Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ilya Martha Kessler - November 1, 1982

Arrival in Auschwitz II

When you got to Auschwitz uh, what happened? What did you see when they opened the cars?

They opened the cars, there was a Hu... They were Jewish with striped what I saw it with my father. And uh, and they said, "Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry." Everybody got down and uh, was dark. And my uh, my father said, "Hold your brother's hand because two people went. Hold your brother. Uh, don't let your grandmother do everything, you know, because grandma ??? grandmother was watching us. You help them, you are a big girl, you help them already." So, I hold my brother, my little brother--he was not quite a year old--and my bigger brother Andrew said, "Oh, I forgot my coat on the uh, train," and he run back in. They, they didn't let him to go. So, he didn't have the coat. And we went through to, to this uh, and uh, that's a, one go right, one go left, one go right, one go left. So, the whole family, my... I went alone to the right.


So, and we saw... We smelled the smoke smell and saw a big smoke there. And you heard, you heard the uh, you know, the ??? when they took the people away. You know, they put them a long time...

[interruption in interview]

...and I was in, inside this and the soldiers came and locked us. And then because uh, ??? and I heard, I always thought I heard ??? because I always saw they taking the people to the crematorium.

Mm--hm. Did they separate you from your, your mother and your, your younger brothers...

Right away when we... From the train we went, mm, it wasn't, just a little bit, a couple uh, not far, and right away they separate. So, the whole family, they, they said to me, "Go to the right." Right away they said that. Never again I saw them. We didn't know where they taking them. And they... We went like a ten mile, a mile and then they ???

What about your father?

So, how I say, my father... the mens went to the other side, so they took them. So, when my father went to the other place, they washed them, they shaved the head, and they made the striped uh, things and then I saw a couple with my father there. Never again. My father who for, for old man ??? a letter from Germany... That's was in '44 September. He get it on ??? You know that piece of ??? we're going to come back. And I always thought my father coming back. They took him to Oranienburg, that's near Germany. And he didn't come back.

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