Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Clara Dan - July 1, 1982

Transport to Auschwitz


From the ghetto as suddenly as we were brought in. And we were already in the train, in the train. And we were told that we are going to ??? to labor camp, not concentration camp. And we were already in the train and we still didn't believe what happened. We couldn't, seeing that mess what was in the train, the hysteria. And uh, no water, no nothing. And uh, we still didn't believe it. But then, we were already under the Nazis, okay? The Germans.

The trains were under the Germans.

The train, yes, yes, yes. And you know, all that you heard was verfluchte Juden. And uh, we had no idea where we were going. Absolutely no idea 'til one morning we got to a place and we saw "Arbeit Macht Freiheit." And you know the funniest thing is that some of those darn Germans, Polish, you know, because by this time the Polish people were already, some of them, in uh, Auschwitz. And I'll never forget a short little old man kept yelling, "Leave the little ones, leave the little one! Don't drag with you, don't drag with you, the young mothers, but to leave the little ones, don't drag with you. You drag the kids, the kids will be put in the gas chamber just like you. Leave the little one."

He was saying this?

Yes, but we still didn't know what that meant or what.

He was a Kapo or a...

No, no, no, we was just a Polish prisoner working with the transports guy. And you know, you had to get undressed and you could see mountains and mountains of eyeglasses and shoes and clothes, because you--when you got there, you know, you were lined up to be taken in the left and right, and uh, to be taken in uh, to take a bath. And you got that striped uniform and your hair was shaved and you came out from there and nobody was there, you were on your own. I was lucky. I found my sister.

Were you on the train together?

Yes, yes. We were on the train together, but not on the train together after taking--getting the uniform, okay? Our coming out from ??? I think it was called the Entlausung, if I remember the expression of that bath or shower. I found my sister, but her hair was shaved and mine was shaved. So--and found my two aunts, my three aunts and my cousins. And um, it was a very painful sight. I don't have to tell you. It was very, very, very painful. And uh, there was this one girl from my hometown, a very beautiful young girl, a Jewish girl, who used to work for uh, a drugstore. And I'll never forget it as long as I live. Standing on the line to be selected, Mengele and a doctor came and a German Aufseher whose name was Grazen, I'm sure you heard about that. Started selecting and he recognized this girl. So it ended that this doctor was a top salesman or somebody from the Bayer factory, Bayer aspirin. And he put this girl out and she left with the German, with the German Aufseher. And she became the rottenest person. At the end she wouldn't even go back to her hometown because she would have gotten killed the way she behaved.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn