Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Conflicts with Other Prisoners


Only one--that's right, disinfection. They were doing, they're going to disinfect the barracks. So we were supposed to sleep in a different place. We were moved out to a different place. And one of the--in the different place was, of course uh, uh, different people. And as we were accounted, as we were accounted, one of the helpers and he was Hungarian. This particular eh, barrack was more Hungarians. And I wasn't stood--I didn't stand at attention quite right. And that fellow sock it to me right away across my face and stood me up. And I said to him, "You know, when you come to our barrack eh, you may, you may get the same problem. We may take care of you like that." I didn't realize the power of this guy. That was the end of it. However, when I came at night from work, the Blockältester, the one in charge of the barracks, the German, called me up. Took me, called me to his room. And says, "You wanted to, you wanted to kill my eh, my Schvunk. Schvunk means eh, Schvunk's got many, many meanings because they had Schvunks eh, young people who they slept with in this particular camp. But they also had Schvunks, a Schvunk is fellow who was helping him eh, running the place. Who was like eh, authorita...authoritarian for, for him, was doing his dirty work. So the word Schvunk meant also that someone was doing, his dear friend was doing his dirty work. And he says to me, "You wanted to kill my, my srunk." I said--I spoke German quite well at that time I said, "No of course I didn't, of course I didn't." But here it goes uh, the, the fellow once again, extremely tall and big, and I was small. He hit me across, hit me eh, eh, from eh, from eh, eh, with his open hand eh, below my teeth like. So all I, all I can tell you that I went across the small table that he had, landed on the other side. Eh, landed on the other side, but I knew, even though I, I was limp with co..., I was not total conscious, I got up instantly, walk out. Because you know once you're on the floor you're like a dog. We know that. They just kill you totally, eh. They have a feeling that you're on the floor, you're a dog, you know. Eh, so I got up. But before I knew I got hit once again from the other side. Have the same flight right across the table. All I notice that some of my friends were looking from outside eh, from outside the door over there. And eh, eh, all I, all I can tell you that by the time I open my eyes, I've seen that...So he stepped on me a few times. Somehow I remember being hit three times eh, with the hand, but eh, being what it is eh, makes no difference. He stepped on me a few times and I, on my fours eh, my, my friends I notice eh, like through fog that my friends telling me to get out, to come eh, through the door. All my fours, of, of my legs and my hands, I moved out being kicked again through the, kicked badly uh, in the rear. I eh, ended up outside the door, outside the doors and my friends took me outside the, outside the eh, the barrack and they gave, they gave me whatever they could. They gave me water, they made me eh, they allowed me to recuperate a little bit. Anyhow eh, so, I survived. The point was...

Do you remember his name?


Either one of them?

No, I don't remember.

The German or the Hungarian.

I don't remember.

You had friends then that you had made in the barracks.

I, I have friends. These are the friends from my barrack. We were all together there. There was one friend of mine in my barrack who was there with his father together and the Kapo, the eh, the Barrackältester, the, the German in charge of our barracks, he kind of liked that kid. This, this particular fellow had good voice and he sang some--one song and the German liked to hear the song over and over again.

The child sang.

The child, right. He was even younger than I was. But he made the child sometime beat other, other eh, other people in the camp. Eh, he, he sometimes somebody was supposed to be hit. He, he gave him the whip and told him, give him ten. And they give him ten on his, on his, on his, on his be...behind. And that fellow did give him ten on his behind, couldn't do nothing, you know. Because either he give him his ten or he alone will get it, okay. Eh, I, there were, there were times I wasn't sure whether to trust this fellow or not myself because, eh. But he was friendly with me, that's all I can say. He was friendly, he liked me. And eh, eh, I was fortunate, because he had the ear of, of, of this Blockältester, of, of this, of this guy, so, eh. We survived. My uncle Solomon who was with me over there. There's million stories. My uncle was with me in the same barrack. At one point, maybe two months before we uh, maybe not, it was four or five months before the war eh, it was sometime in January I believe eh, very, very cold outside. He was moved to a different barrack.

Still in Mauthausen.

Still in Gusen II.

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