Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bernard Hirsch - June 29, 1982

Life in the Army

Where were you when the war began?

In 1941, I was twenty years old. I had to go in the army. So, they took us home and there was our, our place for three months. And then they sent us--the war was going on already--and then they sent us to uh, ??? they called it, in Slovakia. Because they were all kind soldiers uh, special--I was--they ask, "What kind of food you want to eat? You want kosher or your want traif?" So to my father was a very religious person, I couldn't say that I should go to the traif uh, kitchen. So I went with the kosher, kosher boys. They were, they were there about two hundred and fifty. And uh, so which one they didn't eat kosher, they'd send it to a different place. And which one they ate kosher, they sent in a--still in a different place, us. And then they sent us to ???. There they changed us the kitchen. They didn't have anymore. That was close to the German uh, they didn't gave us anymore kosher. We had to eat whatever, whatever they, they gave us. And I was there 'til '43 March. I had a very close friend. He was over us and he was a Gentile. And he told me, "Listen something is going happen. Nobody knows about this, something is going happen. They going to send us to concentration. So when you have a chance, run away," this Gentile told me. So I told him, "How I can run away when I have a blue uniform? They catch me right away with a blue uniform. 'You are a Jewish--a Jew.'"

Explain what the difference in uniform color was.

The green--the Gentiles they had the green and we had the blue.

So they differentiated between the Jew and the Gentile.

Yeah. So as soon as they catch in blue, they knew that he's Jewish.


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