Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Conditions in Płaszów

So now you're all alone in Płaszów.

My mother was still there.

But you don't see--well you don't see your mother.

I see her. I see her, I see her. I don't see her everyday, but I see her. Absolutely. The point is though that within a very short length of time. No, I'd like to put one more, I'd like to put one more thing that what happened at the Metalgemeinschaft. At the Metalgemeinschaft I was a very young fellow, very young, younger than others. And the policeman, Gangel was his name, Jewish policeman in charge of it, he was one of, one of two. Eh, because of my connection with uh, my father's brother, I was put in the tool and die shop. Not into the production shop. In the tool and die shop I was taught how to m... how to work with the uh, machine uh, shaper, with a shaper. It's a huge machine who uh, uh, shapes the met...who cuts and shapes the pieces of metal into, into a proper tool. And moves up, moves only up and moves, moves back and forth. And with the knife being in front it keeps cutting the, the tool. I got very, very good at it. And uh, I remember one time Goeth, and he's supposed to come in--came into, to, to uh, to Płaszów brought number of people all the way from Berlin to look over the concentration camp. And uh, he was trying to show off, Goeth eh, what's being warped uh, how things are of there, how, how everything is uh, Ordnungsdienst, how everything is in order eh, clean, whatever. So we had to make sure that every barrack and every bed was extremely--there was not too much to do because all we had is a, is a cut, maybe a two inch cut or less in the cover. So there was not too much to clean up. But have to be extremely straight. And on that day, I remember, we didn't know where he's going to take his people. Through which Gemeinschafts--through which cooperatives he's going to be taking the people. Well, he took them through number of, of cooperatives. He also came in, into our metal cooperative and went through the entire place, it was a few hundred feet long. And eh, people were working on different machines eh, spitting out different pieces made out of metal. And I was on the shaper and I remember Goeth was a very tall fellow, six, six, something. All of these guys were very, very tall. But Goeth was a terror. And we all knew that. And just being anywhere close to him represented pretty near death. So he came through it and as I was working on that particular shaper, he and some seven, eight, or nine Germans stood for about two minutes, maybe three, talking about different things, looking onto how I eh, how, how I, how I cut the metal, eh. How the work is being done. All, all I can say that after he left eh, I, I wasn't sure how long I will, I will, I will be, I will stick around. Because eh, I, I thought that maybe I will be called out that I'm too young and, and finished. But I was lucky, nothing like that happened. But it was a tremendous amount of eh, nerves. And eh, trauma. Just being there eh, without eh, without showing nervousness.

That's after your...

That's one of many items. See, I'm, I'm giving you some of these things, but there were...


Everyday was a problem.

Must have been millions of them.

E...e...everyday was a different problem. Just being young was a problem, you know.

Because you were a target?

That's correct, okay. Wasn't much longer, we have another Appellplatz. They, they're taking 5,000 people out. I'm one of the 5,000. We going to go out to a different labor--to a different camp, okay. That's where we parted with my mother. Eh, we didn't part saying uh, at that moment because she was one part of the Appellplatz, on, on the roll call one, where the, where the woman and I was with the men. But she found out later on that I was taken with another 5,000 people, and we were taken to a uh, to a train. As everyone knows by now, these trains were uh, cattle, cattle wagons. We were put about hundred eh, each of us uh, on the cattle wagon. There was enough room to stand, there was not enough room to, to bend down or sit down. And uh, doors closed and we were on our way. It was summer, probably June. Days were extremely hot. We traveled about three days. Now all, all I can tell you during those three days...

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