Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

John Mandel - May 26, 1981

Punishment in Camps

Did you receive any special punishment?

I got beaten up a couple of times. But uh, I was more fortunate that others. I managed to stay out of the way. I, I've always looked out, I always tried to be as far away from the Kapo or the, or the Germans. Wherever they went I always went the opposite direction. And I managed to uh, stay out of their way most of the time.

Did you witness any special punishment?

Yes, I saw some hangings. There were, there were a few people that escaped. And uh, they were always caught. Nobody ever escaped, as far as I know, from Auschwitz. At least not while I was there. And what they would do is they would bring 'em out there and publicly hang 'em. And every--they would bring out everybody, they had a big square there. And uh, they would line up everybody and you had to stand there while they hung and they would, you had to watch 'em, and they would leave 'em hang there for... They... Whatever. Um, special punishment. [pause] I'm seen many people beaten up uh, where they were unconscious. Where they dragged them away and I saw a lot of cruelty. I saw a lot of cruelty from the Kapos and I saw a lot of cruelty from the Germans.

[pause] Were there any differences between--okay, here comes another one I'm going to mispronounce--the Wehrmacht guards and the SS?



Yeah, that was, that was the regular army and the SS were the volunteers. Yes, in the main uh, there was a big difference. Though, but uh, one of the uh, sergeants, he was a Wehrmacht and I, I can't remember his name. He was a very famous sergeant as a matter of fact. And he was Wehrmacht. He was uh, I believe that the people that uh, they uh, had for, for those kind of duties uh, they had to be basically sadistic. They must have uh, picked 'em uh, very carefully, because they seemed to enjoy what they were doing. They would go out of their way to, to inflict cruelties on people. But just walking by. And... Uh, basically I would say that the uh, most of the people around us were SS. Once in awhile we would see some Wehrmacht, but most of the people were SS.

Did you see any difference in the way that they treated you?

[pause] Um, I don't think any of them were very pleasant, but, uh... Probably not.

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