Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992


Where did you get the money? Some people brought money with them. Even they were searched. When we came into Skarzysko, give you an example, they called out like this there uh, a guy uh, a German guy ??? they said. Either from one, from the guards or from the ???. He says, "Money? Gold? Watches? Everything it must be given up." Okay. And then they searched everybody. Even they searched me, I still had money. I had money in my boots. I didn't give it up. And uh, I had it between. You know, I had boots. So I had it between. I had money in there. I had ??? and I had money. I had a hat under there and I had some money in there. Not a lotta money, but I had some money. And uh, and the money and I c...I came through, they didn't find it. They were searching every--they found money by some people. And they find money they used to beat 'em up because they didn't give it up voluntarily. So there was money available. Then they were things in the factory itself. There were things of being--making money. In--like what. Give you an example. We were packing the bullets in a, in a, in a carton. Twenty packages, like three hundred in a carton. And uh, so fifteen in a pack--in a box. You know, like in, you know. And they were all in a--and this was tied up. And this wasn't from wool in the beginning. This was made from wool. It was like this, it was the white as this here and this box was tied up, so carton box. Then we found out there were some people, very handy people came. They were taking, they were buying this. 'Kay. They were making sweaters from it and Poles were buying it. They used to color 'em all different, they used to bring in the Poles some uh, you know, to, some kinda paint--special paint for that to color 'em in any color you wanted. This was white, pure white. Oh they were making white sweaters, we, they, they were making 'em. And they were paying like a zloty, all depends. It was a s...a demand and supply. If their supply got a little too much, they were paying a little less. But usually it was around a zloty apiece. And for twenty zlotys, you could get a bread, a whole bread. And, and for a few more zlotys you could get like a quarter, a quarter of a pound 'o butter. And uh, so. And then they were--I was offered for a guy from my city, from Zwoleń. He was working across the street at this guy, a Bosch factory there. They were making the uh, the ???. They didn't make it by us, they were finishing the bullet. So everything was there. He offered me to bring him just five uh, like fifty grams, five deca of, of powder. Powder, just powder, the gun powder.


A fortune. Because he had a guy, the Poles, they were buying 'em in different--but I didn't want to touch that stuff. This, if you were caught, b...b...bringing this uh, you got a punishment, they used to give you uh, beat up a little and stuff like this, to take 'em away. But if you found somebody--there was a guy. He was--they, he was caught, he was giving out somebody. He was a guy they caught from transport, he was the guy who was moving the stuff. ??? they caught him. He was taking bullets out and he gave 'em--sell 'em. And they hung him up in the middle of the camp. Special--there were two special guys there and they were, they hung him in the middle of the camp. I didn't want to touch that stuff.

Prisoners ???

I just wanted to survive. I didn't want to make a lotta money. I just wanted to survive, that's all. To have for the days. Had a day, tomorrow and the day after, that's all. I wasn't looking for--to getting rich or so.

So that's how you managed to get some extra in Czestochowa as well.

Oh in Chenstochov also, yes. But in Chenstochov, I'll give you an example. I was in a barrack. I was sleeping. So the guy who was charged in the barrack, he-- like in Skarzysk, this wasn't available there because too many--Chenstochov. He asked me if I wanted you know, a quarter of a bread a day. What is there, after they clean out, they were sweeping out. They had sawdust they put on there, cleaning out that barrack because it was stones. I should take this away. It was on a wheelbarrow, a big wheelbarrow, to take it somewhere. And I'm doing it I'll give you a quarter of a bread. So I went for it. When did I did? On my lunch time. So I came and I did it. I told him I'll do it in lunchtime, fine. I mean, there were all opportunities, you know. But you, you had to be on the ball and you had to have your eyes open and, and to do things like this. But in Chenstochov it was a different, it was a different atmosphere.

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