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Memoir: What Makes Babey Run?
























Volume 15i

Babey Widutschinsky-Trepman

What Makes Babey Run?

published by the
Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies
Copyright Babey Widutschinsky-Trepman, 2001


Key Words

Bergen-Belsen; Siauliai; Lithuania; Ghetto/two sections: Kavkaz and Traku; Auschwitz; Batchunai, small village; Foerster, camp commandant; Paventchiai, a town; Stutthof; Danzig; Ochsenzohl, near Hamburg; Role of Jews and non-Jews in survival; Role of language; liberation; Active in post-war theatre group; Canadian Jewish Eagle sponsors immigration to Canada; Life in Montreal


Family life in small town, Siauliai, Lithuania. Soviet invasion in 1940; father forced to sign declaration expressing sympathy for the "masses" in the Soviet Union. When Germans invade on June 24, 1941, Lithuanian police arrest him as communist sympathizer. Local Lithuanians carry out pogroms. Jews forced into labour camps and ghetto established September 4, 1941. Describes living and working conditions in ghetto. Works as maid for gentile family outside the ghetto. Later works in auto-repair shop; notes the kindness of the director of the plant, a German army officer. Organization of illegal schools and cultural activities in the ghetto. Selections begin and ghetto closed July 22, 1944. Mother and younger sister sent to their deaths in Auschwitz. Works in munitions plant in Ochsenzohl camp near Hamburg. Characterizes camp commandant as brutal and sadistic; but he is succeeded by a commandant who is described as a "wonderful human being." Some days before liberation, sent to Bergen-Belsen. Description of camp conditions. She contracts typhus, but survives due to the efforts of her older sister who has been with her throughout the entire period. Describes the reactions to liberation. Post-war activities in theatrical group, tours European countries. Meets her husband, a journalist, who survived the camps as a gentile. Sponsored by the "Canadian Jewish Eagle," they come to Canada. Both work as educators in Montreal Jewish day schools. Raise two children, now professionals. Husband Paul publishes his account of the war years, Among Men and Beasts in 1978.

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