July 29, 1932 I went to a campaign speech I and heard Adolf Hitler campaigning fordictatorship for Germany. He was saying that his opponents say the National Socialists are not German at all, because they refuse to work with other political parties.
I think every one should work together, I hope he doesn’t win. I don’t care for his ideas.December 25, 1932 Momma and Aunt Mildred made the best Christmas diner ever. I got a new suit from Papa and Mama.March 8, 1933 Hitler became the Dictator of Germany. It is a sad day for Jews, some of our friends and neighbors have been leaving to other countries, they say Germany will be ruined under Hitler’s rule.
Papa says things will not get that bad.March 14,1933 The Nazis invaded, they set fire to most of it. It was bad enough that we must wear stars on our shirts and our businesses were taken.March 15, 1933 My family’s house was destroyed and we moved in with uncle Pincus.November 11, 1933 I’d heard rumors that Jews were going to Auschwitz. But I didn’t know what Auschwitz means,I have heard rumors people are being kept in prison there, how can it be that Jews can be imprisoned without committing a crime.
Mama is worried and papa and uncle Pincus are talking about escaping the city.November 14, 1933We got the dreaded notice that we had been selected for resettlement farther east. There will be no time to escape from the soldiers. The train cars they took us in were actually cattle cars. We entered the cars and sat on our baggage. There was not very much room between us and the roof of the cattle car.
We could not open them from the inside. The windows were small, open rectangles. Our car had from 100 to 120 people in it so it was quite crowded.
We had some water and some food . The cars were sealed At night as we traveled, the train was filled with so many people that no matter where you turned you were almost face to face with the next person. There were no bathrooms on the train, only a bucket that was passed around. At times it smelled so badly, I thought I would be sick to my stomach.
We heard gun shot, but did not know why these shots were fired, Then I heard an old man with a beard say that the SS troops were on the roofs of the cattle cars shooting past the windows to discouragepeople from sticking their heads out. The train is moving at a fairly great speed. There was no stopping. November 16, 1933 We traveled day and night. The train is cold and the smell is awful.
November 19,1933 At four o’clock three days later one morning at dawn, we looked through the cracks in the cattle car. I saw the name Auschwitz in Polish. I was paralyzed. I didn’t feel anything. When daylight came, they slid the car door open. All we heard was, “Raus, raus, get out of here, get out of here!” I had to crawl over people who had died from the cold and from lack of food and water.
When they opened the doors to the cattle car, we jumped off as quickly as we could because we were under orders. We grabbed what we could and assembled outside. SS men with the skulls on their hats and collars stood in front of us stretched out at intervals about every ten feet. The SS officer in charge stood with his German shepherd. The officer had one foot propped up on a little stool. We lined up and filed by him, everyone that got of the train had to place their valuables in wooden crates.
Whatever we had, we lost. Those who didn’t give up their possessions willingly or quickly were beaten. Right there the selection took place, as each person passed by him, he pointed left or right. The thumb left and right was your destiny.
The people sent to the left went to a large building , I could see the people to the left were mostly elderly or young children. I was sent to the right. Before us stood an immenserectangle of land surrounded by electrically-charged barbed wire. This must be the Auschwitz death camp. We were assembled in long rows and marched between the troops of the SS soldiers into the camp. We were marched up and down a broad avenue for four or five hours between posts of barbed wire with a huge sign, EXTREME DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL WIRES. We saw guard towers high above us. We saw men with machine guns inside them, All the men walk in silence, we are pretty sure this must be a death camp.
Back and forth and back and forth, they just kept us in motion. They told us we were going to be given some new clothing, but before that, we were sent into the showers. . We started washing ourselves. We got out and stood there. We were deloused because we had lice. One guard stood there putting some kind of a chemical under our arms, and one shaved our heads. Then we were given some prisoner’s uniforms, very similar to the uniforms a prisoner would wear.
We were issued wooden shoes, we didn’t get the sizes we normally wore, we had to make do with what we got. Then we were lined up again in single file and tattooed on the forearm. My number was 161253. November 20, 1933 As it got closer to the morning, I was feeling more desperate to get out of this nightmare. This place is such a terrible sight to behold.
Men are thin and frail, most have been beaten, food is scarce, and it is cold. November 21, 1933Then we were separated into different groups and walked to what they called the B camp of Auschwitz. The women’s campwas separated from the men’s camp by a wide road. There were about 24 barracks for men and the same number for women.
The men in charge were called barracks’ elders or capos. They were German criminals taken from German prisons and sent to oversee the people in the barracks. The bunks we slept in were in three tiers, lower, middle, and upper. The mattress was just burlap filled with straw. We had not eaten at that time, and we were not to get anything to eat until the next morning.
November 22, 1933 They woke us at 5:00 or 5:30 each morning. There were about 300 or 400 men to a barrack. We had double or triple bunks. The bunks were actually single beds, but two people had to sleep on one bunk.
We laid on straw. We were told to get out of the barracks as fast as we could. We were arranged in groups of five with just small distances between us.
The SS trooper would come by and start counting one, two, three, four, five. If he miscounted, he went over it again we stood there two hours. I kept wondering why none of us tried to overpower this lone guard who had just a small pistol. In the morning we got metal cups and spoons. We were each given two slices of bread or watered down oatmeal.
The coffee was toasted acorns ground up. It tasted terrible. Soup was served at lunch time around twelve or one o’clock.
