Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991

Extermination Camps II

Death camp. Extermination camp.

Yeah, yeah. And the uh, over there we, we slept in shelves, you know. You slide in your body in a shelf. That's about it. Couldn't turn over. Uh, so many uh, bodies in, on a shelf and as I say, you couldn't turn around and... In the morning, got you up real early and you stayed barefoot on the clay ground, frozen clay ground for hours and hours. And uh, I uh, remember there was one, two uh, two brothers that were with, in our camp getting uh, in Gronow. And uh, they protested uh, that some they come by, they hit 'em and push 'em and this and that. And uh, they took him in in a barrack. They stuck his head in the oven. Like a heating oven. He crapped his pants and they beat the hell out of him. That was uh, don't, don't be a smart ass. Don't protest. And then later on they took 'em outside, and they showed everybody what they looked like, beaten up. And uh, the uh, here if it's a little bit of a cool outside you get a cold. Over there you stay on, in the first barefoot and you have to be uh, you have to endure that because if you get sick, if you say you're sick, you're just done. You can't even say you're sick or feel bad or get a sneeze or whatever. It is uh, remarkable how much a person can endure. Later on, when you get on the marches again, and I was in a camp where these, where the German soldiers uh, when they uh, knocked through a, every, knocked through a uh, concrete wall and went into the forest. And uh, all I had was a blanket with me, you know, only uh, it was in the winter, the deep winter, you know. It was way below zero. I laid and I slept on the ground for about two days, you know. Two day, two nights we're out. And uh, you wonder how, how you survive, how, how I survived that. Laid on the frozen ground. One side got frozen, I turned on the other side, you know. And that's where we slept on, on outdoors where about, where about ten, fifteen below zero. And later on uh, it was Blechhammer, a camp named Blechhammer, I don't know whether you ever heard of it. And then we heard that the, all the soldiers uh, moved out uh, when the Russians came in, you know. And uh, so I went back into the barracks. And where, at night they came and took us all away to another camp in Schwarzwald. Now the uh, in Jaworzno... And then from there we went to Jaworzno.

But from Posen you didn't go. Did you go... You went to Auschwitz.

Yeah. To Birkenau.

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