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Oral history interview with Ruth Muschkies Webber

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0089.7 | RG Number: RG-50.155.0007

Ruth Muschkies Webber, born on June 28, 1935 in Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Poland, describes her childhood; her family’s limited religious observance; the beginning of the war; learning years after the war that her aunt was sexually assaulted during the German invasion; her sister’s piano studies in Warsaw and placement with a Gentile family to continue her education; the creation of a ghetto around 1942; her family attempts at convincing her to hide with a Gentile family and her refusal; her feelings upon seeing the Germans in their town; her parents getting work at the nearby labor facility (Bodzechów camp) and secretly bringing her along; hiding while her parents worked; sneaking out of the camp with her mother during the selections for transfer; her memories of the winter of 1942 and walking all night long so they wouldn’t freeze; her various hiding places; playing with rodents; her daydreams while in hiding; being separated from her father in 1942-43 when she and her mother were sent to Starachowice; witnessing the German camp guards argue over what to do with she and another child and eventually being allowed into the camp; her work in the camp, peeling potatoes and taking messages around the camp; seeing many deaths; the tension and anxiety she felt in the camp; being in Sandomierz concentration camp; returning to Bodzechów; the effects she still feels from her Holocaust experiences; having to internalize all her emotions while she was in the camp; being sent to Ostrowiec concentration camp then Auschwitz; the journey to Auschwitz; arriving in the camp with her mother; going through the showers with the other women and laughing as they left and searched through the available clothing; how they dealt with corpses; teaching each other how to knit; the gas chambers and crematoriums; contracting measles and pneumonia and going to the hospital; the measles epidemic in Auschwitz; the various blocks in the camp; her camp tattoo; living with other children in her block; the twins being taken and returned continuously; her mother being sent away for a few weeks; being liberated by the Russians in January 1945; being in some of the photographs the Russians took; reuniting with her mother and sister in Krakow, Poland; how her relationship with her mother and sister was more complicated after the war; staying in a children’s home with her sister in Bielsko-Biala, Poland; going to Toronto, where they had family; the complexities of speaking about her experiences after the war; finding out about her father’s fate; her thoughts on being one of the few children to survive concentration camps; and her three children.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Webber, Ruth
Bolkosky, Sidney M.
interview:  1987 February 02
publication/distribution:  1987
2 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:12:31
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