Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Salvatore and Lili Katan - August 18, 1981

Resistance and Religion in the Camps

I'm going to ask just a couple more--do you remember anything else about uh, resistance in the camp besides that one when they blew up the Krematorium?

SK: Yeah, yeah. There were, as a matter of fact, there were some Czech...Czechoslovakian people, they were working--who they tried to escape from the camp and they was digging under the ground to go under the wires, because all the wires they were electric; they're part of the ??? there, because soon you put your hand, you are dead. And they get caught and they hanged them all in the camp and everybody they should see 'em. They hang 'em--if I'm not mistaken was twelve involved in that--in this project and they get caught and they put them all--and they hang them right in the camp in Auschwitz. And somebody would try to escape, the same thing, they used to hang 'em and everybody they should see 'em hanging. And they used to tell, "Whoever tries to do something like that, that's what's going to happen."

Now was there any, uh...

SK: Do you smoke?

No thanks. Was there any religious, religious activity of any kind in, in the barracks?

SK: We used to call it a minyan, you know, around ten people, and we used to say--we used to pray ourselves in the evening, because in the morning it's impossible because it was rush, rush, rush to go and dress up and go stay in the line and count people whoever goes to, the people that go out to work. But in the evening we used to come together and we used to davening. We used to pray by, by ourselves without the German sees us, because if they see us we get ??? or killed. And then Satur...Sundays when we used to be home we used to take a walk, meet the people, talk each other in the camp and two soldiers say they used to walk in the camp and the one used to say to the other, "Listen, I could kill one of these prisoners with one punch. You want to bet?" And they used to bet a bottle of whisky or whatever it is. Then they used to pull the rest of the guys over there, the prisoners, says, "Come on, pick 'em up, take 'em, take 'em away." Of course we were bone and--skin and bones, you know. They, they could kill anyone with, uh...

LK: You have to mix them because one is ???.

SK: Yeah.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn