Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Life in the Ghetto II

And you, did you work?

Of course. I worked the first, my first job was in a, in a metal factory, Metalabteilung Zwei. I can't remember where it was. My second job was Altschuhlager. That means "old, uh, uh, warehouse of old shoes." Now I know where they came from. At the time we were too stupid, like I told you. We didn't know where those old shoes came from. They came from Majdanek or Treblinka or Auschwitz. They came back and they took 'em apart and uh, we, we, we manufactured the shoes. For the army I guess, who knows where they went. But uh, that was my second job. And that was on uh, Brzezinśka, right, right, probably right around here, just right by the fence, the end of the ghetto. And the other side, like I, I told you once before, the, while I was working there, there were some people they had in buildings for maybe a month or so and we didn't know, we couldn't talk to 'em or anything. We used to see 'em from the other side of the fence. And later on they just disappeared and people are saying they were gypsies. But they just stayed there about a month or so and then they were gone.

Do you know when that was, roughly?


What year that was?

Probably around '43, maybe '43, '44, '43 probably, yes.

What do you think happened?

Now I know what happened. At the time I didn't. They all, I wound up in the same camp after them. Because when I came into Auschwitz, they sent us to the Zigeunerlager, which means the gypsy camp.

But there were no gypsies there.

No, no. Just...

What had happened to them?

They were uh, exterminated.


I never met any in, in the other camps either. Never, never saw any gypsies. I think that's as far as they went is to, to Auschwitz and that was it.

You were eight years old in the ghetto.

Well first, yes.

How were you assigned such work?

Well, you either worked or uh, you had a chance of being picked up and sent out.

Did you see people being picked up on the street?

Oh yeah.

Well, how did, what did that look like?

They, they, they ask you for a work uh, uh, you know we had a like a, like an ID card from the place that you worked. And if you didn't have it there was a chance of gettin' thrown on a truck, no, well, not truck, wagon and uh, you weren't seen again.

And who would ask?


Who was doing the asking?

German soldiers or Jewish police, with, with the German soldiers, yeah. We used to call the Sperre.

Which means...

I don't know. They did, that was uh, going on maybe two or three times a week. They'd come in with, they needed bodies, so older people or kids or...

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