Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Praw - May 22, 1983

Transport to Auschwitz

I see. What type of work were you doing, was that at the ammunitions factory?

In Germany, yeah. I did work in ammunition factory, and I don't know, I was a little bit lucky too. I uh, I used to go into the, they had like you wash the clothes, a laundry, for the people to wash the clothes. Over there to go in for a job, you had to give uh, the German diamonds or whatever to get the job there. And as I told you, I was so poor, I never knew what a diamond is, or a ring, or things, we didn't have things like that. I just went in there and helped them when I had time. I liked to wash, and meanwhile I washed my own clothes and Manya's, my friend Manya's or her family's clothes. And the man, the, the, the boss, he said to me, I'm going to try to get you and then you don't have to go to work in the factory. So Manya's sister said ??? he can never get you in because they need money or diamonds or whatever. It didn't take too long and he got me in legally, because I work very well, you know. When I start work legally there I have a little bit more food than the next one but I share again, with Manya's whole family because Manya had a father in camp too, and a sister, and a brother, and I didn't have anybody. And then, uh, came the night like I mentioned to you, we were shipped to Auschwitz.

What were the conditions of this uh, transport?

Uh, the conditions. We went in the, you know, the same uh, wagons like our parents went to there, and then we thought we were going to there too. But after being in, in Starachowice a time and seeing what's going on, we got uh, we knew that we are going to die sooner or later, and we got a little bit more used to the idea of it, and we just didn't take it so--and sometimes we thought it's going to be even better, because it was too much uh, suffering, you know, we didn't know the suffering didn't stop yet, it get worse yet. But uh, like I said sometimes my friends, what they, they were not in the camp, that um, I, I, I didn't, I didn't have--once I cry, I tell you what happened in Auschwitz, I want to die, really and I try, but uh, God wants me to live. This just came--coming now, you know.

How long did it take you to get to Auschwitz?

I don't remember. I don't. I just remember, and this was where I mixed up the date, no, I don't remember.

Do you remember what the conditions were like on the transport?

Uh, it was like you take uh, like I mentioned to you, animals, you know. No where to sit on the floor, and you know.

Were people dying?

No, no. Not in, not in the transport, no.

Did you have anything to eat?

When we went in, in the truck, they give us a piece of bread. I don't remember how long it took us to go there, but, uh, it's been so many years and uh, like I mentioned before um, since I'm out from concentration camp, I forgot so many things that my friend, what she's here, what she told me about, she doesn't believe it, because she does remember. I never question her. The reason I didn't question her where she been, because somebody told me that a Pole, a Pole had uh, saved her, but this isn't true, I don't think so, because once I mentioned something and she said no. So I really don't know where she been, or what camp she was in, but she wasn't in Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen.

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