Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Sharing Resources

In Birkenau.

Yeah. I didn't know. I, in fact, Eli, no, you don't know Eli Koritz. Uh, he told me. You know we were talking about it, I says and I told him, he was there about the same time I was, but he was, he volunteered for a, to go, he said he was a bricklayer or something and they took him out and they put him to Auschwitz and he told me that there was one guy training for, for, for shot-put and he was throwing stones. I don't know how true it is, but I know there was stones flyin' all over the place. I mean big ones, not, not little...

And do, do you remember seeing anybody get hit by those things?

Oh yeah.

And when you did those exercises...

There was no exercise. Just crouch down with your hands in front of you.

Did, did everybody manage to do that for an hour?

Oh no! You couldn't stand that long.

And what happened...

You'd fall over, he'd come up and kick him and beat him and something like that you know. It was part of their uh, uh, enjoyment, I guess.

So when you realized that your father and your uncles were getting out...

I didn't want to be stuck alone. And probably that's why we survived uh, uh, because we were together. You know, you could always, one of us would always find something and we'd uh, share it.

Was this a general rule? Did everybody help everybody else in Birkenau?

It's hard to say. No, that, that's not in Birkenau. In Birkenau, forget it. We didn't do anything in Birkenau. I mean once we got out of Birkenau we started to go to work, you'd find something, uh maybe a one of us would uh, work in a field for a farmer, bring home some potatoes or some vegetables or something like that and we'd share it or some...

Even, even in the ghetto, from the ghetto through the camps...


Did people as a rule share and help each other out?

Families, yeah, made probably yes, yeah. But strangers? No. No. Like if I met you, you and I had a loaf of bread and you were starving to death, forget it. We were like animals. In fact uh, in Lager Vier, four, in, in, in Birk...in uh, Kaufering we were there in the wintertime and I guess the ground was too frozen. They couldn't bury their dead, so they'd pile 'em up in the corner of the camp, pile, just pile up bodies. And we'd go around looking for uh, some, if a body had a jacket or a pair of shoes, he doesn't need it. You know, if his shoes were better than yours, you'd take 'em.

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