Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - May 11, 1982

Arrival in Auschwitz

Let me ask you something.


How many members were in your family at this time?

Well, my father, my mother, my brother who lives now in South America, and my two,...my one brother who lives in, in uh, in Israel, and then I had a kid brother. I'll tell you about my kid brother in, in a minute or so. And also, I was there. But we...

Aunts, uncles, grandparents?

No. These were in other cities. You see, we had no relatives. We had some distant cousins with us, but they were in another box car. But we were all picked up that very same night, everybody. We were there, about 1,200 to 1,500 Jews in that forest in Dej and we were loaded up, they didn't bother, I mean they, they took everybody. I don't believe anybody was left. The only thing that I found out was one woman who just uh, ran away and she was lucky. She survived it. She was the only one which...who survived. And when we got to Auschwitz, after we finally we were down on, on the ground, there on uh, the station or whatever it was, I don't remember exactly, but I only remember this. I remember a, a tall man in a uniform...in an SS uniform, who had his finger pointed towards here, here, and here. And my little kid brother was with me and he was told to come with us. He too was assigned, I mean, with us. He was separated from our mother and dad...from our parents. And then we sat there and listened and in Yiddish I said to him, "Tzali, ??? tsu daddy and mommy." We didn't know he was going to be sent to his death. I can't forget it. It bothers me to this day! If these people had told us...the, the, the prisoners...the Jews who came into the boxcar, if they had told us that what was going on, then we would have had an idea. But not knowing, not knowing, so we send him there, we sent him to his death. So my brother and I feel responsible for that. Then I...I've talked to a lot of people about that and they said to me...the way I describe him, he was about twelve-years-old. He would never have survived it but I always said back, "Well then, he's losing...then I...at least he would have lived another week, two weeks, a month, or six months or a year." Who knows! Nobody can tell that! So I guess I'll have to live with that guilt. But that is something that I, I don't even want to forget it. Because if I'm responsible for it, then I have to take the guilt and I have to be...then I'll be responsible for it.

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