Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Cymerath - June 8, 1982

Punishment in Auschwitz

When you were in the camp, in Monowitz or Buna um, were you punished ever for anything?

No. I can't, I can't say uh, over there punishment, there's no punishment, or they uh, kill you, you know, when you commit something to be real punished. It wasn't just to give you a slap and forget about it. If you commit something, if they catch you with something, you know, then you're complete eliminated. But the only experience I had is in uh, in Lublin, you know, with that...

With the electric shock.

with that, with the, the electric shock.

Let me, do you remember...

Otherwise it's beating, you know, kicking, uh...

This happened to you?

This, yeah, it's happened to me uh, a lot of times, you know. On, on, the jo...only on the jobs. One time, this was in Starowicea [Starowice] yet, you know. One uh, Polish person, he lived in, in our street. It just happened he was uh, uh... In the factory he had a job as a, they called it Meister, but engineer, by the ovens, you know, by the foundries. So, a lot of times in the morning, you know, he couldn't talk to me but he knew me and I knew him. And when he was standing, he came in the morning, he went to the oven, by the ovens was warm, he was standing, it wasn't time yet for him to start, let's see. So, he was standing and uh, you know, warm himself. And I knew already, anytime he was by that oven, he had a, a, a sandwich, piece of bread. And he was standing, you know, and I went behind, you know, by the oven and looked for something and I took it from him. And no talk because you don't know who was a German civilian, you know. Volksdeutsche, you know, it was a lot of Germans that had swastikas. And, and a lot of exper...bad experience I had when I worked in that foundry. At night we had a uh, he must have been half-German, but he spoke to us everything in Polish. But, but he was like a, a foreman. He took us out. We worked night shifts. He took us out and we had to load big bars of steel and bring 'em in that, in the factory and cut 'em in big pieces. This was shells, hundred and fifty uh, millimeter shells, anti- uh, anti-aircraft shells, big. We had to, from a big, with a crane. Uh, the crane was going on uh, uh, what do you call? When, when, when it comes to uh, close to the iron, it catches uh, Magnet. A heavy magnet. You can imagine a magnet picked up a long bar like this beam, exactly. Those beams were piled up outside in the wintertime, cold. We had to from piles, and this was heavy that nobody, we had to with iron, sticks to roll 'em down on two-by-fours on a little wagon and the wagon was on, on tracks. And with the tracks we had to push it in in the factory inside, unload 'em straight by the uh, foundry. And by that foundry was a machine. The machine was going, like a press, a press machine. We had to, it was like a table with rollers and we had to pick up those bars and put 'em on that table and with iron stick little by little to push it underneath. And we had to, that Mei...that, that, that foreman was marking with crayon and we had to exactly cut 'em. And if you had a--if you made a little mistake and cut it a little crooked, this was the end. This was sabotage they took you for. So, we were not used...

To be killed, you mean?

Killed. There was no way. So, I was standing by that, by that press in the whole mine, you know, was controlling. And the other guys just--if, if I would make, you know, any little mistake, cut a little crooked. This was bars, you know, bars like gold that time. They were anxious to want more because they were supposed to start with England a war, you know, start with Russia the war. They needed material. They had labor, but no material. And we worked by that oven and this--we were kicked outside. We were, we were working with so much fear that it's unbelievable. He was a maniac; this guy was a maniac, just for little nothing he could kick you in, in the groin. He kicked guys that fell down, and they, they fainted. I've never seen an animal. And we couldn't do nothing about it because, what are you going to do? There was all the Ukrainian guards watching and--he did, he was so mean, he was so pale. I'll never forget that, that face; a short guy about...

Was he Polish? Is he Polish?

Polish.

Civilian?

He must--civilian clothes. He had the authority on Jews.


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