Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


BO: So I hid myself on the construction site and when they came in the morning uh, I talked to someone and they got him to come and he said, "Look, I dont know what you can do, I dont know where you can go." We never--we didnt hear--I didnt hear about any partisans at least at that point and time. So he says, "The only thing I can recommend is that you come to the camp Im in." He says, "Well, things are not good there uh, but they are not executing people en masse, they just shooting people occasionally. And there is some food, not very good, but there is--it is the only thing I know." So, it was like I had to smuggle myself into that camp. So they--we usually marched in columns of five into the camp. They always counted people as they coming in, in case there is anyone missing. So it was like two--I was in the center and like two prisoners were practically holding me up, my feet were not even touching the ground, on the last march to the gate like, so...

SO: So you appeared taller.

BO: Well, so they didnt uh, see me.

SO: That's right.

BO: Yeah, and uh, so once I got in, I was not registered on the camp rolls, you know, to draw rations so my uncle got some food for me. I was--so I was hidden in this barracks uh, uh, in the rafters uh, for uh, it was about three weeks I was hidden up there. And I had to remain totally quiet during the day because the camp emptied out; everybody went out. Only sick people were allowed to be in and usually they got rid of sick people, usually. And while I was in the rafters uh, I had this view out this window and behind the window there was an execution ground and there they were bringing people to be shot there. I had to lay there still for about three weeks. And, and, and witness that. And uh, I dont--then I started uh, going to work and it was soon afterwards that I uh, contracted uh, typhoid fever. My God, I dont know how I--it is that I survived typhoid fever because it usually was fatal because of lack of medication. But somehow my, my Uncle Meyer uh, he got some medication for me.

Where was your father now? [barely audible]

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn