Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002

Conditions in Birkenau

Did anyone need a toilet?

Oh, well, just wet your pants I guess, because you couldn't, no place to go.

On the train too.

On the train the same thing. There was no, there was no facilities of any kind.

So the smell on the train must have been.

Oh it was awful. The stench was just terrible, terrible, awful, awful. So we were there all day and uh, sometimes in the afternoon, some of these prisoners again who were kinda guarding us-or were the chiefs or whatever they were-we didn't know. They said, "Everybody out you're going to be counted now, now. The way I describe is not the way it was. They were yelling and screaming at us. The prisoners were yelling at us also. And it was very, very scary. I mean, it was just, you know, constantly screaming at us. Uh, and the tone of the voice was terrible. So we went outside and we were lined up, I think twenty or twenty-five abreast. And we stood there and we stood there in the hot sun. After awhile a German soldier came an SS man and he came and he counted us and we were all there. None of us escaped naturally and we were just there. And that was done, uh. Then we were told, "Now you're going to be fed," so uh, we got in line and we each got a metal bowl and a metal spoon. And they had some uh, kettles there and they started ladling us, everybody got a ladle of soup and they gave us a piece of bread with uh, a little oleo-a little margarine, a little jam. And uh, the soup smelled just terrible. And it wasn't something, it had maybe few dark vegetables, I had no idea, in it. It was kind of a dark brown, I mean. There was no way that I would even taste it. I mean, it was atrocious and the bread was like something made out of sawdust. And I tried to take a bite, but I didn't want it. I should add that we were allowed to go to the-there were a lot of water fountains there so we were allowed to get water. So we drank in a cup a lot of water 'cause as soon as they allowed us-because we were terrible thirsty.

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