Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Gross Rosen

Uh, how long were you in Czestochowa?

Until the end, almost 'til 44, the end of '44. By the end of '44.

Are there any particular experiences that stand out in your mind in Czestochowa, or in Skarzysko, that you remember more vividly than others?

There was a lotta things. You know, a lotta things was going on. They used to beat up people, they used uh, they used to beat 'em until they died, some people. There was all kinda things were going on. It was like hell in Skarzysko. In Chenstochov it wasn't as bad. It was also--it was a labor camp. You had to work there and be in time at work and... But it wasn't so bad.

What happened after S...Skar... Chenstochov? Where did you go from there?

To Gross Rosen.

Now how did--they just rounded everybody up and said...

No. They took--here, it was like this. The night before they took out, they round up some of 'em. No, in the daytime, while we were at work, this was the nightshift, they took away all the nightshift they were in the barracks. They round 'em up and they sent them away. They sent them I believe to Buchenwald. Didn't know where they went, I believe to Buchenwald. Then they wouldn't let us go, go to the barracks. And we were finished like seven o'clock, we're working twelve-hours a shift. So we had to stay. So we had to work there again. We had to work there at night, the whole night again. Then--and in the morning, they let us go. So we went to the barracks in the morning. And then there were already, SS were there from Płaszów. Before there were no SS in Chenstochov. There were just plain--the guards. And then the, the SS came in from Płaszów because they liquidated Płaszów. Płaszów was near Krakow.

Near Krakow, mm-hm.

And then they--the SS, they, not too many, there were a few SS. And then they uh, they set--sent us everybody and they said uh, forwards marschieren. And one guy hollered out from the SS forwards marschieren. Mean go forward. We should walk forward. And nobody did. And all of a sudden they disappeared. The SS disappeared. The Russians were very close there. They were afraid. Because that time, when the Russians--when they caught the SS they killed 'em right on the spot. They didn't take 'em even, even to prisoner camp. Because that's what they did to the Russians. So they just--so we went there in the barracks and we were just talking all kinda things, all kinda rumors and all kinda things, we were talking. Then about six--what, something like this--the Wachesleiter this was the head from the guards, 'course he was a German. He could speak Russian too, this guy. He wasn't bad. He came in, a guy by the name ???. He was a German, short guy. They were all carrying machine guns and hand grenades. They were load up with grenades in their belts. Came in with another guy, the name ???. He was the assistant Wachesleiter, the head from the guards. And he was not German. He was a Ukrainian. And, uh...

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