Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997


What was Mühldorf like?

Like any other camp. But there already, well, my father wound up working, we got lucky. My father wound up working, see in, in, in Europe they store potatoes for the winter in Kopsel they call it. They bury 'em and they cover 'em with, with uh, uh, straw and uh, and uh, uh, dirt, to, to keep 'em from freezing. And in the winter they open it up and then, then and take out as much as they need and then they cover it up again. Well, my father wound up on a work detail doing that and I wound up on a work detail working for a, for a, a, some kind of a church, a Catholic church. There was a bunch o' nuns in it. Did uh, maintenance work, you know, cleaning and, and there the nuns were very good to us. That's when I got sick. That's when I was sick. I was lucky I was there, otherwise they wouldn't have let me work. They'd probably uh, stick me in a hospital or do something. But they were good. They used to give me water and stuff like that, you know and they'd, they'd help us with a little food now and then too.

So was it a church in Mühldorf?

Yes, must have been in Mühldorf, yeah. It was like a, they had a hospital there too, you know. It was like a cloister they call it.

Do you remember any, did they ever talk to you, any of the nuns?

Probably would talk to me. They'd, they'd call me and she'd tie the piece o' bread and throw it at me or tell me what to do. But they never, you know, never talked uh, any personal, no, no conversations. They were afraid too, because uh, I guess they were afraid for the uh, German guards. Yeah, that was a small work detail. Probably maybe fifteen of us.

And you had typhus, you think?

Yeah. That's when I got sick. I believe, it was never diagnosed, now, but I believe I had typhus because I was burning up, very weak, I couldn't get enough water in me. I, I drank 'til I, 'til I could feel it here, but I was still thirsty. And uh, about two weeks, I don't know, it went away and I was okay.

So they saved your life?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. That's the time that uh, my father dragged me to this uh, hospital because my uncle was there and when we got there uh, closed the door and said, "Come back tomorrow."

That means, so you were, you were still with your father and...

I was with my father all the time.

And the other uncles, except for one...

They were gone. They were, two of 'em, two of 'em stayed in, in Lager 4, in Camp Number 4. The oldest came with us to Landshut and Mühldorf. He got sick in Mühldorf and was, wound up in the hospital and was sent back to Lager uh, Camp Number 4, back to Kaufering. Because by then it was a, a sick camp, a hospital camp, whatever you want to call it. I guess they stored 'em there. Not that they gave 'em any medical uh, uh, attention. It's just, it was a storage place. See, like I told you before, in Germany they didn't have any gas chambers, so they couldn't uh, mass uh, couldn't do any mass executions unless uh, shooting and they didn't do it in Kaufering. They just let 'em die.

And the other uncle had stayed in Birkenau.

Those, no, no, those, which one? Th...both, yeah. We don't know what happened to him.

But he didn't survive.


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