Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Gunskirchen 2

In Germany?

In Ger... That's Austria. Austria.

Still in Austria.

Still in Austria, still in Austria, still in Austria. Still in Austria. Nothing was there, but they put us, they put us in one building I would say at least a thousand people with Gentiles in there that, so that we hardly could lay down. We almost had to sleep standing up. And uh, in order to get out when you had to go to try to get rid of your daily increment, you couldn't get out there. You had to almost do it inside, because there's no way you could get out from there. And food, I don't believe... we believe that maybe once or once in every two day we got something to eat. But that was toward the end of the war. I think we arrived there middle of April or something like that. And nothing doing. During the day we start to get out from that barracks outside and mingle around. And it was bad because there wasn't any latrine facilities. They, they weren't prepared yet, I think it wasn't finished yet. So we had to dig outside, latrines, and to do their things there. It was a chore to go and do it because it was uh, you had to wait in line and, and some of them we didn't want to get rid of it because we thought that... we felt that if you keep it inside yourself you're not so hungry. We tried to... So one, that was after two weeks. It was toward the end of it. I think it was the last day before the liberation. There was rumors every morning that volunteers, they asking for volunteers to work and they give 'em extra rations to, extra rations. One morning they volunteer to go to work and they give you a, a axe and a shovel and go into the forest. We have to clean up the wood to get the... to make more room to build additional camps there. I think that was one day before the liberation. I--stupid me--I volunteered to go. Somebody told me, never volunteer in the army, never volunteer in the concentration camp. We go out from that camp, not that far, maybe about a couple hundred feet, outskirt of the barracks. In an open field we had to clean up what we chopped up the wood to take out the roots of the, of the big wood. And there was a Kapo again, these damn Hungarian Germans. They were there. That was... I don't know how they got there, but they were there. They were the guard. There was our guard there, the one who start, made us work. And they were so mean, they started to beat the hell out of us. And by that time almost nobody had any energy left. You, you tried to go to work there because they promised you that you going to get extra, extra ration. There was about two or three of them, there were maybe about fifty or sixty of us working there and they just beat the hell out of us, each one of us. And I just couldn't take it, I thought I'm going to give my life and I'm going, and I... What I did when... ask, told you I was there, three or four of them and sixty of us. And somehow I threw away my shovel and I run back to the camp. I didn't care what the consequences was going to be because... Well, then I ??? not in front of him. Naturally he didn't see me. But it happened and I done it successfully. And then I said--I didn't know how long it will take--I said never again will I volunteer for anything. Naturally, they didn't give any extras, extra food. And this was close already I believe to... Maybe it was the last day of the liberation. That was at noontime I got back. And afternoon, rumors are coming in the camps. Oh, by the way, on that time, during that two weeks, we had one Swiss, Swiss Cross, or rather Red Cross package delivered to about... to every ten people. Believe it or not, it even had a piece of chocolate. That's only, that's only uh, Red Cross package. I don't know why they gave it to us. I mean, I don't think if there was any control over them. But once this Red Cross package was given to every ten people. Small one, it was some uh, delicacies, mostly. It wasn't... Delicacies, like uh, raisin, rice, for example. What, we couldn't cook it, but chocolate and some other stuff.

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