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Teofila Silberring

We didn't even know that the war had ended. We just stood there, there was no camp any more, nothing, but we were afraid to go out. The Germans had ordered us to stand, so we stood. The Allies came through, the Russians came through, and still we didn't believe. Well, there wasn't any radio, there wasn't anything. It was only when some Greeks came along, these ragamuffins: 'Hitler kaput! Hitler kaput!' they said. They gestured something to us, that the war had ended, that we could go home.

I still looked good. As soon as they told us that we were free, I went into action at once. I flew to the local chief councilor, saying that we wanted to go back to Poland. He came to see us and said that he asked us most earnestly not to get friendly with anyone there, not to approach any houses. He asked in earnest. That he would give us bread, take us, to the road. That we should go away, because he couldn't guarantee what might happen there. After all, it was Germany. He asked us in earnest to leave, as fast as possible. And that's what happened. He did give us bread and took us to the tracks, so that we could get on when something came. We waited there somewhere, there in Malchov, on the ground, on the tracks, until a train came along. We got on, not knowing where we were going. Anywhere, just forward. Later they put us off, put us on, put us off...

In one train there were already looters from Poland, and it was only then that we knew for certain that the war had ended, that Cracow was free. Poles were already going to Germany to loot. But they wouldn't give us a thing. I was excellent at stealing. I was so good at stealing sugar! Sugar was lying there in cubes. I hid it in my knickers, tied it up in the leg. And I remember - now I laugh - that all the girls asked just to let them lick it... I shared it, I didn't just take it for myself. I took it out of my knickers and everyone licked that sugar. It was so good! And then we would go out into the fields when the train stopped in the middle of nowhere. We ate nettles; they're apparently very healthy, lots of vitamins. And I had some little bag, I don't remember where I got it from. I would put those things in it. I stole some grain. I stole whatever I could. Not from among our people, only if one of the looters put their rucksack down for a minute. I could see that there in that rucksack he had rolls; when he fell asleep I would think: 'Why does he need them when he's got so many and we're hungry?
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It didn't even occur to you that somebody might help. The Allies had passed through and hadn't even asked if we were hungry. Only said that we were black. The Russians came in, raped and murdered and left. We just carried on fleeing. Two of my friends died after that, while we were still on the way. What I stole I stole... I couldn't count on anyone, anything.
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Alice Granierer

Meine Mutter wollte unbedingt nach Wien zurück. Nicht nur, dass wir zuwenig zum Leben hatten, sie wollte auch ihre Mutter und Geschwister suchen. Die Reise war kostenlos, da die UNRRA [Anm.: Hilfsorganisation] das bezahlt hat.

Da habe ich gesagt: Ihr könnt fahren, aber ich bleib da. Mein Vater hat gesagt: 'Glaubst du, ich werd dich dalassen?' 'Warum nicht? Ich bin 18 Jahre, und ich will dableiben.'

Herr Weiß, der Vater meiner Freundin Esther ist zu meinen Eltern gegangen und hat gesagt: 'Herr Silberberg, schauen Sie: Ihre Tochter ist 18 Jahre alt. Es wäre doch schön, wenn mein Sohn und Ihre Tochter ein Paar werden würden. Sie kann bei uns wohnen und schlafen.

Sie wird wie unser Kind sein, und das, was sie im Geschäft verdient, kann ich ihr als Taschengeld geben. Warum wollen Sie sie nach Wien schleppen? Lassen Sie sie doch da.' Und mein Vater hat gesagt: 'Ich habe fünf Finger Herr Weiß, und wenn man mir einen wegnimmt, fehlt mir was.

Es kommt nicht in Frage, dass ich mein Kind dalasse.' Und zu mir hat er gesagt: 'Pass mal auf Lizzy, wenn du dableibst, bleiben wir alle da. Aber wenn irgendwas passiert, bist du schuld.' Und so bin ich mit zurückgekommen nach Wien.

In Wien haben wir für die ersten Monate eine Wohnung ganz weit draußen in Sievering bekommen. Das war so eine Art Flüchtlingslager für Rückkehrer, und wir sind von den Amerikanern reichlich mit Essenpaketen versorgt worden.

Dann sind wir in den 3. Bezirk, in die Hansalgasse gezogen und konnten uns dort umsonst mit Möbeln aus einem Fundus einrichten. Ich habe ein paar Monate eine vom ORT [Anm.: amerikanische Fortbildungsorganisation] angebotene Frisör- und Kosmetiklehre gemacht.

Aber ich hab das nicht lange gemacht, weil ich wieder Geld gebraucht habe, und da habe ich als Verkäuferin in dem jüdischen Wollgeschäft Bonze gearbeitet. Das Geschäft war auf der Reinprechtsdorfer Straße. Mein Vater hat wieder Schreibartikel verkauft.
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