Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Pauline Kleinberg - October 28, 1982

Stealing in Camp

So, until 1944--I, I can't go through incidents that happened there, they had deloused us and one girl, one time, you know, if you wanted to wash her hair. There, it was already hell. Once a week you could get hot water, you know, to wash and clean yourself. And the others there--whoever was stronger one has--like the ones like they're working on the road brought something from the road--an extra slice of bread or maybe, they had--they were more in contact with the outside they had an apple. They went in there, "Can I get a, a water." So instead of giving everyone one pail of water, she gave the ones that brought her something two or three, you know, so they should wash their bra and they should wash their, you know, clothes, and what. So people--a girl like me we had--didn't stand a chance. And you couldn't go and tell because if the ones, you know, people were animals. Those bad condition made of us out animals. Of the nicest girls, they made out uh, we turned into animals. We pulled that through too. In 1944--by the end of 1944, when the war drew to an end, evidently they tried to run aw...to put us away. To drive us away from the front, you know. They brought in about--this was uh, in, late in December--they brought in about two--we were about fifteen hundred girls in this camp together. They brought in, well, not, not going--like one time I got down in the basement, I wanted to steal a potato. Oy, am I a thief. And my sister was knocking, because every time--every here and there we were counted. Appells, Appell.


Appell, yeah. So we were counted. So one time, I managed always to go in the basement, maybe to steal a potato or a carrot and come back out for the Appell. So my sister was knocking, one, two, three. If I hear three, it's clear. So I got out. And when she didn't knock and I know pretty soon they're going to count, I know something's going on in that uh, count, and, and, and, and one is missing, you can imagine. And if you're caught, you don't stand a chance, you don't explain nothing, you know. There are no explanation for anything like this. You're, you're a goner. She couldn't come, so I knew something's going on there. And I don't know what happened. I don't remember up to now how in the world I got out of there and I managed to be by the count--maybe by the second count already. Then when 1944, when the war drew evidently--we, we were cut off the outside, didn't know the politics, what's going on. But for we--all we knew what is happening inside.

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