Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Salvatore and Lili Katan - August 18, 1981


Where were you when you were liberated?

SK: Auschwitz.

You were at Auschwitz?

SK: Auschwitz, Auschwitz.

How many do you think were left? How many, how many, how many were with you or were still there?

SK: Uh, there were the twins--brothers, ??? I should say with me together nine, ten.

From Salonika.

SK: From Salonika, yeah. I mean, they were together worked in the same factory.

I see. How many prisoners were still there do you think?

SK: Oh, I should say around...


SK: ...four or five thousand.


SK: Yeah, a lot of they took out before, eh, send 'em to...


SK: ...burning, you know. They were walking in the snow. As a matter of fact, my wife, same thing, she was walking for days and night.

You were liberated at Auschwitz by...

SK: By the Russians.

By the Russians. Um, and, and all your family--no one?

SK: Nobody. Whoever went over there from my family nobody come back except me.

Then what happened when you were, when the Russians came, then what?

SK: Then the Russians they took us and with the ??? we asked the Russians they should give us rifles, machine guns, we want to fight, to help you there. And they told us "No, we know you people they are tired, hungry and everything else. Russia has got plenty soldiers, let 'em--the Russians do the work. You people rest." And the Russians, they are good. They were--took us all and they took us to Czernowitz, Romania. They told us they going to send us home, and then from Czernowitz they put us to Belarussia, Jews, and that where I met my wife. We were there for how many months I should say?

LK: Three months.

SK: Eh?

LK: Three months this was.

SK: Yeah, almost three, three months we were. So anyway, and uh, as a matter of fact, I wanted--I said the Russians, "What we doing here?" They said, "We have to check up if you people, really, they are Jewish people. Really the Germans they took you by force." As a matter of fact, they were a lot of where they went to work for the Germans voluntary.


SK: Gentiles.

Gentiles, yeah.

SK: And there we look alike. Gentile and Jews we look alike. So and uh, they say soon they're going to find out what was the reason the Germans they took us, everything else, really we are Greek Jews, they going to let us go home. And they took us day long and after there were getting us there...

LK: There was thirty-two thousand people, I think, from all over.

SK: Yeah, yeah, they were from all over.

LK: Every nationalities.

Was this a displaced person's camp?

LK: Correct. Yeah, yeah.

SK: They were there.

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