Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991

Camp Supervisors

Who were your supervisors?


A lot of people? Soldiers?

No, not soldiers. It was civilians.


No, civilians. Just uh, uh, the uh, farmers, stuff like that, you know. Uh, quite uh, simple people. But they were pretty cruel. The people that couldn't work or... You know, there was no hesitancy to, to break a shovel handle over your back, you know.

Did that happen?

Oh yeah.

To you?

Well, it did not happen to me.

Were you beaten there?

Uh, not in the labor camp. I don't remember being uh, beaten because I had uh, uh, was always a good worker and I uh... It didn't pay for me not to want to work to get beaten, so uh, I thought, behave, you know. And then uh, as I say, most of the time I worked uh, in the uh, in the private shop. In other words, I had only one boss over me, you know. We did uh, set up uh, everything necessary for the, of uh, labor, work, you know. Either barracks or powers or... Uh, always I had to work with tools, you know, with uh, hand tools. Um, which was a, uh, not working with, like with hundreds of thousands of people in the uh, in one area.

Now you were guarded by soldiers? Were there guards?

Not in the labor camps. We were not uh... They were, at night, yeah, they were guarded. The camps were guarded at night. Yeah uh...

But not on the job?

In fact, in the beginning, in the beginning um, we could go out on our own from the camps. So, for instance, uh, I used to go out to a uh, uh, work with a private uh, shop, a cabinet shop. And I worked there, come, 'cause I... when it was on Sunday when we didn't work on the uh, on the ???, on the, on the, on the uh, autobahn, so I used to go to a private uh, contractor and I would go with him. So naturally they gave you a decent meal, you know. I worked and eat with them. Uh, and so it built your uh, body up a little, your health up a little bit, you know. For extra food, you know.

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