Today, the 29th of September, we are in Lieşti and in front of us is Aunt Silvia and Uncle Istrate. Live long and be blessed!
Silvia: You too have la long life, be blessed and stay healthy!
Aunt Silvia please tell us who´se doughter are you?
Silvia: My father´s name is Mihalache Stănescu. This was his official name. My father is caqlled Bako. My mother was called Grafina.
Do you know your father father´s name?
Silvia: His father? I know.
Silvia: My grandfather was called Kuko and his wife was named Dollina.
God rest theyr souls!
Silvia: That one is his doughter in law.
Ans you, Unclke Istrate, who´s son are you?
Silvia: Son to Fran?.
Istrate: to Franz.
Silvia: Her mother was called Lisa.
Istrate: My mothers name was Lisa.And my fathers name was Franz.
And your fathers father name?
Istrate: His fathers name? Pătru and the wife was called Vitora.
Live long and be blessed!
Silvia: Same to you!
Now I kindly ask you to tell us what you recall from the time at the Bug. Do not miss a thing, tell us all you remember.
Silvia: I never forget a thing.
Remember the people who died there, the children.
Silvia: believe me, I´ll tell you also how we left, how we left.
Silvia: They took us from Sâmboieşti in ´42. They took us from Sâmboieşti and brought us to Kahul. We passed Kahul. Reached Tighina (Bender).
We passed Tighina (Bender) trough the Great Aciz, they took us there… how was that place called?
Istrate: They took us to Tiraspol.
Silvia: From Acidu they took us to Tiraspol, and from Tiraspol to the county of Golta county an then near Odessa and from there we got to Trei Dube ( Three Vans), the camp at the Bug . We crossed the Djniester, crossed the Djniester and crossed the Bug.. We remained on the banks of the Bug. There on the banks of Bug river they built us earthen huts. They put doors out of mats. The huts where hallowed out into the ground and they just put some wood on the top of them. Nothing was nailed or somewhat clayed together, there was nothing. Simple wholes inj the earth as that, and it was winter. In spring the earth melted and the hat walls softened and fell on the people.
LMC: Have people died?
Silvia: All of them died. All those who were inside the hats by that time, died. And as we were walking, on the road, they were killing Jews and they were killing our people too. They dug large pits armed those machineguns and shot them dead so they would fall in the dug holes. In those trenches. Jews and Rroma, they fell into the trenches dying..
Istrate: And they wanted to shoot us too.
Silvia: They were prepared to shoot us too. To shoot us, to shoot our parents, to shoot our siblings and all those who were with us. And then came a queen, a great lady came and when that verry queen came, she got off an aeroplane and said so: „Do not kill them, take them to the camp, let them work there. Get them to work, to work.”
So,they took us and put us in a camp together with the Jews. Those of us who remained were put together with the Jews.
They would wake us up at six in the morning and take us to the field. We hoeed the corn and it was wheat since the war started, the wheat had grown. And there were huge barns, kind of from here to the other end. And they put us to thresh the wheat. There were snakes, there were rats, there were lizards, all kind of beasts were in it.
Istrate: Some ate snakes, lizards, then they died, as these were poisonous.
Silvia: An we threshed it. We harvested the wheat, we harvested it. They would take us to hoe and weed the corn patches and the corn had by then grow big.
What did you call that place, Aunt Silvia. What was its name, do you remember?
Silvia: Where we were?
LMC: That wheat field filled of snakes…
Silvia: In Three Vans (Trei Dube). In Three Vans we were when we harvested the wheat.
This one went and brought with our cart , we had a new cart, beautiful one, that we used to travel with, as such were the carrges we used to have, we were travveling in carts. And he went an brought gasoline. He used to bring it from the train station filled in barrels. He brought them from there and we would cross them on the other side to Romania.
Istrate: There was a superviser (ceolovic) riding with me and that one was beating me up with the corbaci (*whip made out of braided with lead endings )…
Silvia: Beating him …
Istrate: Hitting over my face, my hands…
Silvia: Beat him up…
Istrate: He was jumping on me with his feet.
Why was he beating you?
Silvia: Just for fun, no reason
Istrate: No reason at all.
SILVIA: That´s how the Russians are.
And you were helping him ou, weren´t you?
Istrate: He came wioth me and beat me up in order to work harder.
Silvia: Killing him.
And what was he?
Silvia: Once he took him…
Let Istrate tell us.
Istrate: HE was a Russian.
Silvia: Was a superviser (ceolovic) from…
Istrate: And I was working.
What was his name?
Istrate: That one? Kolea was his name.
Silvia: Kolea was his name, there was a Romanian too.
There was also a Romanian…
Silvia: Păpşoiu it was. And there was an other one, one who took us to that place and then the crows ate him up …what was his name. Just that I remember, Stalin, no, not that one … the one who took us, Antonescu, he took us.
LMC: What do you mean with the crows ate him up?
Silvia: The crows ate him up out in the field.
Silvia: Well, this Antonescu.
No. Antonescu was not at the Bug. He was in Romania.
Silvia: The crows did not eat him? He was in Romania? This is what the people said, that he was eaten by the crows. Crows ate him…
And when we came back, it took about three months , we left…
You left there in August?
Silvia: No. We left in winter, on Shrovetide…
Silvia: Then it was over … finished.
We were comming on the road and bombs were falling. They targeted on the other side but they were falling on this side on us. And we were gathering the pile, my mother, my brothers, we came all toghether in a bunch. My mother told us: „Go under the carrige. ” She told us to go under the carrige becouse we won´t die there. We were barfoot as we came on foot. We used to cut off skin from dead cows to make opici ( lether soles bind together with strings on the feet). I had two children, twins, and one of them I left on the road …
Silvia: Yes. One of them I left behind on the road and the second oone died here, just now.
