Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Eisenberg - May 11, 1982

Conditions in Camp System

You answered so many of these questions, I can't believe it. In the concentration camp, can you describe your daily routine?

Well, in, in Auschwitz we just carried it from place to place. There was any, no definite work. In Gelsenkirchen I can say what we did mainly is we cleaned away bricks. We were like chain put in line and we used to throw the bricks to one another until it, 'til it became--we were lining them up. And clearing away pipes.

Take me through a day from the morning when you're told to get up until the evening when you're put to sleep.

Well [pause] I gotta think. Get up, you tried to wash as you could. They gave you the little food. You lined up. You're being counted. And then you're taken in, in, in sixes. We were always in sixes, going to work. We had to stay in, stay close to one another. And some of that the job wasn't the same thing everyday because it was different areas that we had to clean away. Some days heated the bricks, some days you'd be b...breaking the rocks. Some days we were just cleaning rubble or some places were just broken up wood.

For how long would you work?

Twelve hour shifts.

Then you went back and you got your next meal?

Then we got back to the camps and we got our food. And I'll never forget, the first time we--when we came out from Auschwitz. We were six girls that we were fifteen. Well, we were considered ourselves as children because we were the youngest. For a few weeks being younger we were privileged to clean the barracks and clean out the pots that uh, the food was in, so naturally we had the leftover little thickness in the pots. And uh, a German Lagerführer, like I say, he was still on the human, he gave us a little extra potatoes, a little extra food. But then one day he heard that an order has been, has come, that all the children and the pregnant people will have to be sent to Auschwitz. From that day on there were no more children left in the, in the camps. We was all going out to work.

That day you became old.

Ah, yes.

Did you have any um, contact with uh, members of the opposite sex?

There were some men, but they were all speaking Russian in some of the, in uh, Gelsenkirchen. They were all speaking... so I couldn't communicate with them. And uh, they looked so much older that--we weren't really close, but we could see 'em. They were in a different department, but that's how I seen the working men. But the Jewish people, look, I didn't see. The first time I, I saw a Jewish man, besides being in Auschwitz that I saw all those men uh, running about when that man opened the door for us to get out of that thing. That's the first time I co...counted the men. And then again we were separated and I never seen 'em 'til liberation.

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