My father never said a word about what happened during the Shoah. He prefered to move on, without looking back. He was then 19 years old and all his family members had been killed.
My mother described what happened to her, her sister, parents and family. I don't know if there is any testimony so complete and so moving.
These are excerpts of the testimony of my mother, Chaja Lassmann, at the age of 96.
"In the 1939 war, I was 14. I was in Auschwitz, in the experimentation block… What experiments were done there! They messed me about so much I thought I would never have children… You name it, they did it!
I was terrified, famished, ill-treated, starving, filthy… always upset about something! I can’t explain how I survived! Nobody can, even I who went through it have a hard time imagining that today I am, shall we say, normal!
Mummy, mummy survived with me. It is thanks to her that I am alive! She took care of me, made sure I was warm, that I had something to eat. I don’t know whether I would have survived otherwise.
When the war ended, we were locked into huts and… hours and hours later we dared to open the door and saw that there was nobody out there. Just us, locked in!”
When I returned to my home town, I visited the street where I used to live. There was no one there I knew! No one to talk to. I searched for my family in the places where they used to live and there was no one there, either!
My family had over one hundred members! A family, aunts and uncles and cousins… We were a big family. Many children from one marriage, from another, we always went about together… And then there was no one! No, no, no!
Before the war, I had a little sister, she was younger than me… we were the two girls! I still had a father, a mother, I lived with mummy and daddy.
I feel tremendous pain for my father. He went to pray with a group of men, just men. The Gestapo entered that place and took them. I never saw my father again! I feel sad whenever I think of it… I hope one day to find someone who knows where he is.
We’ve never heard a word about him or about my little sister! She disappeared, too! We found a Polish woman to keep her, to hide her. But the woman was frightened, my sister cried a lot, missing her parents and me.
It hurt so much, it still hurts! You can imagine how it hurts!"