Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Harry Praw - June 30, 1982

Life Under the Jewish Police

And uh, it was already rough. Of course, there was uh, there was always Jewish police. And the camp comman...what they called the camp commander was always a Jew and a lot of times the Jews were a lot worse than the Germans. If they could, you'll excuse me, knock the hell out of you, that's what they did. And they always found a way to do it when the Germans showed up.

Why do you think they did that? To save themselves?

Who knows. Sometimes I even say to myself maybe in a way you don't blame them. That was time when everybody was looking out for himself. Everybody try to save themselves. A lot of times I even say I don't blame them. And the funny part, the strongest--or the weakest rather, outlasted the stronger ones, the healthier ones.

Why do you think that was?

I don't know. The weaker ones always survived the stronger or the healthier ones, for some reason or another. And I--because even today, we meet friends, we get together. We always talk about the same thing, "This guy did this type of work and that type of work in the old country and somehow he couldn't survive the camp two days."

Do you think it had anything to do with attitude?

Or some--no, no. The people that--it wasn't attitude. People were actually--going back to Łódź--they were rough, like you say, rough and tough. Rough. They could--they would kill you just by looking at you. When they got into camp they would died like flies. And overnight when you got out of the barracks, all you saw was bodies li...piled up one on top of the other. They were dumped out of the windows, out of the doors. They burned--they didn't take them away to burn they just dumped them outside the window. They picked up the dead during the night and just threw them out and then they burned them.


And they always found the guy--when the German guy got drunk, the first thing they did Jew was his best friend. If he could clobber you over the head, that was his biggest pleasure. And to them, to take out their gun was meant I--like maybe to, to you to smoke a cigar or a cigarette. It was easier for them to shoot somebody...

It was very casual.

...then, then to say something.

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