Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982


How about it Buchenwald? You made a statement that in Buchenwald when you got there you realized that you were in a real concentration camp.

Yeah, because until then we were in ghettos and labor camps. It is no comparison, a concentration camp and those labor camps.

How was it different? Can you describe that?

Dogs all over. The barbed wires, electric...electrocuted wires, crematorium, you know, things like that.

You knew there were crematoriums there.

Yeah, in Buchenwald, as soon as you came in, you got the crematorium right in front of you, that was the first welcome.

You saw it.


You knew what it was.

Yeah, they told us what it was.



Well, how else was it different besides the physical environment?

The uniforms. Because all the time we were in those Polish labor camps we got clothes what we collected in the ghettoes. And...


...and they didn't have no room for the people, they squeezed in, in a barracks for a hundred people, they squeezed in five hundred.

How did you sleep?

It was, nothing. We just layed down or sit down, whatever you can. It was, it was 'til the end it was chaotic. It was not normal anymore.

Well did you have separate beds...


...in the other, in the other camps that you went?

...no, we used to three, four. We had one platform that everybody laid down and took his, whatever he took.

In, in the factories that you worked...

Yeah, the same thing.

...in before.

Before, yeah.

...and then when you got to Buchenwald it was even worse?

Even worse, yeah. So we stayed there in this place 'til April the 1st.

Nineteen forty-five.

Nineteen forty...meantime, the situation got very tied up. Every day the pla...the, the area around was bombed. They couldn't bomb, bomb the mountains but they could bomb the railroad tracks.

So you--there was no movement back and forth.

No, just stop the movement so they couldn't bring in no food whatsoever. Probably the factory wouldn't get nothing to eat for days. And the daytime come, the American throw the bombs. We could see them flying over. They didn't bomb the camp because they saw it was a camp. The camp was in a valley. From all three sides was mountains. The camp was squeezed in, a big camp, between fifty, sixty thousand people. And at nighttime came the British with the bombs. So around April the 5th, we, we already could hear....

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