Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bernard & Emery Klein - May 23, 1984

Reunited with Father

How did you regain contact with your father and Emery?

B: When I arrived in Birkenau, and being coached, which we talked about earlier, to say that I am 19 years old and a Landwirtschaft Arbeiter, farm worker, I was sent to the right rather than the left, and I wound up in Birkenau, and of course, a tremendous concentration of people, and uh, next morning, we arrived during the night, and after going through the bathing and the clothing and being shaved and so on, next morning on the Appellplatz, every morning we had to go out on the Appellplatz to be counted, head count, happened to notice my father and my brother, of course, to tremendous joy under those circumstances, and the problem only was that I was assigned to a block and while there were no names at that point, and neither did we have any numbers yet tattooed on us, they all that was, all that mattered was head count. Whenever a head count was taken, the head count had to be right or we would have trouble, so after a couple days, my father managed to find somebody who was willing to trade me for whoever they had, and we traded places, so I wound up in the same block, and from that point on...

E: We were together. B: We were together, and, of course, our next problem came when they came to select. Usually the laboring, labor camp Nazis came to Birkenau to select people that they wanted to use for labor, and whenever a selection was going on, we had to line up in front of our block and uh, watch who was selected and who not, so quite often it happened that two of us would be selected, and at that point our cousin, we had one more cousin attached himself to us and wanted to stay with us. So...

E: In order to have the protection of my father again, because we were kids. B: Right, so it took quite a while before we were able, the four of us, to jump or hide or, or, or manipulate so that all four of us were selected together which happened, I think, sometimes toward the end of October, and we were taken to Gleiwitz 4. Gleiwitz at that point had apparently, we were not aware of the others, but we were called Gleiwitz 4, so apparently they had three other labor camps, and that's where we wound up.

E: This was where the factory was to repair the railroad cars which came back from the front I mentioned earlier.

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