Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Holcman - September 14, 1983

Life in Auschwitz

What kind of work did you do in the camp?

In, in the, in Auschwitz, nothing at all. But then when, when uh, we, we didn't work at all.

What was your daily routine at Auschwitz?

Nothing uh, staying together to keep warm, hunching together, one back to the other.

In the barracks?


They made you go outside?


I mean, just stood around in a yard?

Four o'clock, five o'clock in the morning outside and they stood, stood in the yard uh, hunched, bunched together to keep warm.

For how long?

'Til uh, yeah, almost uh, all day, really. 'Til they give you the soup.

Did uh, you talk to each other about what you'd heard or what was going on in other parts of the camp?

No, nothing.

So, you, you weren't aware of what might have been going on in other parts of the camp or something.

No, nothing. Nobody said nothing in the camp. But in the, but in Auschwitz we had uh, we had this one friend, you know, the one friend I uh, we were traveling with, we were, we lived in the same building in, in, in uh, in Łódź. And he was, he was young, my age, and I was young. So, we had one block who was youngsters. Between the youngsters, me and him was the oldest. But in this particular block they gave two soups instead of one. So, during the day, I went over there and stood over there with the kids, even though I had to do all the dirty work like uh, taking out the uh, overnight the drums, the soup and everything. But, but the one day... So I, so I told him--his name Enyek--so, I cook him a, so I tell him uh, we shouldn't, we shouldn't stay with the young kids. It's better to stay with the older people being the youngest than uh, staying with the youngest being the oldest. So, he didn't listen to me. The next day the block was empty.

So, he was gone.

He was gone, yeah. He didn't want to come with me. Uh, he had no reason really to come with me, because I had my brother over there and he didn't have a brother. But we were sticking together, so I just mentioned it to him, it's better like that, you know, to be the youngest between the old people than the oldest... But he didn't listen.

How were you able to move about, like you said, from one block to the other without getting caught? Didn't they take a roll call or...

No, during the day it was easy, during the day it was easy. Uh, but at night uh, with the curfew, you couldn't get out.

Were, were you tattooed when you came to the camp?

No, I didn't, I wasn't.

Okay. So this, this was your routine before you were assigned to do some work, is that right?

Yeah. In Auschwitz, I was only three weeks.


Then we went to a, finally got selected with my brother together and we left Auschwitz with the train to uh, Görlitz. It's in Germany ??? And then we worked in the factory there.

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