Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ilya Martha Kessler - November 1, 1982

Conditions in Auschwitz

And we was there a half--year. It was terrible. Morning was uh, it was uh, the star was on they took us out to stay there. It was ??? And uh, when, you know, came the May, June, July, and we was there. I don't know what the dates were. It was terrible and staying there. And they came and they ??? We, we didn't have where to go anyway. They just beat it and with dogs and with uh, everything. And we saw the crematorium with the smoke and uh, and they said, "People who came to... through the door and you go through to the chimney. You will see it from here." And, as you know, I didn't know from one day to the other could happen something this, anything. I couldn't believe what they, they killed mine parents. I mean, my father went to war because these people they took the war. They killed my two brothers and mine uh, mother and my grandmother. I couldn't believe that such a thing... things could happen. So then, we was there and every time I don't know, maybe sometime three times, sometime four times they came and they took people from us. And uh, at first we didn't know. And then we realized they're going to kill them. This is a sanatorium. They need so many and so many people to kill. So, they choosed them. Some time later, some time uh, uh, some time they ??? what we had. And then people start to run. They didn't want to go. If they could run, you know. And uh, that's what happened. And they didn't give nothing to you, a little bread and soup and water and it was scraps in it, nothing. I always was ??? I was very, very hungry always. And uh, uh, I, I was staying in line and I get the uh, bread and finally I eat it. Some people didn't eat it because next day they want to eat a little bit, a lit... The other people steal from them because they were so hungry. They used to bring the food and they used to stay there and we had uh, uh, Dutch shoes, boot shoes. And they took the shoes and they put it in, in the... where was the food and they ate it before they took us the soup and they gave it. Before they took us. We didn't have enough. So, it was terrible there, terrible, terrible. I couldn't understand.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn