Golda's Stories of the Holocaust
Part III - Elevation
Section 1 – Sweden
Chapter A – The sanatorium in Vingoker
I recover among many survivors
The trucks transported us to a luxury train. Each one of us was given a comfortable bed for a sleep. We traveled in this way three days, during which we received a good treatment.
We arrived at Sweden from the city Libk.
Girls who could not walk were taken to a suitable hospitalization.
Those who could still walk were placed in big tents, in order to make baths and showers.
At first they made us baths of hot water and washed us properly with soap. In the way out from the bath the Swedish surprisingly splashed on us cold water from pipes. We screamed because of the cold.
They took us from there to a sumptuous summer sanitarium which was closed. They gave us beautiful beds, with paper bed shits. All the elementary things that we needed were given to us.
We stayed there only for two weeks.
Doctors examined us to determine who is in a good condition.
Later all the girls who were healthy more or less, and among them me, were sent to another camp, Vingoker.
Every one could stay there all the time that she wanted, until she will recover and feel good.
I stayed in Vingoker almost a year.
I was still weak and did not have enough strength for the toil of life.
We felt very good there. Nothing was missing.
We received pretty clothes: a nightgown, two summer dresses, two winter dresses, a coat, shoes and boots.
There was no shortage of food. The food was very good, as in a sanitarium.
The only problem was with the money. We were receiving only five kronas for the week. This was pocket money, which managed only for the purchase of very few things.
I wanted to earn few more kronas. My mother was in Poland and my sister Sonia returned there from Russia with her husband and her little children. They had nothing. There was nothing in Poland after the war.
I was told that if I wish clean the lavatories, them I can earn very well.
I didn't care. The main point was that there is a work, and everything else will be okay.
I bought few good things, like sweets and a clock. I saved money, and I sent to my mother a package of five kilo of fat. It was before Passover. Mother wrote that it rescued them. They had something to eat and they were very satisfied.
My roommate was an adult woman around the age of fifty five. Her name was Riva Dantziger. She loved to tell me on her marriage before the war and about her sweet marriage life.
I learned from her how to behave with the husband and how is the life after the wedding.
I knew from Poland how to ride on bicycle. Riva wanted to go out with me to travel, and requested that I will teach her. It was common in Sweden to ride on bicycle. Very soon I taught here.
We traveled to the city. We bought a membership card to a fair which showed wonderful things that we have not seen yet and we were amazed.
We had many friends and companions. We spent time with them and had fun in many places. I had a great time.
The Swedish were very nice and quiet and treated us very good.
Once they took us to a trip to the sea beach, on huge horse carriages that served for straw transport. There were benches on the carriages and they were decorated beautifully with flags.
We traveled several hours in all the roads. Along the roads stood many people and waved their hands to us. The trip was a wonderful experience.
I was chosen in Vingoker to go from time to time to the "The White House" club.
Every two weeks arrived there a big dancing band of fifteen musicians, in order to play for us.
At first I used to stand at the side and watch the people who danced.
The guys used to invite me to dance with them.
I had to apologize: "I don't know how to dance".
One Swedish guy promised: "I will teach you".
I didn't want. We argued, and almost forcibly he dragged me to the dance floor. He explained me the steps and since then I know to dance.
Once they gave me in Wingokor ten kronas as pocket money instead of five. I thought that they are for a friend of mine. I asked her and she answered that she already received it.
I went to the office and returned the money.
The Swedish were amazed that a girl like me, who was almost without money, did so.
From that day on they gave me a lot of respect: When someone at the gate would request to visit one of the girls, they called and asked me if I allow him to enter. I always approved this.
I met a Christian guy who wanted very much to marry me.
Riva talked on my heart: "Why not, why do you care, let him be a Christian. See what a nice guy he is, what a sweet. He loves you so much. Why can't you marry him?"
I answered: "No, I don't want to marry a Christian".
She teased me: "Do you think that in the Land of Israel you will get a pretty groom like him. You will have good life with him. Why do you care"?
I repeated firmly: "Out of the question and no way!"
The Christian girls there used to make a lot of troubles. They stole the bed-sheets and the blanket-covers, made clothes and sold them.
The Jewish girls did not do it, only the plain Christian girls.
There was a Christian girl who planned to return to Poland with two suitcases packed with these things.
She was very beautiful. The manager of Vingoker, who was an honorable former parliament member, used to dance with her in "The White House". Once, during one of the dances, he lifted his coat, covered her with it, and kissed her.
He followed her to the gate and carried one suitcase. On the way a suitcase broke up and all the clothes fell outside. Everyone saw in their eyes who are the thieves. He was very nice. He helped her to pack the suitcase and let her leave without remarks.
There was at our place a Christian manager from Poland who was very anti-Semitic.
She always informed that we are healthy but don't want to go out to work. This was not true.
Once I received a letter from Russia, from my brother Benjamin who heard that I am in Sweden.
The post office was quite remote, in the city, and we had to travel to it.
She complained at the manager: "Don't let her go alone to take the letter. She received a letter from Russia. Maybe she is a Communistic. Who knows what is written in it".
She said that she will go to see what letter I receive and she wants to read him first.
I recovered a little and was fed up with the jealous girls.
Some of them wanted my work. They saw that I earn very well, and decided: "We will divide the work between us. You will work three days in a week, I two days and she a day".
I decided to search for a better work.
I said to the manager that I am already healthy, can work, and will find work by myself.
I wanted to live close to my sister Eva.
She also arrived at Sweden, and was in a school at the city Porshkava.
Every so often I used travel to her, and bring her good things.
It was very happy in her school. Everybody there loved me and when I arrived we had a nice party.
I was told that there is no work at Porshkava, except in one hospital.
I answered: "This is not important. Let it be in the hospital. They will teach me how to work with sick people".