Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ilya Martha Kessler - November 1, 1982

Conditions in Auschwitz III

That was a work camp?

That's was a camp, yeah. And one day, when I was in a city uh, was a baker and my aunt send me--my, my uh, father's brother lived there--so, send me to the ??? to bake some and the man said, "I think I know your father, your ???" I said, "Yeah, that was my father." "We went two weeks with a train, wasn't covered and look and people died there and I think your father died there." That's before the ??? the ??? So, he said he jumped out from the train because it wasn't covered. I think that's all ??? and they shoot after him and his feet was uh, you know, was broken or something. Just, he was in ??? So, I think my father died there. Just I didn't know. Uh, we was waiting for my father and uh, he didn't come.

When you were in Auschwitz um, you were there for six months, you said?

Yeah, we was until October, something. October.

What was a day like there? Did you work or did you...

Nothing, nothing, nothing. You just were staying outside and counting and counting you and choosing from you and taking from. And you don't know to what they taking you, you don't know your family, killing you. We were staying there. And then they took you in, they give you a little soup, and then in the afternoon again they take you there. Nothing, nothing there. They... People was where I was just to kill. That's all. So, so I was lucky because I didn't know this transport, three hundred people they taking to work. We didn't know it, until the last minute. I, I think they didn't know that they going to take us to work or not. So, when we went there, we was there a couple months already, and then they make ??? But not in Auschwitz.

Not in Auschwitz.

So, they didn't know they going to kill us or not. So, the end they decided they not going to kill us, so they gave, they gave us the number.

Um, what, what type of food did you have in Auschwitz? Just the soup that you described?

Soup and grease. They put it in, like uh, black uh, I don't know... If you, you burn uh, hole, hole, bread, I don't know, something, you know, that's junk. And a little bread. A little bit maybe, two piece of bread came up. And it was like from wood. Nothing, nothing was there.

Did you have any eating utensils? Any bowls or anything? Did you have any eating utensils or any, anything?

They give you a big uh, plate or... Not plate. It's a big, you know, when you make, cook, not... Dish.


And everybody was one, two, then you give it to the other, one, two. And that was all the fifteen or twenty was there. They, they drink. So, when the other one had more--I don't know how to say this--you know, then you thought the other one had more, then you fight it because you wanted more too, like uh, like animals. Terrible.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn