Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Freda Magnus - July 22, 1982

Hearing of the Death Camps

You mentioned the first time your mother went outside when the Germans called. Did you know where they were taking the prisoners?

No, we knew they were sending them away to, away to death.

How did you know this?

They was--first thing, you see, they came every second day like I told you from beginning this time from the hospital to take out the sick people, throwing them away to death, you know, to kill them. Then they took away from, from the neighbors, old people, sick people.

Didn't they mention--well what did the Germans say they were doing? Didn't they say they were just relocating?

No, no, no this time they didn't murder--they didn't even reassure, they said "All--everybody goes to death." When they say relocated was only when they took out all the people from, from the ghetto, you know, when uh, they took blocks and blocks--they take out, they said they relocate people, you know. Like I thought when they relocate us they said take us to a, to a camp, you know, so I thought they take us to a camp, we go together and then we will work, you know, like in camp, you know. Because if not, I wouldn't go so, so I went with my father but if I know we go to a gas chamber but the thing was, you see, there was a lot--some people--Jewish people was working by the trains, you know, and they came home a lot and they saw people was writing on those trains and they told them, "People, they are taking us to death camps."

They wrote on the sides...


...of the train, on the walls?

On the, on the walls, yeah, on the walls on the side but a lot of people didn't believe in it. You were--how could believe in such a thing? That they will take you healthy and good into nothing--they will take you into a death camp and they said they needed us to work? You see? We couldn't believe in it, we couldn't believe in it and that was the story but--because who could believe in it? Would you believe in it--that they will take you?


You, you couldn't, you couldn't believe some--it existing in the world people with such sadism like they had, you know, where you saw they killed, they robbed but okay, singles, you know, ten, fifty but millions of people? You have to see--when I came to Auschwitz they didn't have time to stamp me even, you see, because it was already the last days when the Russian was coming in, you understand? So they didn't even have time to stamp so many people. When I came to Auschwitz, millions and millions of Jewish people came there from all around.

So that's why you don't have a tattoo.

Yeah, they didn't have time to do it and what they did...

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