Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Pauline Kleinberg - October 28, 1982

Explanation of Camp Numbers

So they brought--oh yeah, before we got there, everybody says, "How come you haven't got a number here?" because most camps, you know--people here know only the ones--the survivors with the numbers. You know what happened? When we got to this concentration camp, we had a group of young Gestapos--probably doctors, whatever--that selected us. One this side and one that side. We had--they made a circle, probably ten people, two women and eight men, whoever--and had examined us and see if there's not a thing on your body that they don't like, whatever, naked and they selected, right and left, right and left. I didn't know which one is better but again, we kept our fingers crossed. Wherever this side's going to be, we should be together. We were together. And then we were given the numbers on uh, like this here. ??? We were given necklaces. And I remember forty-seven thousand one hundred ten, this was the numbers. You see, we didn't have it. When we liberated we dumped it, so. But the other side that didn't get the numbers we never seen again, you see. So it was--we didn't know which one was better: to get the numbers or not to get the numbers. We didn't know the right or left. And then when uh, when the war drew to an end, they brought in about another fifteen hundred girls from Auschwitz--they were Hungarians. The Hun...the Hungarians were taking labor. They did not have time enough to tattoo them, because in Auschwitz everybody was tattooed, but they did not have time to tattoo 'em because they were brought in late and the war drew to an end. So they took--but they were very hungry. They were like wild animals. We were already used to the--to that living and they were not. They were just taken out fresh from Budapest. They brought in--they were wild, they were just like the animals. And they mixed us up in there. We were about fifteen hundred and they brought in other fifteen hundred and we're all scrambled up and they selected. One right and one left, one right and one left, and they need two transports. Again, luckily, I was with my sister together and they took us on the death march, which it lasted from the beginning of January to the 5th of May. We started out fifteen hundred girls, and there was about a hundred and twenty survivors and my sister was the very, very last one to die. We had already the Red Cross. I pulled through, she did not. Less thirty-six girls. And to tell you how those girls died 'til the very last day, every day is a book. But I'll tell you as much as I can--as much as I remember.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn