Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emerich Grinbaum - October 3, 2000 & January 8, 2001

Arrival in Auschwitz-Birkenau

All right. When the door is opened...

Okay, they already opened the door immediately, shouting "Aus, aus!" You know.

Was it night time, day time?

Day time, day time. We arrived in the morning.

What did you think?

I told you, we were looking through--the peeping out before that and we saw people in their stripes working in Auschwitz. They have cleaning and something. So we still, we still thought you know, that we arrived somewhere to work, you know. Nobody wanted even, probably wanted but... I tell you, at that time we didn't think anything because we didn't have the strength to think about it, you know. But I know that we were always optimist, always optimist that most of the people wanted to believe that they're taking us to work or something.

But, but--so that now the doors are open and you see more.


And they dragged, they dragged you out.

More, more. Dragged. No, they dragged...

They forced you out.

Mostly the uh, other uh, uh, mostly Polish Jews uh, Häf...Häftling and they uh, prisoners, we were there. They did their job. But there were SS behind them. They were just shouting. And they put us, they separated immediately. Men, wo...women. So I told you, I was with my father and my brother, men. My mother with her sister and with two children. And children--most of the small children went with, with uh, with their mothers. They, they pushed them to--with the mother. Oh, one more. And we stand, we were waiting in the line, waiting for the, go through the selections for the, the, the uh, with Mengele probably, whoever it was. And they shouted, "Zwillingen" Zwillingen is twins. "Aus, aus, Zwillingen." Because Mengele already collected people for the experiment. And you know--and a lot of people are, are friends and not only friends who knew us. They, they thought that we are twins with my brother because we look alike. We were one and a half years difference, almost the same size. And they thought that they're Zwillingen and they told us you know, go out because maybe it'll be better. So we didn't want to go out. First of all, we are not twins. And secondly we didn't want to leave my father because--matter of fact, in the long run uh, what, beside uh, help of uh, God and luck, we survived because we were together and they give us strength, especially my father, we were together.

So you think that saved your life at first.

First, because we were. You know, Mengele, with Mengele if you go out with Mengele ninety-nine percent the experiments.

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