Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eva Ackermann - December 6, 1982

Punishments in Camp

And another system--if you were caught stealing a potato--I don't know if you heard that before, if it was going on in other camps, I didn't ever exchange uh, what the someth....with anybody else a experience. But if you were caught at what uh, stealing potatoes you were put between right, right at the gate uh, between the two uh, fences. You were standing there for about six to--six to seven hours with a potato in your mouth in the bitter cold. Well you never survived that. I mean, that just one way of destroy--this was of their ways of uh, destroying.

Were you ever punished?

I went through the worst punishment that uh, you could imagine. I had a friend who worked at, at--I didn't work in the kitchen anymore. I had a friend, he was French and he worked in the kitchen and uh, one evening he brought me uh, secretly somehow behind the barracks, he brought me a dish of cottage cheese. And one of the Kapos....

Jewish Kapo?

Exactly. Caught me getting that uh, dish of cottage cheese and reported it uh, because you weren't suppose to uh, either fraternize or uh, to have access to anything or uh, so it was blown out completely, out of proportion because the next morning uh, as we were--there were 150 women, we were uh, standing on Zählappell, uh, the--one of the SS came and he said that uh, this woman uh, gave herself to a man for a dish of uh, cottage cheese and for that she will have to be punished. And uh, I said uh, I was terrified. They took me into the barracks. I was first of all floored. I was, I was ashamed totally. That was absolutely untrue. I was all of nineteen years old and uh, coming from a conservative home there was nothing and at that time uh, nothing dreamed of. They said, I said "please uh, I would like to be examined because," I said it in German, it wouldn't make much sense in English. I said, "Ich bin Unschuldig." It means that if your a virgin your Unschuldig. But that was denied to me and the punishment was I had to have my hair, I don't--no one else did--they shaved off my hair leaving me with the size of a shaving brush, leaving it in the middle.

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