Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irving Altus - June 2, 1982


What did you think then?

Wife: Didn't believe it.

No, the most people didn't believe. And they start giving them food and they, they could. And a lot of people start getting food on their own and before the day was over a lot of people died. They couldn't digest.


And uh, and again you know, I--there was hospitals there and everything. I wasn't--I felt good the same day. Very little eating thing, I wasn't sick, I didn't go into the hospital. I just walked around and looked. They give me new clothes, other clothes you know, clean and thing. After a shower I walked around and whatever you know, they served very little food. I don't remember, but I didn't run to get anything extra. Nothing and I wasn't sick not one day.

So how long did you stay in Theresienstadt?

I think uh, two or three weeks, something like this to recuperate and--I really, after I left Theresienstadt I was in good shape. I mean--you know, I don't know whether any good. But I was all right. I ca...you know, I was all right. And I had some friends there which I met, which the people were in Auschwitz from my city, like four or five of my friends from our little city in Theresienstadt. And we made up our minds we want to go home and see who is alive. Because we could go without money, without tickets. The trains were free, for us. For the people who went through the concentration camps, you know, they had the numbers, or whatever. Or you got a piece of paper from the Red Cross that you are a survivor and thing. And we went home to Poland, to our own little city to look for the families. We came in there. It was again like a dozen people were in the little town. Survivors, only--not people which they lived through the war in Czekanów. All from the, either they came from Russia, mi...with the Russians or from the camps, survivors. And I didn't see, I didn't find anybody from the whole--a big kinda... Like I say, my father had three brothers--married, all families with kids. My mother had three sisters. Nobody was alive. They start telling me that they were with uh, my parents and my family, my brothers. They knew pretty much, like I knew from some people you know, which they didn't make it you know, when I was with 'em together, they were--so I think we all were right like ninety-nine percent. Maybe you miss something, like I say, you couldn't say a, but we knew exactly who's alive and...

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