Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Dealing with Corpses

Walking back from work, would, would, would it be dark at night when you would come back from your first job?

Uh, in the morning. That, that was in the morning already, yeah, probably.

So what would you pass on your way?

Six, seven o'clock in the morning. Streets. I don't, I don't remember what street the factory was on. The first one I don't remember what street it was on. The second one I remember and that was on Brzezinśka, 96, but the second, the first one I don't remember what street it was on.

Would there be beggars standing on the streets? Would there be bodies anywhere?

Yeah, bodies. Oh yeah. Beggars, there were no beggars. Nobody would give 'em anything. Bodies, yes. They used to uh, you know if somebody died they used to put 'em out in front of the uh, uh, building and uh, a wagon would drive by and pick up the bodies.

So there's a, a kind of burial brigade.

That's right.

Um, what did you think about that?

We were in shock. You didn't, you didn't think of what's gonna be a year from now, you just thought for today. If you had enough food for today, you were happy. There was never enough food. If you survive, you had enough to survive, that was it.

Did, did anyone that you knew um, die in the building for example?

Oh yeah. A lot of people died in the building. Of course.

And did you help take them out?

No. I was, I was little. I was only seven, eight years old.

And you, you, you told me that your father had worked on another Kommando.

That was at the, the, the, the dead people?


That was in concentration camp.

And what about the, was it the excrement Kommando that...

Oh yeah. That was in this field. Yeah. He, my dad used to work in this uh, right here, this field. And they'd uh, they'd uh, uh, put the excrement as a, as a fertilizer.

Human excrement.

Human excrement, right. And uh, you know, they needed help to push, because sometimes it got uh, muddy or something, they got stuck and they didn't want all the uh, fertilizer to go in one spot because it would burn the uh, the ground. So he'd help 'em push it. And then one day I guess this uh, guard, right here. There was, there was a fence and they had guards every few hundred feet and I guess the guard, the, the wind was blowing his way and he didn't like the smell and he took a shot and killed one of the men pushing the uh, wagon.

Your father told you about that.

My father was there, yes, helping him push that wagon, yeah.

What did he, what did he say about that? What happened to the body at that point? Did they just leave it there?

Just I guess, well everybody, you know, when they start to shoot everybody runs. Then they came back and picked up the body and, uh.

So at, at this point, age nine, ten, you're used to seeing piles of dead bodies in the street.

Oh yeah. Dead body didn't mean a thing. A dead uh, animal on a road bothers me more now than a dead body did in those days.

Was there lice?

Can we stop for a minute?


I have to go. I'll be right...Over here?

[interruption in interview]

Um, were there any other incidents like the one your father told you about that you remember?

Well, I remember one time they emptied, there was a hospital. I don't remember what year that was. That must have been '42 or '43. And they took all the sick people on, on uh, wagons and uh, took them out. And some of them, they, like kids, they'd throw 'em out of the windows. Didn't even bring 'em down. So they got killed when they hit the uh, wagon.

Did you see that?

No. I heard 'em tell it. I didn't see that. No, I, I, I'd be, I'd be far away from them. Because I was a kid myself. I...

This kind of violence on the street, did, did you witness any of it? People being shot or beaten?

Oh yeah, beaten, yeah, a lot. Shot? No, I don't remember. Because it would have to be a German to shoot you. They, they were, they were the only ones that had weapons and when I saw one of them I, I'd be far away from there.

And, and, and people being beaten, do you remember seeing...

Yeah. Oh yeah, a lot. A lot.

Was that random? Was it uh, focused?


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