Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


What do you remember about Amon Goeth?

NO: About Goeth uh, I remember, as a matter of fact, I worked with Sam on the detail, cleaning up the road and repairing the road. This was in, in Płaszów. And uh, he was just walking by with his dog, two dogs he had, and he had two guns always on both sides, on both sides of the hips, he was carrying two guns always. And uh, this was like uh, like anybody, for him to shoot a person was like a person going duck hunting, going I think he was just shooting anybody that he didnt like, or he said to the dog, "Jude". The dog just jumped at him and just took out pieces of flesh. And then in the end, then he just shot him.

What went through your mind when you saw the dogs attack Sam?

NO: I just froze. I just froze because if, if youd show any sign of, of, of anger or anything, you are dead already. Right away so, its natural self-preservation, so all the animal instinct in us, self-preservation.

When uh, Sam was mentioning that just before liberation, the day of liberation, you were talking about how if you made it through, survived the next few days what you were going to do. Were you happy when the war was over? What did you feel the day you saw the tank roll into Mauthausen?

NO: Well, I would like to say, but I would like to say something before I come to, to this liberation. Uh, Sam and I, we were worked in Mauthausen-Gusen I. It was a quarry, a granite quarry. And we worked every day. We were getting up very early in the morning. They were checking us out. We were on a Appellplatz and we had to, we wore those wooden shoes and we had to march to the quarry from, from the barracks. And you could smell, I mean you didnt have to figure out that you were smelling this flesh from the crematory, this human flesh you were smelling every day. While you were walking by you know you saw the chimneys. I mean, we knew that they are burning people down there because just the human flesh, but you just didnt care anything. You had enough already of everything. I dont know. Sometimes you didnt want to live and sometimes, some days you wanted to live. And uh, it was cold in winter and sometimes we had to stand naked in the middle of the night. They called us up on the Appellplatz, Appellplatz, thats like the meeting place and we were standing and some of, some of them froze and fell down dead and they carried them to the washroom where all the dead people were laying. And uh, then uh, Sam and I were just fortunately because Sam was always managing, he was able to sew, and he was sewing sometimes he made something, fix pants or something for some German prisoners. There were German prisoners with us, but living in separate barracks and they had different ID, a card, ID marking on the, on the, on the uniform. We wore striped uniforms. And there were Communists, there were all kinds of homosexuals, they were all in prison with us, but they had easy jobs because they were Germans.

BO: There were criminals there too.

NO: Oh, criminals too.

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