Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Opatowski - November 2, 1981

Deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau

How were you taken, originally when they took you from your home, what, what did they say? You're going to a labor camp or you're going...

Of course uh, they started. They, they had their plan uh, you know uh, gradually that they would uh, take to work. Uh, they started with the...To take to work in the morning and uh, send home in the evening. Little by little they worked out their plan 'til they, they start to make the ghettoes uh, make up from the city, took out from the city. Uh, let's say uh, from the Jews that were spread all over town and they, they put 'em together in three or four streets and they made a ghetto. And then from the ghetto the...It start to pile up. There was no place where to live, where, where to breathe. And uh, they uh, 'til it got the moment they say...They send, they have to send away uh, to the east, to someplace to Jewish population to work there. The first time we believed as much as we had uh, you know, we, we, we heard from, from uh, one person to the other it got words that they're not sending to, to east, the Jewish people there but they're finishing them in certain places. But we couldn't believe it. And by uh, doing those uh, things, by sending away, they usually used to, to leave some uh, people with uh, uh, professions or some knowledge, especially younger peoples, healthy, strong, they used to, to let them stay at the place. They were work uh, in, in the same town. The other they shipped away. But they shipping uh, they finished them off there. We started to find out, I mean, more official as someone in our, in our town was uh, was uh, two runned away. They had a, they, they, they had some, some way of doing it the, the...They runned away from this place there where they, where they sent the...them, the people to, to, they said they sent there to work. In the meantime they, they came to, to the, to the destination, they would find out, they said it's not to work but uh, to uh, finish them up. And uh, two young people from our town had a chance to run away from there and they saw what's going on and they came back to us and they told us. Of course, we had those witnesses. We couldn't believe it. They told us what's going on there, but we couldn't believe it. 'Til uh, it got the moment that we believed it. And the moment we by ourselves faced it. So I, I was uh, in my hometown 'til they said, 'til they uh, they liquidate our city completely. Labor camp there and they sent uh, me to Auschwitz. And I was one of those set to go...came to Auschwitz.

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