Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Conditions in the Camps

Do you remember the guards, do you remember the guards in the camp? Do you remember them--do you remember their treatment? Do you remember the--another roll call in the morning.

Yeah the roll call in the morning I remember was just a--I still got the number from uh, the number from concentration camp. It was not your real name--never called your name. Uh, maybe sometimes they came in, in the night if they feel like they have a little fun, they woke you up two o'clock in the night and they said, "Let's go for Appell.' And you went out and they start to call, you was freezing. You were wearing the ???, how you call it.


And you were staying and freezing and shivering and, uh...

Did you have shoes?

Eh, shoes. Sometimes I was, I was walking few months without shoes. I had--and my wife knows it. I--after the war, I had my, my whole here was white, snow white, snow for about over a year it was complete snow from my--I call it, uh...

Yeah, the back of your foot.

The back of my foot, the whole thing was snow. And after a couple years it went back and it went away and recovered. I was walking for three months without shoes. And, I was talking about...

About the Appell.

About the Appell and we were staying sometimes for, for three, four hours, just uh, they was laughing and we were shivering. And you could see one man died right there on the, on the--and every two, two weeks, three weeks came and doctors came with the, a lot of SS came and the Appell and look you over and you were strong enough. They say, "Okay,' and your face was a little white or something, you didn't feel like it. They took you on the other side and we know that these people going to Auschwitz to, to Krematorium over time. And you were scared every time when you went out to Appell that maybe something happen to you. And what else can I say? It's like a dream in life. Nobody would believe this can happen in life. It's a hard thing in life. And the thing is that most people who is really from uh, from the Holocaust, there was a lot--all the people who's really lucky run away or just a little young enough to, to, to be strong, to hold on this kind of--the main thing is just--I was really the one who run away and then I didn't believe it that nobody going to be alive. That uh, I was for three or for four, over four months I was by myself and never believe that I will see another Jewish person. I knew maybe I can see in Israel or in America or someplace else, but not from Poland. I knew that Hitler's going to kill us. This was the last minute to kill all the Jewish people.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn