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Holocaust survivor Reva Kibort remembers when the German soldiers came to Warsaw, Poland, and at first, she says, "they weren't so bad." But soon enough she was transported to a concentration camp, escaping the murder the other children suffered by hiding in a pile of dirty laundry. Kibort gives her Brief but Spectacular take on being a survivor and speaking out about injustice.
I was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1933.
I remember when the Germans came in, and, actually, the soldiers, they weren't so bad. We lined up in lines to get food. They gave us soup and bread. And that was my first memory of the German soldiers. They were not that bad.
But we learned later on what it was going to be like.
The Warsaw ghetto, towards the end, looked like people walking around like zombies, dead bodies, people who had starved from hunger. It was the most devastating place to live in.
They took away everybody's dignity, you know? I was very, very hungry, and I told my mother that I was hungry.
And she said to me — she said- "Reva, I have nothing to give you. There's nothing to eat. What you should do is take this big rubber ball and go out and play, and you will forget that you're hungry."
We were put on trains and taken to a camp called Demblin. There were 11 children in the camp. I was the oldest among the 11. And then there was this German who said to me, "Throw the child away," because I was holding a six-month-old little baby.
I ran into the dirty clothing that the women had taken off, a pile of dirty clothes, and I could see that the same German took a machine gun and killed all 11 children right in front of me while I was watching them.
I ran into the women's barrack, and the women sort of attacked me, saying- "Where are all the kids? What happened to the children?"
And I said, "I don't know." I believe they probably knew. I didn't have to tell them.
I was one of the youngest in my camp. I survived when I was 12. And I feel, if I'm not going to speak out now, it will be up to my children, and my grandchildren, and maybe great-grandchildren to tell the story of the Holocaust.
So, we have to speak up. Whenever you see injustices at all, you have to speak up.
It bothers me a great deal when I see somebody who is hungry. It bothers me if I see a homeless person. It bothers me when I see people standing in line for food, because all these things come back to me all the time.
Are you angry?
Am I angry?
I'm angry. I will tell you why I'm angry. I'm angry mostly because I was an orphan. They deprived me of my mother and father. They deprived me of grandparents, of cousins. They deprived me of a childhood that I never had.
Yes, I'm angry.
But, at the same time, I'm also very happy that I'm here in America, and for the opportunities that I had and what America had given to me. I'm very happy about that.
My name is Reva Kibort, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on being a survivor.
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