Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Marton Adler - July 13, 1989


What do you think?

I would imagine that they uh, died, I think, because it was the same day when they uh, they took us. What else, what do they need sixteen year old to uh, at two in the morning. So uh, so the next day they line us up, I mean again, go out, they trained us, but no food and we're starving, we haven't eaten for three days and finally they give us food. The bowl for five people, five people to a bowl. That bowl is not a liquid and it's not a solid, but they tell you, three I think, three, three gulps per person. Three or five, I forgot. I think it was either three or five. And you cannot gulp it because it's too thick, you cannot break it up because it's still you know like, like it's a liquid, so you--and what's in that bowl till today, I do not know. And then again, they gave you a little something later on, not later on, like the next day or the next morning they give you some black liquid, they called it coffee and then about um two days later or three, no more than three days, they marched us off, the whole barrack, they marched us off to a train. And now, and even then, I mean that train took us to Buchenwald. Now this train now is already entirely different than the other train, this is no longer with buckets and um, and um, you know, baggage and all that, this is now organized, it's a boxcar, you have a um, the size of the door, the width of the door is a bench, two SS, one watches one side with a loaded gun with a bayonet and the other one is the other side, north side to the south side let's say, and the way they transport these people, you gotta spread your legs as far as you can against the wall, then the next group is against you, and the next group is against the other one, and other one until you come to the door. Because the width of the door that belongs to the two SS men. The other two parts, well let's say a third and a third and a third, one third to two SS men and one third to maybe 60 people, 70 people, whatever, and the other part is the same thing. So I found myself, I was the first on the trains, I found myself against the wall and as these people keep coming, God, I'm less and less comfortable, I mean I'm really squeezed in tight now, as this group of men for some reason, I don't know what happened this SS man with the gun, you know, he was facing us, he says, "Junger" [youngster] "come over here," and I climbed all over these people and I ended up the first facing this SS man, I think he wanted to be kind to me. I mean this, I'm not being sarcastic. He felt let another guy be tramped in the back rather than this youngster. And I'm myself now not nearly as but I'm in the first row nobody's leaning against me.

And where is your father?

I don't know, I haven't got the slightest idea. But I know he's in that boxcar.

He's in the boxcar. You were in Auschwitz for three days.


Um, any, anything happen that you remember at Auschwitz?

No, no, no. All I remember in Auschwitz was this. We were in these barracks and you could see the chimneys and I remember in Auschwitz this is what my father told me this I'll always remember. He says, "You know Marton, they say," he says, "they say that, see those chimneys, they say that that's where your mother and your brothers and sister were burned." That's, that's, that's what he, that's the only discussion I had with him or we had. I didn't answer him and he did not elaborate any more. I didn't say they were right, I didn't say they were wrong, I didn't say they were crazy, he didn't say, he just said, "You know, they claim to that's where..." that's it. Then in Buchenwald, I remember when they sorted us out and ask us what kind of trade you want to learn and my father kind of helped me out he said, "Maybe you should be a goldsmith." Of all places. And that's about, and then they gave us a new trade. They taught us how to sew burlap sacks. I says, I remember doing, you take a piece of wood, you sharpen like a pencil, you make a hole in the burlap sack, then you take the uh twine and you put it through, then you take the wooden pencil they shows us, and I caught on that real good and I knew how to sew, instead of a goldsmith I became a um, burlap sewer. But that didn't last too long, but because from Buchenwald, oh yeah, they registered us they put a number on us here with a photograph like I'm sitting here, and my number was 55,050. And that group belonged to, consisted of 1,000 people from the, from the number 55,000 to 56,000. That group of 1,000. Came to Dora most of the older people were all killed, murdered...

From Buchenwald to Dora?

To Dora, from Buchenwald to Dora we went by truck.

Let me, just for a minute, take you back to Auschwitz, when your father said that about the chimneys, what then or later did you think about it? Were you wondering where...

No, I didn't think about it at all, because you had, you had always other priorities. There was always--for instance, the priority, for argument sake, say to go to the latrine. If he let you go to the latrine it was your favor, he may hit you by asking to going to the latrine, and if you go to the latrine, it's a, it's a, it's like a big log, like a stick or big urinal you can only stay there only a minute and if not he could push you in there so there was always other worries. Now for instance let's say if you worked, where you worked at you had to work at calisthenics speed. And they would hit you and beat you and then there was the beater, you would come and they would beat you regardless. So when I see them over there, I wanted to make sure that I really worked hard that he liked the way I worked. So there was always things to worry about. To worry about uh, even the shoes you had already after a while, the wooden shoes, they shouldn't steal at night because somebody's shoes got stuck in the mud. So those things, didn't, didn't, I, you, you would were always on the go, you were on the go 24 hours a day, I mean.

At night in the barracks, did you...

At night in the barracks, I mean, oh, you had to make sure that you got your spot, you had to run up there make sure that you have your shoe behind your back that nobody will steal that or the little bread that you have for the morning and it's not like you go to bed and you don't want too much light, you got an alarm clock, and before you fall asleep, they've already woke you up I mean and their...

You began today by reciting the daily prayer, thanking God for...

Yeah, well, I mean that's what it's like, it's like saying something in French you don't know French, at the time I didn't, I just know that it was meant for me to do and I memorized, you know, we had to do it.

Did people still pray in Auschwitz?

Oh, yeah. Oh yes.

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