Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Cymerath - June 8, 1982

Life in Auschwitz

Were people starving to death there?

Everyday. Everyday you could see walking around in the camps, swollen. Most they were swollen. I don't know what--and after the swelling they were not the same person. See, I was with mine age of uh, boys, you know. And the minute they started to, to swell up, day to day they looked like different, different people. Their feet was, you know. And plus this, they made selection. Every Sunday, we had to get undressed in the barracks and who was like--I'm just explaining to you about that uh, you know, the swelling. Who was swollen they took away. Each had a card, you know, the, the number, this number. Like uh, a file, you know. So when they came in you had a card with this number in your hand. When the uh, SS man, that doctor took away the card from you that means you go on a separate barrack and to, to the oven. This was every Sunday. Because how could you look good on, on that, that food? I mean, if you don't eat, you get run down. You see, everybody looked at each other how, because the ribs, if it show real, you know, if the ribs show real through, he didn't have a chance. They called you out. We were standing naked in the barracks Sunday morning, every Sunday. So, you can imagine just the fear that when the Sunday came, we knew this, this could be it, right? Because everybody looked at each other, how do I look, you know. But just, it, it was a miracle. But who was real run down and, you know, swollen, right away they took that uh, registration card and he wasn't anymore on that, on that, in that, that barrack anymore. And this was going on every Sunday and every week was missing, missing, missing people and they kept bringing from other cities, from other countries, you know, from French, from Belgium, from Holland, from all over. Everyday was transport pouring in.

Did you talk to the new prisoners?

Yeah.

Did you tell them what was going on in the camp?

Sure.

What was the...

The atmosphere?

Atmosphere in the camp, in the barracks.

The atmosphere, see--if a person is hungry, you, you lose, you lose uh, conversation. You--what are you going to talk about it? Your mind, your stomach grinds day and night. You're hungry. You, you think about the, the family, you know. You, you, you complete--you're not a person, you're an animal. You run, you run to the kitchen. How many times I was by the garbage and I took out--the kitchen, from the kitchen they throw out those bones from horses. Most was horses. They killed the horses or sick horses, whatever they got a horse and they brought 'em to the camp to cook that soup, with that horsemeat. And a lot of times was no meat at all. It was just cooked from leaves, whatever they could get. And the peel--I never ate a potato, a whole potato. It was always the peel from the potato they cooked in the camps. And the potatoes, the Germans, you know, it went for the Germans. So actually, the morale was so low that nobody had on his mind a joke or to talk about anything, you know. If you constant hungry you always look, you know, how to organize an extra soup, an extra piece of bread. I risked my life...


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