Oral History Interview with Lili Altschuler

Lili Altschuler was born September 30, 1928 in Lodz, Poland to a well-to-do, non-observant Jewish family. Before the war she was educated in a private Jewish school. Lili describes the change in atmosphere in 1937-38, the prohibition against kosher slaughter and the Polish Jewish citizens being expelled from Germany and forced to return to Poland (‘38).

In 1939, just before the Lodz Ghetto was formed, Lili and her parents fled to relatives in a suburb of Kielce, called Opatow. She describes the hardships and restrictions that ensued and describes and encounter with Volksdeutsche in which she was injured. Her father, fearing the reality of the deathcamps, bought their way into the slave labor camp Skarazysko Kamienna, run by HASAG. They worked in a munitions factory. She describes the scant daily rations, the lack of medical treatment, and the cruelty of Ukrainian guards and also Jewish Kapos’ cruel behavior. She also describes some resistance in the camps: the formation of small singing and reading groups.
In the summer of 1944, she and her parents were deported to a munitions factory in Czestochowa. She describes slightly better conditions there. On January 16, 1945 the Germans attempted to deport everyone to a location farther away from the Soviets. After the men were sent off in trains, the Germans fled, leaving the women on the train platform. They were liberated by the Soviets that night. She and her mother stayed for a time in Czestochowa, then returned to Opatow, then Lodz to look for surviving family members.
Her grandparents perished in the Lodz Ghetto. Her father was sent to Buchenwald and later liberated by the Americans in May 1945. They were reunited in Lodz and later went to Stuttgart, Germany through Czechoslovakia with the help of the Zionist group, Brihah1 and UNRRA. They came to the United States via a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart in 1948.

Date: 03/10/1981
Interviewer: Josey G. Fisher
Interviewee: Lili Altschuler
Language: English
Subject: Bricha
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives
Holocaust survivors--United States--Interviews
Hugo Schneider Aktiengesellschaft
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
Location: Lodz, Poland
Opatów, Poland
HASAG Ammunitions factory at Skarzysko-Kamienna, Poland
Czestochowa, Poland
Stuttgart, Germany
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