Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Kapo's Assistant

The Allied invasion?

Allied invasion. And in this camp we didn't stay too, too long because we could hear, the canons, could hear actually the war going on. And we had a very slight hope that maybe, maybe the allied would overrun the territory and we could be liberated. But, unfortunately, that did not, uh, take place. It didn't occur because sometimes towards the end of September, early part of October, we had the order that we have to leave. That we are going to be transported back to Germany. And at that point, we still had 499 person in that group. One person died of natural causes, you know. So we had 499 people. And, uh, over there, particularly for me, it wasn't, I was able to get into a Kapo, you know, into Blockältester, what it was the commandment of a certain barrack. And I became like his assistant, or caddie, or helper, or whatever, you know. And that helped me a little bit. It helped my uncle because I was getting some extra food.

How did you manage that?

Pardon? Well, they always, uh, choose, all of them choose one, one person they may have liked. Looked at you and liked you. It was shining his shoes or cleaning the barrack, you know, household chores.

Do you remember his name?


He was a Jewish person?

Pardon? No, no. He was German. He was German. And, uh, I remember my number that I received over there. What I carried all through the rest of the time that I was in the camp. It was achtzehn null vierzig, it was 18040. That was my number. So, any ID that we had it was through this number. Nobody had a name.

So, what would a routine day be like, um, if you were the assistant's gopher, whatever, for the Kapo?

Well, it was just, uh, it was, unfortunately, it didn't lasted too long because he got mad for some- for something and he kicked me in the back and he says, "Heraus!" and you were out, you know. It was, it lasted probably about two, three weeks. But, that was better than nothing, because at least two, three weeks I had quite a bit of more food.

And this was still in Thiel?

Yes, yeah.

Were you beaten there?

Uh, no, I, I wasn't beaten other than that one kick, you know what, here towards the lower part of my back. And that hurt about, I would say several weeks, where it was, that bone what he kicked at. And I can't even tell you the reason why, why it was. They got mad for any little thing quickly and he just choose somebody else.

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