LMC: How did you leave him?
Silvia: I left him as he was, alive, I think he might have died…
Istrate: The German shot. If you were not walking you were shot.
Silvia: If one could not walk any more and sat down to rest a little, the Russin, German, whatever he was, was asking…
Istrate: The German would shoot you.
Silvia: That is right, Germans they were, Germans.
There were two women and two men. They carried children in their arms. Standing on the road. They could not walk any more, were tired, were resting. Then the German said “Kîrleai” and they answered “Kîrleai” so they fired their guns and shoot them all dead. They were joung people, good people, look now I must cry.
How could you not cry.
Silvia: I must cry everytime I remember. They armed the gun and shot, all of them…
This one was left behind, got lost. We lost sight of each other.
Istrate: Out of my family only two of us retured. Only two …
Silvia: His father died, he died…What are you asking, I did not hear you?
With whom were you at the Bug? Were you and the uncle married bakc then?
Silvia: Yes, I was married.
I was told that hte wedding took place at the Bug.
Silvia: We did the wedding there, did a wedding.
Istrate: One and a half years I suffered. And I had horses and I had ….
Silvia: He had nice mules and …
How did you organize a wedding there at the Bug?
Istrate: we did.
Tell us about it.
Istrate: I took two kilo of brandy and diluted it with water as we did not …
Silvia. We had nothing to take, there was nothing to buy.
Istrate: And so we did the wedding.
Silvia: They gave us 100 grams of flower, about 50 grams it took to make a polenta. Where there were five or six of them in a family, they could make a good polenta.
Istrate: And a kilogram of beans each.
Silvia: Half a kilogram of milk and beans they gave us.
Istrate: For a whole month. We ate that up in three days.
Silvia: And then, they took us to work in the woods.
What were you doing in the woods?
Silvia: In the woods we would cut trees. There were trees so thick that you needed ten people to cut one down. Ten men would work on cutting a tree.
Istrate: We had such large saws that we gathered three men on each end and pulled that woodpieces fell on our heads.
Silvia: popped up and fell on their heads. Some died, other survived, some escaped. They boke hands and feet…
Istrate: Out of five hundered men, only one huderered survived, all others were killed in the woods.
Silvia: He cut the dead mother in law and took of her…
Istrate: Listen to what the old lady is saying. .
Tell us ount Silvia, what happed there in the huts.
Silvia: Threevans was called the place.
Tell us how you got ill there at the huts.
Silvia: In Golta …
Tell us about the huts.
Istrate: At the huts they died all, all who were inside the huts.
Silvia: At the huts?
Istrate: At the huts. They died all who were inside the hits. We escaped becouse we came out and when we run off on the road, the German shot people and they remained dead on the road. Birds ate their carrion .
Silvia: In August we arrived here.
Have the two of you been sick with typhus?
Silvia: We were infected with typhus. I lost my hair becouse of it. Lost the hair on my head. He was almoust dead becouse of thyphus. Was infected with it. Taxia, daugther to Istrate, remained there, Istrate who is relatet to you too. He died at the Bug, Istrate, Istrate … who´s relative was Istrate?
Both: Son of Bukur.
Silvia: Istrate son of Bukur. Healthy man, good man. Taxia was Polos sister.
Silvia: Taxia was Pollos sister. What was the other called? Marghica.
Tell us about the pit where they threw the dead in. What do you remember about that?
Silvia: Where were they throwing the dead? People died at night, died in daylight…they took off their clothes … From the dead people, when they died, they stripped them of their shirts, of their coats … they took the clothes to give them to the ones who were stil alive and the dead ones were taken naked and thrown in the pit.
There was a huge pit there made by the Germans or Russians .. it was not made by Rroma. The pit was already there. They took the naked bodies and threw them in there.
All of them in that pit?
Silvia: That is right, just like dogs.
How was that pit?
Silvia: An when we left, some of us left as they were, pardon me saying, bare naked. They walked as far as they walked until a blizzard came and they all died.
Istrate: They all died.
Silvia: All died. Remained dead on the roads…
Istrate: Some run away …
Silvia: Germans would take our vagons, they got our people out of the vagons as theyr cars got stuck in the mud. The cars did not work, their cars. The cars would remain stuck in mud. We had vaggons, so the Germans would come and get us, they took or vaggons, threw us out of them and beat us. They were beating us up, hit us.
Istrate: And when the army was passing, came along, her orld father, who had money, would pay them five hundered and we could get back in a vaggon and went further and then they would take this baggon too, he would pay an other five hundered or a thousend on a new vaggon.
Silvia: It was Romanian money, money as there was back then.
The Romanian army, our army, what did they do? Were they hurting you?
Silvia: The Germans were, the Germans. The Romanians got us out from the Germans the romanians, the Germans were killing us. And then the Russians when we got to the Russians in Oancea. In Oancea…
Istrate: That was no Oancea.
Silvia: But where then, in Sîmboieşti?
In Sîmboieşti the Russians cought up with us and the Germans cought up with us on the other side of the water.
Istrate: Germans there found all people and killed them.
Silvia: They tool our white mules. They took our horses. They took our donkeys. We had mules an they took our vaggons and we came bacl .. in Auigust we arrived at Sîmboieşti. In those houses we had friendly people.
You returned on Easter, or?
Silvia: No. Easter we had on the road.
Istrate: On the road, it coought us on the road.
Silvia: In Ţîgavka we ate …there was a village called Ţîgavka.
Istrate: I was dying there.
Why were you dying?
Silvia: Of thyphos.
Istrate: Thyphos cought me on the road.
Silvia: Many people died of thyphos… Many died…
Silvia: of thyphos
And the Romanians? How did they wellcome you when you returned from