Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Salvatore and Lili Katan - August 18, 1981

Fate of Family

What did they tell you, you were going to do there?

SK: They say, "You people go there, we're going build houses for you people, you're going to work over there, you're going to have a good life." The good life is to put to death every one. And then uh, the American--my father was uh, past sixty-eight, seventy, he was so strong. Usually all these people--they were old--right away, soon they come down from the boxcars they used to pick 'em up, put 'em in the separate to go burn 'em up, you know, the oven. But my father was so strong they put him uh, with the young ones to work. As a matter of fact, I met a lot of boys from Greece after says, "If it wasn't for your father we are all dead," because my father was working, hard work, because uh, most of the young ones was not capable to handle the shovel and the pick. And my father used to say, "Don't worry boys, I got a life, I help you guys." And then after my father start to get skinny and skinny, no food, and he was a old man too, they took him and they bring him out. My oldest brother, he work in the coal mine and I heard from the friends in Jaworzno. I heard from my friends--the other Greek friends, says, "Your brother was knocked down in between the two..." how do you call it? Where they're pushing the coal--the miners...

LK: Carts?

SK: No, no, no, the buggies that they have.

Yeah, the coal wagons.

SK: The coal wagons. And between the two they squeeze him in, my brother, and he died. Then, then I get some infection in my face. I was transferred from Auschwitz to Kattowitz and I get some infection and the Germans right away they send me back to Auschwitz. And when they send me back to Auschwitz I was in the hospital laying down, and my youngest brother find out that I'm in the hospital. They brought me one, two potatoes from his own food to give me because I was hungry. And I told him, "You take it because I'm sleepy, you take it. No, you take it," and after they are here, he was killed too. My sister I don't heard at all.

LK: Your sister Anna was pregnant.

SK: My sister Anna was pregnant, and we were told by the little one right away they burn him up, she had a little baby by the name Albert, they burn him up. And I don't heard nothing about my sister-in-law and uh, I don't hear nothing about my sister neither. What happened to her, I don't hear nothing.

Your sister-in-law was married to your oldest brother.

SK: My oldest brother, yeah.

She survived.

SK: No, she's dead too.

LK: She was nine months pregnant.

SK: Nine months--she had a little baby. It was nine months...

LK: He was not a baby, he was four years old.

SK: Four year old boy and she was pregnant for another baby and we don't hear nothing else.

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