Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Lang - February 23, 1982

Arrival at Auschwitz

Had you ever heard of Auschwitz before?

No, never, never, never. But we arrived there in Birkenau.

When uh, when the doors opened up, what do you remember about what you saw?

Oh I have good memories there. When we got out, they told us we should take very little stuff with us.

Who told you?

Just the Germans.

There were Germans.

Yes. The Germans said that we should stay in line--five in the line. On this side the women, on this side the men. We should take very little with us. So naturally we were taking just for the baby, you know. The clothes and the little bag with cookies, whatever was left of--so I was holding the baby and my sister was carrying and my mother was carrying and were--and two other women--I don't remember who it was in the line--because we had to be five. And slowly, slowly walking. And there was a man--I think he was a Polish. I'm not sure why he was working there with a shovel. And he looked at me and he says to m--in Jewish "Leygn arop dos kind." And with all those Germans and to come out from a closed up place in this hollering with these Germans and all with the guns, with the bayonets are going around. We didn't know what's happening. And that guy was working there by the track--by the train track. He was cleaning up, I guess, the stuff what everybody left in the train. And I guess he looked at me and he figured, "Why ca...why shouldn't I save a young girl?" So he kept on, and we were going slowly, slowly, you know. And, and I was holding still the baby. And he pretended that he...he's working there and he comes, he says to me "Legyn arop dos kind."

He wanted you to...

To put the baby down.


And, and I says to my sister--she was standing by me--I says--I didn't know what was going on. H--says, "Take ???." She says to me, "Look, my hands are so full, I, I just can't take him too." So I turned to my mother, I says, "Anyu, take the baby." She says, "Look it, I can't. I, I have all this stuff in my hand. I can't put these down, this is for the baby." In the meantime we were walking slowly, slowly. And the man--and that man--he, he saw that I don't listen to him and he came to me, he says--so angrily--he says, "Legyn arop dos kind un gain tsu di rekht." You understand?

Go to the right.

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