Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Clara Dan - July 1, 1982

Conditions in Auschwitz II


[interruption in interview]

That's why the children, Gentile Polish guy, somehow I got befriended with him. That, and garlic.

This was in Auschwitz.

Yes, fresh garlic. And I had my, my friend and poor old woman, you know. She really was so wanted at home and every comfort and everything and here she was a sick person and we couldn't give her anything, just to make her a little comfortable. So this old man brought me a piece of fresh garlic. And I said to him, "Oh my God, I am so grateful. At least we will have a delicious supper tonight because on the bread is smear some garlic. But you know there are five of us and my aunt is here with her daughter and uh, we will just have to delight in a few from ??? that one garlic will have to be enough for ten slices of bread, because one loaf was divided in five. And uh, I said to this man, "And my portion and my sister's. My sister even though she isn't here but I'm talking for her, it will go to our friend so she really should feel the taste of the garlic." So the old man said, "Well how late will you be here?" Because uh, my sister and myself used to be doorwatchers." I didn't even tell you that, in our barrack. And it was up to us who went to the bathroom and who didn't. So we used to get beaten up so often because most of our barracks were from our hometown. My hometown, my husband's hometown and another one I mentioned ???. So go people with diarrhea, tell them you can't go out. And whoever was called by the SS people was asked which block are you from, so there we came, there they came and uh, we got a few good lickings. So I told the man, "I don't know, after the Zählappell. I don't know what time it is." So he says, "You know what? If I don't get back today, I will be back tomorrow." And uh, I told her, I told the man that, "I really can't even believe it, you're a Gentile, I'm a Jew. Now why would you come back?" But this guy put a lot, a lot, and he was a gentile, okay? So he says, "Just don't you worry. I'll be back. If you don't eat garlic today, you will be eating garlic tomorrow." And ho belo we didn't see the old man for a few days. And what a big feast was for my aunt. But of course everybody had a little. But it was divided for ten slices of bread. And about a week after, we didn't know what, what time was that, it was about a week or so, the old man shows up I says, "What did I tell you? That I am a Jew, you are a Gentile." He said, "Like hell Roosevelt died." So the president was Roosevelt that year. What month did Roosevelt die?

May I think? It was in the Spring.

Comes back, "Roosevelt died." And I started crying, I said, "Oh my God, that's the end of us. Where did you hear it?" Said, "We saw a newspaper." And they knew about it the concentration camp and Roosevelt was a big Jew hater, a big anti-Semitic person.

The man said this?

Yeah! Yeah! And oh my Lord...

[interruption in interview]


Kennedy. What did I know about this? I didn't know about this. All I know is I knew Roosevelt. All our hopes was in Roosevelt that he's going to do something. But he didn't do nothing. So they knew. They knew very, very well what went on, okay? It was years after in one of the Time magazine, I get a hold of the Kennedy family's history. That the old man was an English ambassador or something.

Ambassador to England.

Okay, and he really didn't like Jews. And nothing the old man and his son was already a very liberal minded person, so. Well I guess, you know, if you start talking you can talk 'til Wednesday.

I could...

No that's okay.

[interview ends]

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