Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - May 11, 1982

Relations with Non-Jews

When you were in any of the camps, from Auschwitz to, to Zeitz to Buchenwald or in the ghetto, either, do you remember any non-Jews giving you any assistance? Did they help?

I would say that none of the Jews was given us any assistance whatsoever. There were no...neither the Hungarian or the Romanians. I mean as far as the uh, as far as the, the uh, time that we were in Dej. We were not given any assistance with them. In fact uh, the uh, some of the people left tried to milk us for everything that we've got. For instance, like they used to come in occasionally and bring in some food into the uh, into the uh, camp, you know in Dej and they were uh, you know, bargaining with us. They wanted this, they wanted uh, you know, good stuff, I mean, to wear, because you didn't have very little money with you and they were uh, trying to get as you know, if you had some, a nice uh, jacket and they wanted the jacket and they probably maybe would have gave you a loaf of bread for that. And they had plenty of bread, those, those, those uh, peasants. And uh, they were not nice to us. Nobody was nice to us.

Were the gypsies in Auschwitz, did they, uh...

The gypsies in Auschwitz where sub-human, they were parasites, they were wild animals. They couldn't stand up and they were worst than the, than the, the, the Germans in some cases. See the Germans turned, turned us over to them. And while we were under their uh, supervision they were just using that clubs and whips, whatever they were able to lie their hands on. They didn't want to touch us because we were uh, not clean enough for them. They just picked up anything...stones...throw at us, anything they could get their hands on, they just, just beat at us. I've never seen such cruel people in my life. And once in a while I see uh, around here and how they were treated. They were not treated as badly as we were treated. If they did kill some of them over there, well, they killed a lot of people. But nobody was treated as the Jews were treated...as badly as the Jews were treated. Everybody was picking on the Jews. Not only were we the scapegoats, I mean, for them...and, and before we got to Auschwitz even when we got to Auschwitz they were picking on, on us Jews. The uh, the only ones who were really nice is some of the people, some of...maybe some German-Jews who have been into Buchenwald. As I remember, there was one particular man over there, ??? Yiddish ???. He says, "Esst was du ???." "Eat whatever you can get your hands on."


A German Jew. That I believe he was, he was really a kind man. I believe his name was Avrum, or something like that, and he was a, he was so kind, he says, "Kinderlekh esst. Live, go out, tell what these bastards have done." That's what he used to encourage us. I stayed once in front of a garbage can and I was able...I was lucky to be there first at the garbage can. And I was digging in it and I found there a piece of cabbage, and I ate it and there walks by a Kapo. I don't know what the hell he was. Was he a German, or was he a Jew, or whoever he was...must have been a German because he spoke German. He says for a dog...for one of the dog, and he says, "Du verdammte Jude, das Hund war das nicht essen." He says, "You cursed Jew." He said, "The dog is not eating that." Well I said to him, "You're treating the dog better than you treat me." So uh, that shows you what, what kind of a life we, we, we lived.

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