Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Labor in Gusen II

Did you remember something called the Bergkristall?

I don't remember.

It's one of the tunnels.

Don't remember. So the point was that I was somehow sent with this outside, which usually I worked inside. And eh, I was sent outside to uh, with this particular train. And they loaded up the train with cement. And I jumped on the, at, at the end, on that--that's how I came, on, on the last one, on, on a step and I was going back toward the tunnels. And as I was passing by, that must have been sometime in the fall of 1944 uh, as I was passing by, there was trees above me and I jumped up and I, and I picked up an apple. I picked up an apple and to my uh, disappointment there was a German who seened it. Who'd seen me picking up that apple. I knew instantly he's going to go after me. I couldn't do nothing while I was riding, but, because he was not on the train, I was. But I had a problem. I, I didn't know how to get out of it. First of all, my stripes on my jacket were lighter than most of the other ones. My jacket was lighter than the other ones. So I knew he's going to spot me. All I can tell you, I went to uh, I went into the tunnel and I jumped--I didn't even, I didn't even go to my own place because I would have to do a lot of walking. I jumped, there was another group working laying cement, I jumped out, I put my uh, uh, my, my top, my, my s...striped top under other jackets because people walked over there eh, half-stripped. And I put another one on, somebody else's, just put it right on. And I begin to work eh, with a, to, to smoothing out the, the, the cement. That was one of my jobs in some, in some other Kommando, not in that spot but I picked anybody's piece of uh, uh, shovel, and, what ever it was. And I was smoothing that cement and I see from far away that German is relentlessly walking the tunnel, he's coming up, he's looking around. It was very traumatic. I didn't know if he was going to recognize me or not. But he went through, he passed further, he didn't catch me. I survived. Little thing like that, but it was very traumatic.

Of course. Did you, did you eat the apple?

Of course I ate the apple.

Just a--I'm curious now. When you eat an apple now, do you think of that apple?

Not too often, no. Not, not really. Once again, there, there were so many other times. I used to--we used to get a cigarette or two a day. I didn't smoke. I traded it for a piece of bread or for a piece of something. It was a, a daily thing to survive. So that apple what I just told you is one of, of, of tremendous amount of, of uh, happenings at, at that time of my life, you know, uh.

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