Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eva Ackermann - December 6, 1982

Arrival at Concentration Camp

When the doors to the train opened, what do you remember?

Well, I tell you what I remember. There were a lot of Jewish people uh, who were dead for years, Polish Jewish people. And we were uh, uh, uh, there were mostly Jewish people who were uh, uh the welcoming committee so to speak and we were standing and uh, on uh, whatever we were, I don't know wherever we got off, I don't remember that.

This was daytime? Did you arrive in the daytime?

It was daytime and uh, we had to handle the uh, the knapsack, whoever had a knapsack last had to hand it over. We had a choice of keeping one jacket. I mean if you had two, you were not, we were to hand over all the valuables, talking about watches and whatever, I didn't have. I had a watch, I didn't have any valuables, but I had to h...hand over the little knapsack that I had with some pictures that I uh, valued of my parents and uh, I don't know, I must have just put in some pictures and whatever clothing I had in there. And, like I said, you were left with one coat. If you had two uh, you had to hand it in.

To the Polish Jews?

Uh, I suppose, I don't recall uh, I don't recall, I suppose the uh, the SS was there to at that, I just remembered at that point, that uh, uh, and then we were housed in barracks. I imagine about 200 people to a barrack and uh, just on some hay and you covered up with the coat you that you were uh, left with. And would you turn it off for a minute....

You're off the train now.

I told you that they took everything and a we were a lot of, there were 7,000 men in that uh, camp, Lager 11. And uh, there were a few hundred women and look how ironic everything is. Uh, they selected 150 people to uh, to stay and take care of the kitchen in that camp and the rest of them were gonna go on to other camps. And I was selected because I spoke uh, very well German. So I was selected to stay there. You know where the rest of them went? They went Bergen-Belsen and I would have met my mother. See, it was meant for me to never to see her again. And uh, someone meet her there--a cousin of mine met her there. One of the survivor cous...surviving cousins and she said, do you know what a Zählappell is?

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