Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991

Camp Laborers

Were all the laborers um, at the camp in Germany, were they all Jews as well?

Yeah. Well uh, the uh, all the leaders of the, of the, the shopmeisters, they used to call them, were all Germans. Yeah.

But were they prisoners?

They were not, no they were not prisoners. They were just uh, civilian people that the company hired uh, to run the, the, all that construction uh, you see, to, to build a highway. You know what it entails, you know. You work with a pick and shovel. And so you had to... Or... Uh, I have seen though uh, there used to be there this little narrow uh, the uh, narrow line trains where they, they used to uh, load the lor...the lora, you know, lora. This was the, the, where they loaded the dirt that has been transported from one spot to the other. It was the... We used to cut away from, from mountains dirt and load it on these wagons. And then they uh, oh, they uh, bring this over to another spot where it was low, you know, 'cause it has... You know, the... Uh, I don't know if you ever been in Germany uh, the autobahn has no valleys, it has no mountains. It just all flat. So when you built it, you had to uh, build up where there was a valley and take down where there was a mountain. So where there was a mountain we uh, cut it off, loaded these wagons, these little trains, you know. And if uh, you got from it that they have a void in that train, if something went off the, the, the rail or something, they beat you merciless... mercilessly--is that? 'Cause uh, like it was his fault, you know. Uh, or if they didn't work. And then there was these tracks, they had to be moved. It was strictly hard work. We had to pick these things up and, and uh, these rails, you know, the iron, wrought iron, the uh, iron rails, we move one spot to the other.

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