Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan, Bernard, and Samuel Offen - September 3, 1987


SO: ??? okay.

BO: That uh, thats the only other thing. Otherwise, I,--it is a big blur, that particular train ride for me. Other than being there for a...

SO: Sure.

BO: ...long, long time and uh, and that father got, got me to the side of the railroad car and there was truly, there was some air there that I could uh, breath so it was like he was looking after me. But uh, at Mauthausen we were separated so, uh...

SO: Eventually after a few days, we were separated. After a few days.

BO: Yes, right. So father and I was shipped to Auschwitz and uh, of course...

SO: Yeah.

BO: In Auschwitz uh, he went uh, in--we went to the selection line. It was another train ride like, like the one Nat was describing to Auschwitz. It was a few days again.

Was it different? Do you have different memories of it? Do they run together?

BO: Uh, I dont remember much about the cattle car itself other than uh, uh, it was uh, usually there was a lot of bodies around and usually the stench. And my father was protecting me always, somehow.

When you got to Auschwitz, what do you recall when the doors opened?

BO: Well, I remember that uh, when we were pulling in there, there was a weird sounds that we heard and weird smells that we uh, that I, I smelled. And uh, there were fires on the horizon. Enormous fires, enormous amount of smoke. And we didnt know, of course, where we were. No idea. Uh, and uh, all of a sudden we uh, the train stopped and we started hearing voices and dogs barking and, and uh, train opened up and some people ran, ran in. They were wearing uniforms. They were the striped uniforms. They were prisoners. And they were, they were shouting and uh, uh, the Germans were uh, beating on us, to get out of there and fast. It was like an enormous amount of fear and confusion. We got out of the car fast. And they started to line us up. It was about uh, lets see, it was about five wide people, about five wide. It was kind of a group first and then gradually we're--they were pushing us forward and they told us to line up in fives, you know. And I was with my father and then the line got narrower. And as it got narrower, I remember that a prisoner came to me and he said very quickly to me, he said, "Lie about your age." Lie about my age. So it was then uh, that I think I started getting confused about my true age. So I lied about my age and uh, he says "Appear to be taller," you know. He said to stand up tall. And uh, then we got down to a line of two. And then, then we got down to a line of one. Still didnt, and I kind of could see the line ahead, you know. There were prisoners and Germans on all sides and dogs. And uh, I was behind my father. And then uh, he walked uh, and then there was this German dressed up in uniform and he just pointed his finger for him to go that way.

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