Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991

Punishment of Prisoners

What, what, what kinds of incidents do you remember from Jaworzno? I mean, anything...

I, I uh...

Suicides ??? everyday there must have been something.

I remember cases when uh, when uh, people, uh... I remember one day that they uh, took a boy and uh, put his fingers in a doorway and just slammed the doors on it and uh, because of some uh, little thing that, that happened there at work. Um, or if uh, happened uh, some kind of... one escaped. Somebody, somebody escaped. I remember there were Russian, there were also on that uh, camp there also were Russian uh, boys, Russian gentiles were in that camp, you know, with us. And um, they're, they're a bunch of thieves and then uh... Well, they, the same thing, they help themselves whatever they could, you know. But sometimes they did escape, you know. And then the really the whole community suffered then, you know. And if somebody uh, at work uh, did something that they didn't like, then they really punished 'em bad. They would pull their nails out, they'd do all these... Put their hands in, and fingers, slammed the door...

When somebody tried to escape, what, what did they do to the rest of the commando? To the labor detail?

They just punished 'em. They just punish them. All kinds of... All kind of more rigorous and that they uh, did, you know

If someone in your labor detail would try to escape, or escaped?

Oh the others, the others had to pay for it.


Oh, this... Beatings and, and uh, uh, and screaming and, and, and punishment and hitting and start searching you and uh...

Were there ever occasions when you were made to stand out in the cold?

Oh, this was, this was everyday.

Without clothes, or anything like that.

Uh, no. I mean, when the regular camp, this was in the morning, when you come in the morn... Early in the morning when you get up, or they wake you up about four o'clock and uh, then you stay for about uh, couple hours out there 'til they take count of you, you know. And, and same thing when you come home, again you had to be counted again. Precious stuff, you know, it had to be counted, make sure uh...

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