Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Labor in Gross Rosen

It was a quarry there.


A granite quarry? A quarry for rocks.

Oh yeah, yes. Yeah, rocks. We were carrying from one place to the other. And then we were working on the field, like uh, we were picking uh, we tooken out--they had uh, carrots you know, to take in uh, stuff like this. Half of 'em were frozen. And that's why they put 'em in the kitchen to eat.

Did they put you to work in a factory? ???

In Gross Rosen, no. There were no factory. But one day, an SS-man came in, I remember he was a blondie. Not a tall guy. And he sa...he came in, he was looking for Jews, particularly for Jews. So we were, so I wasn't going to--if he'll recognize me, recognize me. He was going around, there were maybe a hundred people working at the--in the field there. And finally he found, found a guy I believe his name was Rosenbaum. And he go over there and he start hitting him with a whip and he says to him, "Du Englische Jude," you uh, English Jew. You wanted the war. "Du hast der Krieg wollt." Because the war going bad for them, like in bad. So they were figuring that the, the reason why England went to war because the Jews...


...wanted to go to war. That, that's what their--I don't know if their mind or they were told or whatever. And he started beating him. And he start, back and forth. And, and he killed him. He was killed. And then he sat...satisfied himself and he left. That's happened in Gross Rosen, in front of my eyes.

You don't know the German's name.

No. He was a young SS man, maybe in the upper thirties or forty. Probably in the upper thirties, more like it.

And the other prisoners watched.

Oh everybody watched.

What did you think about then?

Heh, heh, what do you think...What do you think? This was hell, you know. We went through this for five and a half years. Since the Germans came in on the soil, in Poland and there--we were there. We went through hell. The Jews went through hell. Started from the beginning, right from the beginning. There were all kinda things. Fear, we lived constantly with fear and hell, day and night. And this was the way of life.

What did you do in Gross Rosen?

Start working?

Daily, just day to day.

We were working. We were carrying stones from one--sometimes they took us to the kitchen to work after we were working in like, in the middle of the night they used to take 'em out. We were sleeping like a thousand people in uh, in two rooms like this. And everybody had to be laying down on the side. They were squeezing just like herrings. And they used to bring in the food in the middle of the night, the soup, like in the middle of the night. And everybody get up. And then everybody had to go to lay down. If you didn't find a place, you got beaten up.

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