundle in my hand. I knew that my child is very much in need of things to wear. I run with the bundle here. I run with the bundle there. I turn to one inspector, I turn to another policeman, again to a police officer. I run from one office to another office. I fall to their feet, I kiss their hands. "My child is bare and naked; let me in with the package. She is being deported I know tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Let me pass to her a pair of shoes. She has no shoes; a dress, something to eat." They have received orders from the Gestapo as to those people who have been assigned for deportation, not to pass even a needle. And like myself many hundreds have turned around with their bundles, getting nowhere. And the next day we came and they were not there anymore. We were told that they were sent away to Drancy. From Drancy they were to be deported to Auschwitz. And so a day passed and behold I receive a letter, and the letter was from my child. She managed to obtain a scrap of paper and a pencil and when they put them on the train for deportation she managed to write down a few words to her mother. To her mother, she knew that we all were still home. And so she writes: "My dear parents: We are being deported en direction inconnu." Do you know what that means? We are being deported to an address unknown, inconnu. "We are being transported like cattle in locked cars. We have no food, nor drink; we have no things. However, our morale is good, and we are strong. I am in the best of health. Don't cry, Mother, and tell the children not to cry. I am young and I will come through. I am young and I hope we will see each other again. I kiss you. And see that you do not fall into the hands of the Germans. Hide yourselves. Get away from Paris. Hide in a village. Hide so they should not trap you as they have trapped me. And I hope we will see each other and I will come through because I am young." And to this day I have not seen my child. Four dark years have passed, and I don't know where her bones rest.

David Boder

Who brought you the letter?

Fania Freilich

The letter carrier brought it to me. She threw the letter out from the moving train, and the people who work on the tracks found the letter and dropped it in the mail box. And the letter was delivered. I had the letter but there were constant raids by the Germans. They used to search around the house for various papers. My husband said, "I am afraid to keep such a letter. We can all be killed for such a letter. Because if they are in the train they are not permitted to write any more." So my husband took the letter and burned it. It was the first and the last message I had from my child, written in German. She wrote German beautifully. And this is the way I lost my two daughters. And I am now here, with my husband, and my husband is sick, 99% sick, and this is the end of life. We have no courage, We have no morals. Lest the world will intervene and we shall be able to return to life again. Otherwise we are doomed.

David Boder

Who do you have in America?

Fania Freilich

I have in America a sister. I am looking for her.

David Boder

What is her name?

Fania Freilich

Marsha.

David Boder

Marsha what?

Fania Freilich

Marsha Grand.

David Boder

Green?

Fania Freilich

Yes. And her husband's name is Benny.

David Boder

And the last time you heard from her, when?

Fania Freilich

The last address we had is the one we gave you, Mr. Professor. You remember.

David Boder

In Sacremento, California.

Fania Freilich

Yes, Sacremento, California. That was her last address, and I am looking for her. I am in great need to find her, so that we could be saved, the rest that has remained of our family.

David Boder

Did you write to the Hias? The Hias, as I told you, is specializing in finding people.

Fania Freilich

Yes, my husband was there, and he will go there again.

David Boder

Yes, you should do it. I will see what I can do.

Fania Freilich

And I am looking for two uncles. I am looking for two uncles in Detroit. Two brothers of my father. Wolovitch in Detroit.

David Boder

What is their first name?

Fania Freilich

One of the -- there were three brothers, and two of them are there. One of them is Charles and the other one is Jake Wolovitch. And they are in Detroit, Michigan, and I don't know anything more about them.

David Boder

Well, that is the usual story. The Hias may find them. And about your little girl? How old is she?

Fania Freilich

She is thirteen years old. She goes to school, studies; she has one more year to complete school.

David Boder

And what is she going to do afterwards?

Fania Freilich

Afterwards she wants to study steno.

David Boder

Stenographer?

Fania Freilich

Yes.

David Boder

Did you tell me that you were a second time in a concentration camp?

Fania Freilich

Yes.

David Boder

Well, tell me about it.

