Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Conditions in Dora

Do you remember piles of bodies? Piles of corpses?

In, in Nordhausen, they were putting 'em out and uh, piles like, and they were burning the bodies. There was no crematorium. Maybe in Dora, but I think the same thing. They putting on uh, piles of bodies and wood. Bodies and wood, bodies and wood. And then how they used to burn 'em. I seen in Nordhausen.

Did anyone that you know at Dora get, get killed?

No, no, no. No.

And these were Jewish and non-Jewish...

Oh yes. Dora was about twenty thousand prisoners.

And just a few of you were Jews.

That's right. Very few. Not too many.

Do you remember an, a SS man named ??? ? Was he? No, never--he was the Kommandant of Dora. You never saw him.

No, but I understand he was uh, he was shot. That's what I heard. I don't remember his name. Uh, he was shot while he was walk--north on the way he was strafed by an airplane or something like that. Then this guy ??? took over. Dr. ???, he didn't take actually over, but there was a Revier, there was a hospital in Dora. There were doctors. All doctors were, of course, prisoners. Some of 'em from France, some of 'em Poland. There were some Jew...Jewish doctors. As a matter of a fact, I went in Dora to the hospital time I went to the doctor. I had a--yeah, my foot something developed and uh, so I went to the doctor. And there was a German doctor in charge. He was wearing the SS uniform. And, and he was working around there. And he, he even looked at some cases. He didn't look so--his name was Dr.--I don't know if he's still alive--???. He uh, testified against these Nazis in Nuremberg. ??? And he saw it, what I had on my foot and his, and he went and he said to one of the doctors, he just told him. And uh, so the doctor told uh, came over to me and told me that I should come up tomorrow--Revier, they call it hospital, Revier. So then I went up there in the morning and then they cut it out. My foot--my left foot. This one.

Your knee.

Yeah. Yeah, right here. And then they gave me uh, ??? like uh, I didn't have to go to work about eight days. [pause] But I, I didn't show the ??? to nobody. Because whoever had ???, I knew, a lot of 'em they sent 'em to Nordhausen. And I didn't want to go to Nordhausen because I was there already and I know exactly what was ???.

So what was this, like a pass?


What. what is it, what is it that they gave you?

??? They gave me like a piece of paper...


...written down with a signature there.

Like a pass.

Yeah, yeah. Like that I don't have to go to work eight days until that and that day.

So you stayed in the barracks then?

Yeah, I stayed in the barrack, but they didn't know it that I had ???. What I did, I went out, let's say, with the shift--with the morning shift. Everybody had to get up at four o'clock in the morning. Got washed. It was clean in Dora. We went every, every, every ten days or two weeks we went to, to get a shower and some clean clothes there. And we were slept two in a bed. And with that, with two decks covered. It was entirely different. And this was only for the ones that were working in tunnel. The others didn't have it as uh, as good. But only for the ones that working in tunnel. When they gave a whole bread, only for the ones that working in the tunnel. They were saying that this guy name was ??? that he cared for the people. The one he was in charge in tunnel. I don't know if that's true um, how true it is. But it, it was just a rumor they were saying. But that was I hear. So he uh, they--he was in charge and he wanted those people, the ones that working on the tunnel to be treated differently. He was in charge of the tunnel. So it, it--for me it wasn't bad. Because in Dora that's how I came back to my strength.

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