We got soup or just plain water in a metal tin like a mess kit. It wasn’t even hot. We each had a spoon, and we were fishing all the time in the soup to see if there was anything in it to eat, unfortunately we rarely found anything in there. In the evening wegot a slice of bread about a quarter of an inch thick.
November 23 1933There was always this sickly sweet smell in the air. We saw a large chimney belching smoke 24 hours a day. We saw German military trucks and buses going back and forth. December 5.1933 We made the best we could of the situation. My brother Phil had hidden a book by the German poet Goethe. We read it twice.
We memorized it. We quoted from it. We had a deck of cards. We played card games. There wasn’t anything else we could do, we tried to keep occupied so we didn’t have to face reality.
December 8,1933 I was assigned laying stone for the road. They only gave us half a portion of food, I am getting weaker everyday. December 14, 1933 Nothing grew in Auschwitz. There was not a tree, not a , no grass or anything. A drainage ditch ran through the B camp. Daily the SS guards sent prisoners to shovel out waste out of this ditch. We were weak and desperate for food, many people were getting sick because of the unsanitary conditions.
We were starving, and dreaming of food. People are dying around me. I almost don’t want to get close to anyone anymore, because it hurts so much to watch them waste away or be beaten to death. All I could do is hope and pray, how can God let this happen, I am angry with him. I can only hope that the end of the war is in sight. December 26,19343 I have seen so many people die most of thepeople who come to the camps are already weakened.
The guards have no regard for life here, they are demons working for the Hitler, the devil himself. The smell is unbearable, I can see bodies being tossed in huge holes from the window at the end of the barracks, they are stacked like wood, naked, without dignity. Nobody to close their eyes.
. All hours day or night a cart came, people were simply grabbed by the hand and foot and tossed on there. I wonder how long it will be before I’m there.January 3, 1934 I was too sick to eat my soup, but I knew I must keep it. I hid that soup behind my bunk. When there was an inspection, the guards found the soup I was hiding, we weren’t supposed to have any food in the barracks. They took me outside and beat me.
I passed out after three blows. Phil helped me up, he helped me to my bunk and helped me on my feet before the officials came into the barracks the next day for inspection, Anybody who couldn’t move from his bed was taken away. January 17,1934 During the day German guards on trucks ran back and forth telling prisoners to jump on. I was carrying steel beams. This is such a cold winter I am so very cold.
Fifteen or twenty men were lift each side of the beam because it was a wide beam. Eventually they told us to place it on top of another beam but when we tried we couldn’t tear away our hands from the steel because they were frozen to the beam. The skin came off and started bleeding. They didn’t permit us to put any kind of cloth over our hands. We had to carry it bare.
I can’t bare this life anymore, death will be welcomed. January 18, 1934 We had to work 9 or 10 hours a day. I am now unloading gravel and coal from trains. If you didn’t finish your assigned task, you got a beating. We were clothed in an undershirt and a thin, striped coat. We worked outside when it was often 20 degrees, People just froze to death. The hunger was also terrible.
. We are constantly hungry, I am so tired. January 30, 1934 I met a friend of mine from my hometown. He gave me the name of a man who had been in Auschwitz for a long time and was a good friend of my family. At Auschwitz, he supervised other inmates. I went to see him and asked if he could give my brother and me different jobs. Lucky for me, he gave us work making metal cabinets.
Our job was to carry things. We were not cabinet makers, but we did the lifting and it was indoors. February 10,1934 We had what they called a selection. They came into the barracks and picked out the people who looked very skinny and couldn’t work anymore. They looked you over, and if you were too weak they put down your number.
The next morning they came for the men, they said they were to be taken to the showers to get cleaned up.February 15, 1934 When the Russians came close to Auschwitz, the Germans took us from the camp and marched us west away from the approaching army. February 16,1934 We marched a whole night to the Polish city of Gleiwitz, about 70 miles away. My brother kept saying to me, “Let’s escape.” I kept telling him that this was not the time because I knew we were still in German territory.
I said, “Where are you going to hide? The people, they are not friendly.” But he wouldn’t listen. Suddenly I didn’t see him anymore. Since then I lost him. They put us on a cattle train in Gleiwitz February 26,1934 The train took us to Germany. it took 10 days. They packed us about 150 people to a car with no food. Fortunately for us the cars were cracked open.
Some people had kept their cups.. I had found string in the car, night while the German guards were not watching I attached the string to a cup and scooped up snow. That kept wa our only clean water source. Finally we got to Nordhausen, a large German concentration campMarch 5, 1934 .
We were there about 10 days, and then they sent us to a camp called Dora in the mountains. The Germans were making V2 missiles there. We did hard labor, digging tunnels into, the mountains.March 14, 1934 At Dora we were hardly fed, most of the people I came with are dead. I look at my body and can’t believe this very skinny man is me. I am feelingsick again, all I can think about is Phil, Poppa and Momma I want to know if they are alright I hope Phil got away.
All I can do is pray that God will help us soon. A campaign speech from July 1932: “Our opponents accuse us National Socialists, and me in particular, of being intolerant and quarrelsome. They say that we don’t want to work with other parties. They say the National Socialists are not German at all, because they refuse to work with other political parties. So is it typically German to have thirty parties? I have to admit one thing – these gentleman are quite right.
We are intolerant. I have given myself one goal – to sweep these thirty political parties out of Germany. They mistake us for one of them. We have one aim, and we will follow it fanatically and ruthlessly to the grave.”