Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Forced Labor at Budzyn

Now it's working. Talk about Majdanek.

In Majdanek I was only three days. Well we were quarantined and uh, then we heard rumors that they're sending to a, to a forced labor camps--people. Well, I wanted to get out of Majdanek, because I figured Majdanek is a death camp. At nighttime we--I smuggled myself out from that quar...quarantine to the, to the big camp where they were selecting people for work. And that's how I was selected and I was sent to Budzyn. You heard about--did you hear about Budzyn?

In my readings just a little bit. Can you tell us more about it?

Yeah, because it's one of the worst. One of the worst camp I ever been in. It was a, it was--in the beginning it was a forced labor camp, then they changed it to a concentration camp. They were hanging people, shooting people. Every day, every day we have to work we had to take say kaddish. Every night was ten people missing, twelve people missing. Every night it was going on and on and on 'til the groups got smaller and smaller and smaller. Then they ship other people, from other, from other, from other cities a...again to fill up the, the barracks. This was the ter...it was the worst, the worst time I spent there was a year and two months in that Budzyn. It was about sixty miles from Lublin.

How did you survive? How did you not get picked?

I don't know, some...somehow I, somehow I survived, I don't know how. I was weighing already, hm, maybe seventy-five pounds.

How much did you weigh before you left for Treblinka?

Mm, I was weighing about a hundred and, a hundred and forty pounds.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn