Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001


You...when you're telling me about your brother and you hiding in the coal-bin, behind

...the coal-bin, what goes through your mind that you're not telling me?

What I'm not telling you, which I will tell you, that by comparison to the life that we had later on in Płaszów, that was a picnic, okay. I'll tell you that. Let me just tell you about what happened in Płaszów.

Now it's 1943.

1943, March. The third day in concentration camp, the third day. Everybody already has places to go to work. My father and my brother, two of my father's broth...My father has to go again, his father and my brother, which is my age, and some other members of my father's family belong to the painting, painter's Gemeinschaft, cooperative, painter's cooperative. I belonged at that time to Tapeziergemeinschaft which was making upholstery. And everybody already belonged to some cooperative. Somehow I didn't get put together, together with my brother or my father. On the third day I happened to go out of, during the lunch time, I happened to go out from the Tapeziergemeinschaft and I spoke with my father and my brother. It was not too far to go, it was a maybe three, four minute walk. At that time, I, I, I remember that I have written about it eh, in the, in the early '49. At that time, my father stated, "You know children, in case anything ever happens to us, you know..." I remember my, my brother was on his, on his, on his uh, lap. And he kind of began to pretty near tear uh, he said, "Anything ever happens to us, you hold, no, you continue on, you uh, uh, stay with your mother and, uh." Whatever I said, "Why, why are you crying I said, no uh, everything would be all right." Uh, anyhow it was a, a very uh, memorable lunch, a little bit. We didn't eat too much, but we spent time together. Because everybody was worried. What's happening. We heard about Goethe. I'll tell you later about Goethe. He was the one in charge of, of the, of the Płaszów concentration camp. And uh, they had a guy with his two dogs was roaming ar... two dogs was roaming around uh, the dogs were uh, uh, biting people uh, or killing them. He and his gun, he, he'd shoot anyone at sight the first few days what he didn't like, uh. Of course what was--it was a little hectic in the camp. Just the first three days there's twenty-, twenty-five thousand people came in, maybe more. In the evening, it's ten to six. I was let out at six o'clock from Tapeziergemeinschaft and, and then we found out that Goethe is in the painting Gemeinschaft, in the painter's cooperative. That Goeth...

With his dogs.

With his... I don't remember the dogs, but with number of people and Hirovitch, which is the man, the, the Ordnungsdienst, the German in charge of the Jewish police in, in, in Płaszów. They're all in, in that particular barrack. And the people standing around from far away, of course, and saying there's something happening. Now I found that out and I uh, uh, I was eager. My mother was there with me eh, eh, eh, was eager to find. We were all afraid what's happening over there in this particular place. Uh, I remember that I went up to the window, but I couldn't see too much through the window. And I ran away right away back because there were Germans coming out from the barrack. There were Germans all over the... The, the point was what was happening on the inside, as I found out later on. It was ten to six and the man who was supposed to be the lookout, they arrested the lookout. That was the third day in the camp. It was ten to six and evidently the lookout wasn't looking out the window. And so when Goeth came in into the barrack, into this cooperative, it was chaos a little bit. The man who was supposed to register. What do you call this in the Army? When you uh, when you, it's called Achtung, you know and, uh...


The men who were supposed to salute and express everything to him, the one in charge, was an older gentleman and he sat quietly. Said, "What's happening over here, because people didn't work anymore." It was ten to six. And he got aggravated, he said, Who's in charge?" Nobody answered. He said, if nobody answers him, nobody will regist...uh, not register nobody will uh, uh, nobody will uh what's the word when you, when you, go, go to general and, and you report, that's it. If nobody will report to him he will kill every second person there. To him it was no joke. He meant what he said. He, he sent some of the Germans after more Ukrainian people and some other Germans to come in.

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