Fania Freilich

[Here are a few incomprehensible words on the spool.] We got away from Pithiviers. A year passed. My husband worked at his trade for the Germans and we had the proper papers.

David Boder

In what did he work? In furs?

Fania Freilich

Yes.

David Boder

What kind of fur coats was he making?

Fania Freilich

Vests, such short vests.

David Boder

For men?

Fania Freilich

For men. Only for men.

David Boder

For the soldiers?

Fania Freilich

Yes, for the soldiers. He had to do it. That was forced labor.

David Boder

Did he get paid?

Fania Freilich

Yes. While my husband was slaving there, he got a paper that we could safely live in our home and that nothing should happen to us. And so a year passed. One "fine" night we heard the police coming. They opened the door by force. They smashed our door. And they tell us that we are under arrest. We have to go to a lager.

David Boder

Who?

Fania Freilich

The French.

David Boder

Who had to go to the lager?

Fania Freilich

All of us, with the children.

David Boder

But your husband? He was been working?

Fania Freilich

My man worked at the night shift. He worked at night. He was not in the house.

David Boder

No?

Fania Freilich

He wasn't home. I was only with the children.

David Boder

With whom? With your daughter?

Fania Freilich

I was with two children. One has already been deported. What was there to do? I was alone in the house. My husband was at work. I dress with the two children. I prepare two bundles. Again I am at the commissariat and from the commissariat they send me to Drancy. My husband returns in the morning, early in the morning from work and the concierge [Footnote: janitor] women tells him that they took me at night, two o'clock or three o'clock with the two children to Drancy. Meanwhile I arrive at Drancy. We were there sixty or seventy families. All the same kind as we. At Drancy there were such armories six or seven stories high all around. As soon as we arrived they pressed into our hands a little piece of bread and there come men dressed in prisoner's clothing to help us drag our bundles into the blocks and they assign us to some cots.

David Boder

What was Drancy? A concentration camp?

Fania Freilich

Yes, a concentration camp in France.

David Boder

Near Paris?

Fania Freilich

Near Paris. About sixteen kilometers from Paris. Well, we come to Drancy. Each one gets a cot for two people. The cots are small. You can't turn around. Black, dirty.

David Boder

Did they separate the men from the women?

Fania Freilich

Yes.

David Boder

And your son?

Fania Freilich

The son was taken to the men. I remained with the little girl. They gave us straw mattresses. Excuse me. On these mattresses have been lying before thousands of prisoners. These mattresses were soaked in tears. Dirty. These were mattresses packed with straw and dirty. The cots dirty. The place looked just like a place for horses -- a stable. Each one occupied his cot. There was a trough like for horses. A trough. Everybody goes to it, lets run a little bit of water, washes off a bit of his grief. They bring up a kettle with some black water, give each one half a ladle of soup, of black water. It was supposed to be coffee, and maybe once it was coffee. The next morning they bring a kettle with a bit of soup. They give each one a ladle of soup, each one gets one potato, and one hundred grams of bread for twenty-four hours.

David Boder

Were the potatoes peeled?

Fania Freilich

They were with the peelings, with the peelings. Everybody was given an unpeeled potato. One potato, only one. The next time they would give not a potato but a kind of turnip and a little sardine. A small one, a salted one, and with that we were to last from dinnertime until seven o'clock at night. With two hundred grams of bread. And so we were there. I wasn't there very long. I was there about eight days. Eight days I was in Drancy.

David Boder

So you were in Drancy eight days?

Fania Freilich

Yes, eight days I was in Drancy. There were people, six, seven months in Drancy. They were established there as if they expected to stay there for years. The beds stood one over the other, three level bunks, three bunks, a bit of straw.

David Boder

And two persons in a bed?

Fania Freilich

Yes, two persons in a bed. There were some very small cots. These were given to a single person. Otherwise we had two persons on a bed because the beds were somewhat wide. Well, so we passed one day, two days, and we see transports arriving from la Zone libre. Yes, a free zone.

