Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Life Under British Army

How were you treated by the Germans--by the British?

The British had experience how to rule over people, you see. That is a big difference between the British and Americans. It, it, it take them just a few hours and they got somehow things organized. First of all they separated the nations. They said the Russians should go there and settle, settle on your own. But everybody got his area where to--the Polacks should go there. And then the Jewish question came up right the first day. Because the Polacks they was very anti-Semitic. They was even anti-Semitic in the camps. The worst thing in a concentration camp for a Polish Jew was to be together with a Polish Polack. He was en...he was his enemy number one. When we were in Dora, like I told you, there was not anymore, we were not separated, we were segregated with all the other inmates of those camps. So we happened to be...

You were integrated. You were all integrated.

Integrate. So we happened to be four Jewish boys and they put us to work with the most of 'em Russians and a few Polacks. And the Polacks they starting to bothering us. The Russians defended us all the time.


All the time, we said, "We were just..." you know, there's an expression, "Polski pan." Polski--it, it--pan is like uh, in English there is no such an expression, you know. Like a big shot or things like that--it's not even that--I, I don't know how to translate it.

A punk, you mean?

A pan, pan, pan, pan is like a form--it's like, to be--to keep himself higher than the other one, you know, something like that. So the Russians they would always used to tell 'em, "No, not here," and they always defended us. So we didn't wanted to go together with the Polacks. But of course by the British a Polish Jew or a Polish Polack or a Russian Jew, they were all the same. That...that's what they wanted right from the first beginning, that we should segregate. The Czechs to the Czechs and, and the, the, and the Russians to the Russians and the Polish with the Polish. So we said we, we wanted--we afraid, they want to beat us up, they want to bother us. I heard that Rosensaft --the same Rosensaft --took over there he got in touch with them, because he knew how to talk English, and he told them that, that the Jews wanted a few houses from themselves. And we got it right in the first day. Now people couldn't eat. There was not food but the British they did the best they could to comfort us. And they opened up a large hospital. They brought over this--there was thousands and thousands of sick women in the real Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which I never was there. About a few miles away in the woods there was a real Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. And that people--and the British they went in there first. That's--that day, when we passed by our camp we were already over there. So I--every--we tried to do the best to comfort ourselves as, as good--the most we could.

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