Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Conditions in Camp

What was the sanitation like?

Sanitation were terrible. We were sleeping fourteen men in one--on one, one uh, bunk bed. It was a big bunk bed. It was like, like--I don't know how to describe it--big barracks and, and there were bunk beds--three levels. And in each one were fourteen men. We couldn't undress. We couldn't--inside was so cold we, we had to sleep in, in the, in the, in the--whatever we wore, whatever we worked with. The shoes--if you took off the shoes they'd be stolen. Nobody would risk to take off the shoes. This was the only way to sleep.

What were the, uh, lavatories--were there any kind of lavatories of any sort?

Oh there were, yeah but uh, like outhouses.


Yeah, it was outside the camp--the barracks.

Did the, um, Germans who ran the camp, did they ever come into the barracks where you were?

No, not necessarily There was uh, um, there was a German who was the head of us in there, I mean, like the supervisor. He was a German, he was a German, also a German pri...he was a, a prisoner, I think, a political prisoner.


Well, he was actually a murderer. He killed his, his--he killed his wife, I think, or someone, I don't remember. He killed somebody with an axe and he got, he got, he was sentenced to fifteen years of, of--or more at the prison. So they sent him to concentration camp and he was our, our leader--our supervisor. He lived naturally in a nice uh, furnished room next to the barracks. He came in sometimes to see what--but he didn't bother us. Only if you need something--somebody he needed--he was, he was a homosexual. He needed a little boy or somebody--he took him into his room and that's it.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn