Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irving Altus - June 2, 1982

Forced Labor (Continued)

What sort of work did, did you do?

Everything. There's not such a thing. I--no skilled work or whatever--just plain work.

Wife: Tell him about pushing on the wagon.

This is in Auschwitz, but 'til Auschwitz...

Wife: Yes, Auschwitz.

Until Auschwitz, when they were...

Anything. All kinda work.

Were there only...

Railroads and factories and, and bringing wood and uh, preparing, helping--you know, the, they used to build something, so you used to get the sand--the gravel. Anything. Just strictly work.

Were there only Jews in this...

No, before--no--other, other nationalities too.

A lot of them?

Even Germans, even Germans.

A lot of others?

Communists--German communists or--which they didn't agree with Hitler, all kind, yeah.

Were you treated any worse as a Jew than these others?

No, no. In the labor camps before Auschwitz, no.

Did they know you were Jewish?

I don't know, really. I don't think they sent papers with us or to tell the guards that this is a--I, I don't think so, no. The same food--the same thing. In Auschwitz they knew the Jews. But not, not 'til Auschwitz.

So as far as you knew you were um, not treated any worse than any other person with the rest...

'Til Auschwitz, no, no, no. We were arrested by the, by the SS. Everybody--like I say, their own German people, same thing. In Auschwitz, it was a different story. The Germans, they made of uh, Kapos, for bosses, for uh, you know, the, the, the, to run the, the camps, the barracks and the things. But then it was very bad. Then the Jews suffered a lot. When they brought us to Auschwitz any Polack, anybody was better than a Jew. Anybody, not mentioning any names, but better than a Jew.

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