The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/poland/zwodau/zwodau.02

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: "I'll Never Eat a Hot Potato Again"
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project
Keywords: Zwodau

Archive/File: holocaust/poland zwodau.02
Last-modified: 1993/03/27

"We left the gate. The tought of freedom crossed my mind, but there was no
time to make an escape. We were told to move faster, faster. Running in the
dark, in the cold, in the quiet of the night. Where are we going? The
question crossed my mind. We were inside a wall. A cemetery wall. We were
standing around a big hole. That is what the cemetery commando had been
digging all day. We knew now.

A mass grave for whom? For us? Twenty Jewish girls from fourteen to
twenty-four. Enemies of the German Reich who will be shot to death on this
day of 18 April 1945, and buried in this unknown cemetery where no one will
ever be able to find them. But why, why now, when the Americans were only a
few miles away. Tears were rolling down our cheeks, and Janka broke into
spasmodic sobs. `Mother, Mother, please help me.'

`I shall never see my parents again,' another girl cried.

Tola begged: `Girls, girls, let's die with honor; let's not show them we
are weak.'

`Die with honor,' Pola returned. `For what? What have we done to anybody?
Why? Why?' she cried. But Anna could only moan in a low voice `I'll never
eat a hot potato again.' Poor Anna, how hungry she must have been. I'll
never forget her last wish before she was to be shot. (To this day,
whenever I cook potatos, I dig into the pot for the one hot potato that she
dreamed of on that cold, dark night in April.)

`Why don't they get it over with? What are they waiting for?' another girl
cried. It seemed for a moment that everything was in utter confusion, even
the guards seemed behildered. They whispered among themselves as we stood
there around the grave, surrounded by their guns. All the while, far in the
distance we could hear the beautiful sounds of the American artillery.

I looked at my sisters and couldn't say anything. Could it be that only
three days ago, on my birthday, our hopes had been so high, and freedom so
near? What could we do now? Twenty young girls between the grave and the
guns? If they would only get it over with. Oh, Lord, please help me. Let
the first shot kill me instantly. I couldn't stand to see my sisters being
shot. I couldn't. Let it be me first. Will I have to jump into the hole
while they shoot? Or ---- A tremendous roar came from nearby. For a moment
it felt as though the ground was shaking beneath us. One girl cried:

`The Americans are coming!'

`Shma Israel,' cried another.

`Don't you hear? The Americans are coming!' Gienia yelled to the guard. He
hit her over the head with his gun and she lay sprawled on the ground,
looking blankly around.

`If you shoot us, they will shoot you,' I uttered to the SS woman next to
me. And Mania quickly added: `If you save us, we shall tell the Americans
and they will save you too.'

The guards started talking to each other.

`If they don't want to shoot you,' one SS woman pointed to the guards,
`then I shall shoot all of you with this machine gun.'

She was only a young girl. Her belly was big; she was expecting a baby. For
the Fuehrer no doubt. The Fuehrer said to have babies; she had babies. The
Fuehrer said, shoot the Jews; she was going to shoot the Jews. How poisoned
was this poor soul.

How could she give birth to a new life after she had killed twenty innocent
young girls? It seemed like an eternity standing there waiting to be

Suddenly, with quick movements, they told us to go back to camp. They
chased us and we ran. We ran as fast as our feet would carry us. The gate
opened in the middle of that dark, cold night on 18 April 1945, we returned
from our grave into the camp of Zwodau."

Excerpted from----------------------------------------------------------
"The Survivor in Us All - A Memoir of the Holocaust," Erna F. Rubinstein
(Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1983) ISBN 0-208-02025-X

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.