David Boder

You mean from unoccupied France?

Fania Freilich

Yes. People, young people. Like sheer skeletons. They cannot stand on their feet. They have kept them for six, seven weeks in those lagers and did not give them more than five or six times to eat. Young people. When they were brought into Drancy they told us that they were now in a paradise. When they got a little bit of soup and something was spilled on the floor, they would get down on all fours and lick up that soup from the mud. They were crazy from starvation, plain crazy. Their things were so messed up that one could not recognize whether they are clothes, whether they are rags. They have slept in them six or seven weeks. These were people who were caught on the street in Free France and they were not permitted to take anything from home, but [were dragged] straight from the streets into the trucks. And from the trucks they were taken to prison, and I forgot already what the name of that lager was. But from the lager they were taken to Drancy, and from Drancy they were deported to Germany. And such people were taken to work when they didn't even have strength to lift their feet, to get into railroad cars. Young beautiful children. Eighteen, twenty years old. All emaciated and crazy from starvation. Insane from starvation. If they noticed a little piece of turnip on the floor it was as if they had found a piece of the best chocolate, [they would pick up ] a leaf of putrid lettuce, and they kissed our hands [pleading ]: "A little piece of bread." Because we were still fresh, we were there only eight days. We had taken something from home. We still had something to eat, and we gave them. We shared with them, but one couldn't give away everything. We did not know yet that we will go free. And although we knew that they will be deported we had to save something for our children. And so we saw two transports go away. Dead people shoved into cars and deported. Why did they have to deport them to Germany? To bury them? They could bury them here. Dead, young exhausted skeletons. And so things went on. They cooked a kettle for them. They gave each one a little ration of beans for their journey, for their trip to Auschwitz. A little piece of bread, a little piece of cheese was given to them, and they were pushed into railroad cars and they were sent away to Germany. I saw myself with my own eyes how they dragged out of Drancy for deportation ninety-year-old women. The police supported them under the arms because they couldn't drag their legs. And they put them up in line for the count. Women with children! I saw little girls, little boys, who went with their mothers into the cars and they were sent away to Germany. And so I saw in those eight days deported from Drancy possibly a hundred thousand people. At the time of the third transport there came an order that all families of those men who worked for the Germans should be freed. Now the French wanted to appear nice since the people who would leave now would start telling. So they told us [she speaks in a mocking tone ], "You are going free. What a pity of these people who remain. Give them your food. You are now going home. They are being sent away. They are being deported. One cannot tell how long they will be en route." So we should given them the food that we had. They tried to appear decent so that when we should go out we would say, "The French are nice people. They have told us to give away our food." Do you understand?

David Boder

Did you do it?

Fania Freilich

Whatever one had, everything was given away. Young people (among them there were still some strong people who were six, seven months in Drancy) were sent away with this last transport. They were hoping to get free, but still they were deported. A number of women of my acquaintances, many with infants, many were deported.

David Boder

Have they returned?

Fania Freilich

No. Almost nobody has returned. In our neighborhood there were two hundred families. There have returned as follows: a man, a woman -- Monsieur so and so [this is not clear], Madame so and so -- and nobody else has returned. A single man and a single women from our house. Two prisoners [of war ] have returned who were taken prisoners and were held in Germany. Of all those who were taken prisoners in Germany only four thousand have returned. And that is how things happened. We were taken to be released through a small gate and from the other side people were led into the railroad cars for deportation. That is how things came to pass Monsieur Professor. Here were people standing for deportation and we were led out, all those who had been arrested and had certificates that they were working for the Germans, which were about sixty or seventy families. They let us all go. This was not to the liking of the French. They were wondering, "What for do we need Jews? If they have already been arrested, to let them out again, what's that?" We told then that the Germans have done that for us. We were interested to hear what they would have to say because our men were not afraid of them. "Our men are working for the Germans and that is why we were released". They were such anti-Semites, and they could not savor it. And so I got out with my two children, Monsieur Professor. I spent a few months at home, and again they came pounding at the door. The Germans had bad luck. They didn't need anymore fur jackets, they didn't need anybody anymore to work for them, but what they did need was that all people who did work for them should go to Auschwitz. All of them. And so the third time (the good angel wanted it that way), we didn't sleep at home. We slept in another house.

