Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mom's time alone.

I think I ended with mom being picked up outside of church.  When we traveled back to Italy I got to go in that church and stand on those steps.  It gave me a feeling of stepping back in time.  It was a beautiful church and I could just imagine her coming out and the German soldiers grabbing her by the arm.  I am sure she was scared but I know my mom had a quick wit and she was smart enough to convince them to let her live, because if they did not believe her it was certain death.  Mom also talked about her ride in the train for the first time.  They were loaded into cattle cars with just what she had on.  She had slipped her identification papers into her good Sunday shoes.  She said some of the cattle cars went to work camps and some went to the death camps.  She said she was lucky hers went to the work camp.  Mama only told us bits and pieces, she never talked a lot about it.  I am sure it just brought everything back, all the cold and unbelievable actions that people can do to each other.   I know they were in a big camp and they would take them out to build and fix roads and any other manual labor they needed done.  The thing my mother talked the most about was when she would be sent to work for a German Lady at her farm. She was kept in a room(if you want to call it a room) the size of a refrigerator.  That is were she slept.  They would often be fed the potato peelings and pig slop.  She said it was years before she could eat potatoes again, but it turned out to be one of her favorite things before she died.  She had to chop wood, one time she said she wasn't chopping fast enough and the woman beat her hands with a stick.  She said in the winter when it was so cold outside an older woman taught her to pass her urine over her hands to help warm them up.  Needless to say her hands worked hard but I remember them as being so pretty, holding your hand, fixing dinner, making flower arrangements, wiping away tears, fixing  our cuts and scrapes, and she loved getting her nails done!!  It was her last outing before she died, was to get her nails done!  Big change from having to pee on them to keep them warm.  
      There was a Polish man who also was working on the farm as a prisoner.  The Germans did not discriminate about taking prisoners.  Mama said she kept loosing weight and getting skinnier and this Polish guy kept looking pretty good.  So one day she asked him what he did and he quietly took her into the barn and unwrapped two eggs he had snuck out from the hen house.  Now if they got caught they would be beaten at the least.  So he takes one egg and eats it raw!!
Then he gives my mother one to take.  She takes the egg and swallows and proceeds to get sick.  She said she got so ill.  He also could milk the cow squirting one teat in the bucket and the other in his mouth.  She said the prisoners tried to look out for each other.  She also remembered one morning at the big camp where she woke up and she said half of the camp had died or was dying.  She did not know what they had.  She did say there were kind people also on the outside.  She remembered an instance when a German girl gave her a slice of bread through the fence.  Someone must have seen it because she did not come back.  To me the hardest thing is to believe that we human beings put on this earth by one God, would do such horrible things to each other.  It makes me cry.  The other amazing thing about this is that my mother went through all this and maintained a sense of humor and a love for life and was able to pass that on to us, her children.  Well now I can't tell you the farmer's name because what mom called her I can't put here!!
But I guess she's allowed.  I just thought of another funny thing, I know mom was taught by the underground how to fight, so when I started dating my mother gave the lessons on what to do if a boy tries to get too frisky.  The other funny story that is related is after my day passed away a friend of mine fixed mom up with this fellow.  Well his son had a bread truck so he would bring bread up when he came to visit mom.  This went on for a couple of months.  Well I noticed that the "bread man" hadn't been around in a while and I asked mom what happened.  She said "He never took me anywhere, he always wanted to stay here!  I didn't give it away for bread during the war and I am not giving it away for bread now!!.  Well we laughed till we had tears.  I am sure there is more to mom's time in camp than I have but like I said she kept most of it to herself.  Ciao, Maria

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