Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - August 13, 1984

Schlieben-Pretending to be Blind

Tell the story.

Well, the story I... When I got to Schlieben, there was an old man who was a foreman, gave me a big sledge hammer, and he says, "I want you to knock off this wall." "Oh my God," I says, "How am I going..." The, the factory that was bombed before by the, the, I don't know who by the Americans or the British, I didn't know that. And I start to knock it, knock it, then I notice that when I was knocking the wall, there was a dust, a red dust uh, I'm creating a red dust, so I took that dust, I said I'm going to gamble. They said that if you go back go Buchenwald, things are not as, as bad over there as they are anyplace else. I took that red dust and I put it in my eyes and I said to him I don't see. So, the old foreman said take him into the uh, infirmary. They took me in there and there was a Hungarian doctor, and he said that, "I will send you back to Buchenwald," and I heard that, it sounded... I didn't know what was going on... I really was, uh... To me at the time, I felt it was good. It, it, it... Somehow, I'll get out of this hell. And my brother came up and he said, I said to him one word in the Romanian language, and I said to him, "Vöd," which means I can see. He said to me, "Good luck, let's hope..." That's all the time he had, I mean, for him to see me. I was sent back to Buchenwald. And when I walked into the infirmary, there was another Jewish doctor and he said to me, "You can open up your eyes, you were lucky." You know, when I say this story, I tell people, I, I don't believe it myself, but this is the truth, this is exactly the way it happened. And I was lucky, I was lucky to, to be in Buchenwald for, for about at least, about two months.

Did your brother stay in Schlieben?


What happened to your brother?

My brother survived. Both my brothers survived. In fact, one of them lives in Israel and the other one lives in uh, in uh, he lives now in New York. He too went to Israel but then he moved to South America and uh, and he moved back here, he moved to New York because his children, his daughter, lives here.

So, at this point you were separated from your brothers?

I was separated from my brothers.

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