David Boder

Why did you sleep in another house?

Fania Freilich

We were forewarned.

David Boder

By whom?

Fania Freilich

Somebody came and told us that they will raid again. They heard about it in advance.

David Boder

Who came?

Fania Freilich

They were such inspectors [police] who were taking lumps of money and when they knew something they would come and tell the people. "Tonight, there will be a raid. Do not sleep at home, hide."

David Boder

So where did one go to sleep?

Fania Freilich

With another family.

David Boder

With French people?

Fania Freilich

No, no, with Jews. In another flat, in another district. Do you understand? Indeed there was a raid. Those who did not hide, who did not heed the warning, were "nicely" taken. We went away, we did not stay home, so we did not fall in the hands of death. Afterwards, in a few weeks we ran away from Paris to a village and we hid there until liberation.

David Boder

How did liberation come? How did you find out in a village that the liberation has come?

Fania Freilich

We were hiding. The highway isn't far from the village. Do you understand? Here already were falling the bombs.

David Boder

The village was bombarded?

Fania Freilich

Yes. It happened that the bombs did not fall where we were, but thousands of Gentiles were killed and thousands of homes were demolished. Our house just remained standing.

David Boder

And who came in there?

Fania Freilich

The Americans. We have seen how the Germans ran away. We were not far from their quarters. And yonder was the highway. We heard how the Germans were running away in their trucks, calling "Aufsteigen" [get on], "Attention! All aboard! Drive on! Weiterfahren! We heard it all, and the next day the Americans arrive.

David Boder

And how long did it last? From the time the Germans retreated until the Americans arrived?

Fania Freilich

About a day. They were chasing them, and they caught them all, the Americans. The Germans had no chance to escape.

David Boder

Did the French begin to behave better after that?

Fania Freilich

As soon as we were freed there started something with the partisans. With the boys and with the girls, the civilian volunteers. When the Americans came in, these young boys and young girls went to the police, (the partisans occupied the police stations), saying it was important to free the Jews, to free them from concentration camps, to free them from Germany, and so they went as far as Germany, as far as the concentration camps to set them free from there. So these young boys, the partisans went there and in this way thousands of these young boys were killed.

David Boder

From among the partisans?

Fania Freilich

Yes, with the resistance.

David Boder

With the Maquis? So why do you say that nothing came out of it?

Fania Freilich

As I say, the Jews got killed. What did they get for it? THEY HAVE NO LAND, AND THEY HAVE NO SAND [soil] The Gentiles were killed so they know what for. They died to free their country. Their France. But the Jews, they killed off their boys, they killed off their men, thousands of them fell, and do you think it has become easier? No, it is the same story, it was not worth the fight. What do I have to fight for, Monsieur Professor? I am pleading with you. You will come to America, tell them what a foolish woman has told you, that the French envy if the Jew accomplishes something. Do you understand? The anti-Semitism that we have seen from them, their militia, their beatings, their exploitation, they were worse than the Germans. I speak only about France. What happened in Germany I don't know. I have not seen it.

David Boder

You know what happened to your children in Germany?

Fania Freilich

Yes, I know, but I am talking about France. If the French would not have helped the Germans, the Germans would not have abducted from here some one hundred fifty thousands. Maybe they would have taken fifty thousands, but not one hundred fifty thousand. Do you understand? It was they who told them [the Germans] here is a Jew, and here lives a Jew. There walks a Jew and there walks a Jew. They were the ones who let them in. Take them, and for money and for everything they betrayed us.

David Boder

This concludes... Spool 38 of Mrs. Freilich taken in Paris, 9 Rue Guy Patin... on July -- on August 9, 1946. Illinois Institute of Technology recording.