Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Olga Adler - July 26, 1982

Forced Labor Camps 2

And what, what were your family's uh, suspicions? Did your family think you were all right? Were you all right? Were you able to communicate?

Husband: Most of us were all right. It wasn't uh, it wasn't life threatening...


Husband: at that time yet.

And what did you do in the forced labor camps?

Husband: Well, we did all, you know, the hard labor. Like uh, if you would be uh, condemned to or sentenced to hard labor. Fortification.

But it wasn't still a concentration camp, you know.

Husband: Build roads, uh...

How did it differ...

Husband: bunkers.

how did it differ from a concentration camp?

Husband: Pardon me?

How did it differ from a concentration camp?

Husband: Well uh, perhaps it was not uh, as, uh...

Of course, it was very degrading.

Husband: Not, it was just...

Nah, no.

Husband: They stood over you, you know, but in some places, it varied.


Husband: In some places uh, they're quite severe. If you didn't do your job, they might beat you up, or the uh, guards, or they might even kill you or shoot you. In other places it wasn't as bad. But you had to work hard in most places.

And if you worked hard...

Husband: It depended, it depended on the uh, on the commander of the unit or the area where, you know, it was under a uh, a uh, main command where there were several labor camps. And uh, it depended on that until 1942, at which time then it, it became uh, a severe outfit and all the Jews regardless of, of age, as I say, between sixteen and sixty, had to go and, and many of them were sent to the front in Russia. Uh, most of them uh, were then sent to different parts of Hungary uh, Poland, the Ukraine and worked there under... Uh, those beyond the border worked under the top organization, the German uh, what do you call that, the Marine unit, like actually not Marine but they were the uh, you've heard about the ??? organization. They built all the bridges and, and fortifications and, and uh, he, he was executed too, I believe, by Hitler. And uh, so the high command was German and the Hungarian labor units were uh, um, under that organization.


Husband: So, the highest command was German engineer.

But we were still not under, under German. You know, Germans didn't come in yet.

Husband: Well they, they distributed the work or they demanded the work through the Hungarian commander.


Husband: So, actually we didn't uh, work under, directly under German command. Work in Hungarian command.

Okay thank you.

Thank you.

Husband: And of course many of them, many of those especially those who were in the front line ??? many of them, about ninety percent of them, died because they were used as uh, guinea pigs or as uh, instead of using, not guinea pigs but...

I think you might mean....

Husband: pigs or, or dogs, they were sent...


Husband: No, not the decoys, where there were field mines were hidden...


Husband: so they sent them to uh, to detect field mines and be blown to smithereens by them. Uh, many of them were uh, died of exposure. And uh, some of them when the uh, German Hungarian army were surrounded uh, and they became, they fell into uh, ??? prison, prisoners of war. And they treated them just like they treated the Germans. About ninety percent of them died right in those uh, prisoners' camp. Uh, some of them, especially those who came from our part of the country were then recruited by the uh, Czech army, which was at that time under

Okay Poffi.

Husband: Czech government in exile and they recruited those Jewish boys into the Czech army, which was about to be uh, uh, established at that time.


Husband: It was...


Husband: They came back with the Russians on the Russian front. Some of the Jewish boys, of course, they managed to escape to London. They were used there in the, uh...

Okay, thank you.

Thank you. Okay and, uh...

[interruption in interview]

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