Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981


But anyway, they quartered us there and we luckily, we got into a stall, an animal stall--the animal wasn't there, but it was very insulated--and we were sleeping on the floor, maybe on the uh, we get some straw under us and we were twenty, about twenty five in two lines laying at night. That was our quarters. It wasn't, you know, when I say it wasn't bad because every step, step you get used to things and, and, and it's not so bad because, as I say, it was well insulated, the wind... That was already start to get wintertime. This was already in November, this was already in November. And our functioning was there to, as the Russians were coming closer to Aus... to, to, to Germany, they wanted to protect their father... fatherland. So, they're willing to sacrifice Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia but they wanted to make some kind of a, some kind of a protection of that the Russian should not come in. So, what they did, a big huge tank. Uh, what do they call this one?


Tank. No, tank uh, traps, tank traps, which I would say it was on top of it maybe about twenty, twenty-five foot wide and it went in a, maybe ten, fifteen degree angle down about, about maybe ten, fifteen feet deep. And this was all the way the border. And what we did, that was our function to dig those shovels and thing like that. And also a bunker system, a bunker system which the command was going on. It was uh, uh, traps going all the way around, and this was our function. So, they had some use for us, so therefore they didn't let us starve completely. But the food was very meager, very meager. Uh, we had our ration I think it was in, for ten of us they gave a loaf of... No, maybe for seven of us, gave a loaf of bread a day, black like uh, pitch black. I don't know what this was made from, I don't think it was made from uh, from wheat. Whatever the mixture was. Black coffee in the morning. This was, and I think a piece of margarine. And uh, during the day, we went out at seven or, or six o'clock in the morning, whatever it was, we were working all day long in the cold weather. Sometimes it was so cold that uh, when you, when you put the, the axe in the ground it was spark coming out because the ground was so much frozen. And worked all day long and in the afternoon... In the afternoon we came out earlier, around three o'clock maybe. We, we worked about eight hours, three o'clock and uh, they gave us food. The, the main afternoon food was uh, soup, which was sometimes seen something, you know, sometime it was potato, sometime just water on it. And, and beans. And sometimes on the beans we had horsemeat. But the beans, we never had any salt on it. That was a killer. I mean, we... Have you ever tried to eat dry bean without salt? And, and we, it craving more than for sugar. I mean, we have uh, sugar was also something we never seen. But food without salt, especially at our age you know, where you don't have to protect yourself from not having salt. It's a horrible thing. So, food was meager. They gave us perhaps so that close to starvation point, but still, in time it wasn't enough to starve us because we were there only about for four or five months. But any... We was kind of a concentration camp, but not a complete concentration camp.

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