Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Trying to Get Extra Food

Do you recall anybody in the group struggling to get extra food in other ways?

Yes, there was, uh, not only, there was daily incidents at night. Now, in the evening we would get one portion of bread. But it may have been, I don't know, half a pound or something like that, maybe a pound. And we would eat a little bit from that and the rest of them, we would save for next morning and for lunchtime, so we would have a little bit of solid food, because in the morning, we only got the coffee, Ersatz coffee. Lunchtime, it was just a little soup, liquid. Occasionally, if we had a little potatoes or carrots or something in it, it was, it was like, like winning something. And in the evening is when they gave you bread. And, as I said, many people would put it under the pillow, and there would be some stealing. But people would steal this one, and there were accusations, there was, ah, ah, I have seen it, father and son getting into an argument.

Over food.

Over food, you know. One accused the other one that you stole my bread, and, uh, you know, there were a lot of things that you could volunteer to go. For instance, burials. We got something for that, too, a little bit. Maybe, maybe a little extra soup or carrying from the, uh, from the camp to the work force, work place. We had to carry the cans, you know, and that one was also voluntary, and it was an honor, and, and, and it was advantageous if you got it, because, uh, if you carry that and after, it was, everybody was given the one plate of soup, and before, they would portion the remaining, if there was some remaining. Now, the one who carry that, they got two extra plates, you know. So we did, we did all these things, and we resorted to anything possible where a little bit of extra food could come in.

We'll take a break here now.

[interruption in interview]

You had mentioned earlier that you and another young man were at the fence, uh, and close to each other, and he was shot. Um, do you remember the story that you told me, your father told you about the first World War?


Did you think of that at all?

From, similarities?

No. Is it just my comparison, not yours? I thought that might have jogged the memory of what you've gone through.

The only difference was, uh, what my Father told me. It was extraordinary, because the, what he mentioned to me that the body still made without the head. You know, reflex, or so, several steps, where this one, when he was shot, just fell, you know, fell over.

And it seems the overriding concern was, was just getting enough food at Kochendorf.

Yes. Primarily, that's what it was. That's, that's the only thing what kept you going.

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