Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

The Kaufering Camps

And where did you wind up?

We wound up in Kaufering. We came in...

And when the doors opened there?


When the doors opened there, what was it like it? Was it...

They took us off the, not like Auschwitz. No, it was--well, it wasn't good, but it wasn't as bad. We alrea...maybe we knew what to expect, or I, I knew what to expect already, so I wasn't too shocked. And we walked probably for an hour at night. Got into that Camp 7 and uh, we laid down. It's uh, you probably, were you in Dachau? Okay. You saw one of those barracks, how they were. The, the, the roof, then you had two uh, two uh, uh, one on each side uh, uh, shelves like and a ditch dug out through the middle? That's where you were walking, in the middle and those two shelves was where you were sleeping. Well, when I got in there, it was pitch dark. I didn't know. We were so tired, walking for a long time. So I just laid down. All of a sudden people start stepping all over me, 'til I found out I'm supposed to uh, sleep on the shelf. And there we weren't very long. Several days and we got moved to Lager 4. Then we started to go out on work uh, details.

You walked to Lager 4 also?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. That was in, it was all in Kaufering.

And what was the work like?

Well, we worked, the two big ones was Moll, which was uh, uh, construction firm and Holtzman. Holtzman is still a big construction firm in uh, Germany, in Munich. In fact they're on the German stock exchange. And we were building some kind of underground factories. Uh, I was carrying cement, bags of cement.

You were thirteen years old?


And you were carrying that?

Uh, that was in forty, '45. Yeah. I wasn't even thir...yeah, I was thirteen, yeah.

And you were carrying bags of cement?


Hundred pound bags, fifty pound?

Uh, fifty kilos. Yeah, a hundred pounds, 102, something like that.

Uh, I presume that you had gotten food already at this point.

Oh yeah, yeah, there we, food. That's--we'd get a, a soup. Let's see, what the heck, when did we get fed? I think after we came home. Yeah. We would get soup after, after you came home. You stood in line in the kitchen. And I guess we got some bread, which you had, you'd, you'd save for during the day. But the soup was watery, you know, maybe a few vegetables here and there. No, no meat or...Sunday was a good soup. They gave us like a, a, it was like uh, noodles with, with uh, milk and watery milk and it was sweet, a little sweet. That was a, that was a real good soup, yeah. Not too many noodles though, but it was sweet you know, we're hungry for sweet.

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