Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002

Sent to Buchenwald

it saved your life?

Well, I don't know if it mattered or not because you see I already went through the Selektion and I guess he was, he didn't know what was going to happen to me in the Selektion in Auschwitz. I was, I was six feet tall. I was a big kid. I didn't look fourteen, I looked older. Uh, but it certainly helped, I guess. Uh, so we were put on another train and we were, we were sent to Buchenwald. And when we went to Buchenwald uh, we were taken into the camp and the first thing happened to us was that we were registered. In other words, we were taken into the offices which the camp had which was all run by prisoners. I should say that Buchenwald was opened in 1934, and initially it was a camp where uh, the Nazis whom they considered their opponents, communists, socialists, democrats, Catholics uh, whom they-people they considered anti...uh, uh, anti-social such as homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses and uh, it was run by the greens who were the uh, criminal element who were also in there. But by the time I got there in 1944, they had every nationality you could possibly think of because by now uh, they picked up people from uh, all over Europe and, uh. They had Poles and Czechs and French and Danes and Norwegians and Dutch and Bel.you name it. And uh, by now the camp was run by local prisoners. Mostly German communists who kept very close, they were very tough. But look, they survived ten years, they had to be tough. Uh, and they ran it, the whole camp. So really uh, the Germans gave all the orders and they counted you everyday and they made all the decisions. But it's the prisoner leadership that decided who's assigned where and does what. So anyhow I went in there and they took me in there and they took down all the information. Like I said I was born in 1927 and uh, they gave me a number. And my number was 55667 and it, it was sewn, they sewed it onto my jacket, because I wasn't allowed to have a needle. And from that point, I never had a name again. My name was Häftling, which meant prisoner, 55667 and that's the only, only way I was ever talked, talked to by anybody. Häftling 55667. And we were taken from there. Buchenwald had permanent barracks and had lots of factories around here where they had all these prisoners worked. But we were not taken there. We were taken to a-what they called a little camp. There was a regular camp and a little camp. The little camp was like a staging area. It was nothing but tents and everything was, everything else, including the latrines, were all out in the open. And we had some pipes for faucets for water and that was it. And it was just tents and we were just packed into these tents. They were kind-I think they just had a roof on it, the tents were open on that side. And they put people in there who, who got to the camp and were assigned to be shipped out. Uh, Buchenwald had about sixty sub-camps, which were camps where they sent people to work. To the slave labor.

Slave labor.

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