Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991

Advantageous Authority

Do you remember any specific examples where that happened that you recall?

I was not there. But I have heard of certain people. Fact is one of 'em was a, uh, he was by profession an accountant and uh, uh was quite a... He was a ba'al tefeelah, you know ???. A very nice person. And he got some authority when the ghetto was formed in Ozorkow and he was simply brutal. And I just, it's a... I have always said to my wife, God forbid that there should ever be a war on the United States territory. People would become just the same. They uh, you, I don't know whether you remember uh, several, some years ago when the people started to build those bunkers here? And they said if somebody will want to go into my bunkhouse, stay with a gun at the door, you know. That's exactly how the attitude of people that changes in the ca... camp. In a time of emergency, they just change. I don't think it was unique uh, to uh, uh, to the people in Poland. I think this would happen anywhere. And the more comfortable people are at a time of peace, the more brutal they get at time of war because they don't know how to share. I don't know if you understand what I'm, I'm saying. "Don't touch. This is mine. Don't come into my territory."

So the class divisions...

Oh yeah.

continued into the war.


It got worse.


Did you know of cases where people uh, bought their way out of the ghetto or uh, bought their way out of deportations?

I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I suppose. The, my uh, brother stayed in Łódź ghetto 'til about three months before the war ended. Uh, he had a job in the uh, uh, of g... being an accountant I suppose in the uh, in the provisions, you know, in the food provisions. And he worked there as a uh, an accountant, you know. And uh, but he uh, months before the war they sent him to Bergen-Belsen, also to the camps. But he was there a short time. I was five years.

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