Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eva Cigler - March 17, 1982

The Smell of Birkenau

The smell comes back to you.

Back to me. Doesn't matter what kinda smell, I always smell like some flesh is burning. So uh, we saw the chimney just was going the smoke out and outside the burning, this was terrible. And sometime in the morning when we came we could see they closing uh, they put the transport already in the gas chamber and we could see the SS already closing the door on them. And we see screaming, we could heard because we was standing next to the crematorium. And we was envying them because their life already finished and we didn't know how long we have to suffer. And what's coming uh, home some...sometime in the morning and the SS going to make a big joke because we have to start, we was going already in a barrack and we have to stop because the other place a transport was coming in the crematorium so we have to stop to wait 'til the transport is going in. And they said, "Are you going to co...go in it too?" And uh, we couldn't say yes or no because uh, we was thinking maybe he not joking. We gonna go in after the transport goes, we going to go through because that's the people was telling after, when we finish our work, we shouldn't talk about what happened in there. They going to get us the fifty or the thirty girl who was working in there. Then we was thinking, so what uh, different. We're going now or we going to go later.

How long did you work in that Brezinka?

Brezinka, I—six weeks or two months. Uh, 'til the transport was coming in full speed. And they needed uh, to clean the barrack...

[interruption in interview]

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