Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Conditions in Skarzysko (continued)


So they waited for six months. And while they were fighting at that front there, they were standing, they used to come the German soldiers and take away the bullets from the machines already. That was in 1944, in the beginning of '44. We had already better living conditions. They were, they were sending in like to Radom, they were bringing in people from Ra...so when they needed, they said, well we just sent you people. So the guy, the head from the camp told him, in these conditions, they can't hold out too long. Actually, on that food what they gave you, a guy can only hold out for six months.

What was the food?

A little soup and a, a bread for eight people, a bread for eight people. And that's about it. They didn't give you nothing else to it. Once in awhile they had a little marmalade, a little sugar. They gave uh, like a spoon to everybody.

How would you divide the bread?

Oh, we just cut it.

Some person was designated to cut the bread?

Yes. Eight people bread ???. I mean, there wasn't really--there was some stealing going on too because of hunger. People went there. But usually there wasn't any great problems. Everybody wanted to live through. Figured he's going to see somebody from his family. Because in some cities, they took like when they brought in Auschwitz--so they picked out the healthy ones, the younger ones and they put 'em away. They, they didn't send 'em to gas chamber. But like from our city, the ones they sent to Treblinka, young and old. Everything went to the gas chamber.

When you were in Skarzysko did you think that someone would survive from your family?

Yeah. I thought so. I was for sure that somebody will survive. That's what--like my brother will survive.

In the underground.


What about your parents? Did you think they were alive?


You knew they were not alive.

Because I uh, uh, uh, when they, they went up to Ciepiel ów they took everybody to Treblinka there. It was uh, about seven--eight miles from our city. But this was a different district. That's why they didn't take 'em in the same time. They took 'em in different. And they took like Ciepiel ów, Lipsko, some other cities they put 'em together and they round them up. It was like uh, ten days later from Zwoleń.

When, when the man uh, told you not to go to Ciepiel ów...


...but that your parents...

...well, he was really uh, eh, he says, he says ???. Like they, they rounding up all the Jews there uh, and the city is surrounded.

Were you tempted to go? I mean...


...your family was there.

I was there.

Did you think...

I wanted to, yeah I wanted to go to there. There was no way, but then you're walking by and, and uh, I wouldn't have seen 'em there anyway because they probably, I walked in they--I would be shot right on the spot. So I wasn't going to go in there to be killed, you know. The same thing when I escaped. I was looking for a spot where I have a chance. Not seeing me. I wasn't just going to run away so they shoot after me.

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