Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


Well stop it right here. Im sorry. We're out of tape. [barely audible]

[interruption in interview]

Let's continue. [barely audible]

BO: My father and I lined up and we were walking towards this uh, this German--this Nazi dressed in his real sharp uniform and he just simply waved my father as from my view point, looking that way, he waved him to his right, and he told me to go to the left. So uh, I had no idea what that meant. All I know is that he went, he went one way and I went the other way. And it was uh, within minutes that we were probably 50 feet apart and separated. Theres guards in between and all that. We kind of looked at each other, my father and I. Somehow we knew, somehow we just knew that we would never see each other again. There was a kind of an inner sense that after all the troubles weve gone through that this was it. And as it happens--so he ended up in the gas chamber with approximately 1,500 to 2,000 other people and Im here to, to tell the story. And uh, when I went visiting back to Poland in 1981, I went to Auschwitz again. I went to the very same place where the selection happened. Uh, it was just like uh, it, it was then I feel that I really said goodbye to my father, you know. Up to that point in time I was still uh, you know, I could see him, but I never did say goodbye 'til, 'til that point in time.

Let me take you back just for a second and ask Sam. Probably all three of you remember--do you remember the commandant of Płaszów?

NO: No.


SO: Goeth. Yeah, sure. How could you forget.

What do you remember about Goeth? Did you have any personal encounter...

SO: I, unfortunately, had a personal encounter with him. Of course, we saw him every day. He was, he was one of the most vicious SS men that we had. Although they were all very vicious, but he particular--oh, his ploy was--I mean, he practically had to kill somebody every day. And uh, his favorite spot was right in front of the um, disinfection uh, building. Uh, because always some people had to work around there to tidy up, to work on some bodies, to, to, to fix the road, and he would always manage to kill. His ploy was that he would come out of his villa down in camp. Walk up toward this place--or any other place for that matter, but this was apparently one of his favorite places--and he would just first person that he encountered, he would sic--he had two vicious German Shepherd dogs--he would just sic them on the, on the prisoner. And, of course, the prisoners, you know, the dogs would start tearing them apart--tearing the prisoner apart and he would just fall down and inevitably he would take out this gun and just shoot them. Shoot the prisoner.

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