Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - May 11, 1982

Abuse by Guards in Camp

They always looked for means and means and means to make it more miserable. You know something else? They were not happy anymore by just killing you. That was too easy. They were more interested, I mean, for to try to, to, to, to cause you some more agony, pain...that's what they used to get a pleasure out of it, these guys. How a people can do that...are...supposedly a people who are supposed to be intelligent, scientifically minded...yes they use their scientists, and their scientific mind to try to invent more and more and harsher and harsher ways and means to punish people. What kind of a people are these? I suppose I could only categorize them as, as horrible, vile animals. That's all they are! And if I say that once in a while when I heard about a German dropping dead, don't blame me, I'm, I'm just happy. Because they were happy to see people dying left and right and they were just smiling and laughing and joking. That's exactly what these bastards did.

Do you remember any specific SS guards?

Yes, I remember specific SS guards. I remember one time, I mean there was one SS woman got a hold of me and she beat me left and right, that blond bitch. I hope she is dead, I hope she rots! Not only me, everybody. She just picked on somebody different. She thought that she is the queen. She is the boss. She was in charge of the barracks. Can you imagine that?

Where was that?

In Schlieben. Oh, she got a hold of me one day and it was cold. It was so cold. And I remember that whip...that blond bitch...she just beat me for no reason whatsoever. I couldn't get into line, I mean in...and, and get, get somebody else out of there because it was just impossible because the other guy wouldn't uh, wouldn't let me get in there while we were marching home from work. And uh, she didn't stop. I was so bruised up and I was such in pain and there was nothing anybody can do. You can't go into the infirmary...you don't want to go into the infirmary. But that was uh, that was in Schlieben. Well, in Schlieben I worked on the Panzerfaust. And uh, I worked in the Gießerei. My job was, afterwards, was this: that I'd used to pour the sulphur, whatever it was, a yellow uh, type of stuff. I used to pour it into the missiles. And uh, they uh, they used to have some sort of a basket. It was 18 of those bask...18 were lined up in that basket and then we were had to line...we had to take it right after the guy who poured it in...we had to take it out towards the other part of the uh, factory so that they could count it. And then they'd pick out one at, at random and they'd test it to see whether we have done some sabotage or not. And uh, we did sabotage a little bit, but uh, I must say that we were lucky. What we did, it was sand in there, and we use to pour in sand a little bit in those missiles. And we just only hoped and we prayed that whoever the first guy was that fires that missile blows right into his face. I hope, I hope it happened. I'm sure it did happen. But lucky...we were lucky that it did not uh, back, fire back on us. Something like that.

You were always guarded by SS?

Oh God, were we guarded by SS. Day and night. Day and night.

Were there....


Were there Wehrmacht guards too?

There was once. One time we had an old man, a Wehrmacht guard. My God, he finally...I don't even know he deserves to be telling that he, he was a good guy. He said to, he said to one guy...he finally made the remark...it was towards the end...he says, "I cannot punish you anymore because I just got a post card from Florida," and he said, "my, my son...fett wie ein Schwein und schwarze wie ein Neger." He said, "I'm black like a, like a black guy and I am fat like a pig." He was in Florida and he was captured by the Americans and he was still in Florida there. Can you imagine? Here is a German who is lucky to be there in Florida and here I am in Schlieben, in a concentration camp and his father tells us about that, about that uh, about the good time his son is having in, in America. But you couldn't do anything about it. It's just hoping and praying that one of these days you'll uh, get out and thank God I did get out.

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