Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bert Dan - November 17, 1982

Jews Get an SS Officer in Trouble

Okay, you can start again.

He said, "Nobody has the right to punish anybody but me. I want you to come to me and tell me what's going on and I will be the one who will punish." The following day we walked--we went out to, to work and exactly the same thing was going--what happened the day before and this officer--this new guy--he came out and he didn't talk to anybody, he was just walking up and down and we looked around and we saw exactly what was going on. In the evening when we walked in, he let us have supper, after supper he called us out "Everybody out!" So, he said, "Was there anything happening today?" And at this point the whole group, everybody stepped out, "Yes I was beaten by this guy, I was beaten by that guy..." and so on and so, so he turned to that little short soldier--he wasn't even a soldier, he was a--he had some rank, he wasn't an officer yet, but he was going to school to become an officer--and he told him, he said, "You of all people, you should know better when you are getting an order that you are not supposed to hit or beat up anybody and that was an order from me, I'm your superior. And if you are going to do this once more, I'm warning you, I'm going to court-martial you and it will cost you your life, because these people are here to work and to produce, not to be beaten. And this goes to everybody. If you have any complaints against the Jews you come to me and let me know." And we left, we couldn't believe it. We just couldn't get over it that someone like that could help me. And unfortunately a lot of, a lot of uh, us, a lot of us had decided they are sick, they don't feel good. The next day you know, half of them didn't even go out to work. They, you know, they thought, you know, that they don't have to do it anymore because this is--this was unreal. And uh, we had a very, very beautiful uh, I would say about six weeks while this man was there. And all of a sudden there was a complete changeover. A different man came in and he took over and this guy was really--we actually cried like children when he got sent out of there.

Was he taken out because he didn't beat you or...

Of course.

Do you know if that was the main reason?

That was, that must have--I mean, believe me, we, we actually don't know. I can't testify that yes, he was taken out because he was good to the Jews. But that must have been the only, the only reason because they sent back a man that was even more than the one...

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