Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Interaction with Other Prisoners

These were prisoners issuing.


Were they talking to you at all?

Uh, they answered uh, questions and uh, they were giving us questions which we thought was very crude and uh, vindictive. Uh, little did we know why they're behaving like that; to them it was an everyday happening. We asked them what's going to happen us, so they pointed towards the chimneys, "See those chimneys," in Yiddish they were telling us, "That's where you're going." Uh, we asked them, "Do you know what happened to our parents?" Same answer, "That's where they are, they're going up in smoke." Uh, some were kinder, we asked them where they're from. We were, of course, looking for people from our area, Slovaks. Uh, they told us uh, what we can expect, brace yourself to it. They gave us an education, they were not allowed, they told us we are not allowed to talk to them, so there is very little we can tell you. Uh, if--we are playing with our lives, we are risking our lives if we talk to you. Uh, it took about three, four hours, that we went through this process and during that time we had interaction with these people and they gave us an education, they told us where we are.

Were you beaten at any time in this?

Uh, not really, we are just threatened with the dogs. We were not beaten, no, not even the prisoners, they were not. Later on, we were beaten by prisoners, we were beaten by Kapos. We didn't know, of course, what a Kapo meant. Uh, we found out very soon we were given the education what it is uh, we were beaten by uh, SS troops who were walking uh, in the camp. Uh, we were herded into an area where they put us up later on. We were--we passed through some tables that were out in the open where prisoners were sitting and they were registering us. They were called Schreibers uh, meaning registers, registrars. Uh, they took our names, addresses uh, at some points they took our hometown uh, areas, nationalities, professions, whatever, personal data and we were given a number. I was given uh, the number 90052. That was my number. And that number stayed with me all along. I was not tattooed. Uh, we were told by some of the prisoners, we are shown the numbers, and they told us you will be tattooed probably. Uh, like I said, we were not tattooed. Uh, they uh, told us to remember this number and uh, we did, of course. We were then brought into a barrack, this is your barrack, find yourself a bunk, this is where you are going to live.

How long were you there?

Uh, we were in Auschwitz just a few days, about three or four days. I met...

You were with your brother?


With your brother?

Yeah, I was with my brother, we were very careful not to get separated. I met my sisters in that camp that, that was a very large camp. It was uh, Lager "C" that had a ditch running through the center of the camp. A deep ditch, it was about eight feet or so deep, no water in it. And on the other side of that ditch, there were barracks and on the other side of the barracks, there were more camps. Later on, I found out that that camp was a family camp where one of my uncles was there with his wife and daughter. Uh, we made no contact with them but we saw women walking in prisoner uniform on the other side of the ditch. We yelled over to them, "Do you speak Hungarian?" They answered, "Yes," in Hungarian, "Where are you from?" And they told us they are from my hometown. I didn't recognize them, I knew those girls very well. So, when they told us who they are, they were shaven, they were, their hair were, were uh, cut off. I asked them about our sisters, they said, "Yes, just stay there I'm going to call them." They called our two sisters, they were together. I had a started loaf of bread under my arm. I jumped into the ditch, climbed up the other side, and gave it to them. At that point, I saw an SS coming with a dog, so I jumped back and said goodbye to them and walked back in among the barracks and we just stood there and looked at each other and said things to each other, "Be careful, take care of yourself, take care of each other, did you hear anything about our parents," and uh, we asked them the same questions until we were told get lost. Uh, that's the last I saw my sisters until we came home.

They survived?

They survived and uh, we met up.

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