Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Arrival at Buchenwald

What happened in the, uh, Buchenwald? What was your daily routine there?

Well, in the beginning when we arrived--I was almost killed in Buchenwald. Because we were all frozen when we, we got out, out from, from the, from the cattle car. They led us to a, to a--to the showers. Naturally there was warmer. And there were barbers who, who cut our hair. It was--everybody was pushing. I was one of them in the front, in the front row. And when the doors opened everybody tried to get in, in, into one. Everybody fell on, on top of, on top of me, and I was on the bottom. I was so weak, I couldn't even, I couldn't even resist. And I thought that this is my end. Now, now I, I, I couldn't breathe anymore. I don't know, somebody helped me. One of, one of the, of the guys who, who knew me and he saw me laying there, he dragged me out and pushed me inside. And otherwise I would be dead and I wouldn't be able to, to, to, to tell you my, my life story. And then, uh, yeah, inside we had a shower--took showers. And stripped--we got new--different clothing. Cut the hair. And then we were, were in uh, how you call it, mm, quarantine for about, for about two months.

Do you know why?

I don't know why, because they kept us in that, in a--there were two, two camps in Buchenwald. One--the larger camp where the political prisoners were, and, and the, and the Jews were shipped to a smaller camp. They took us quarantined there for a long time--about two--almost two months.

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