Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Harry Praw - June 30, 1982

Life in Częstochowa

And then they took us again. They moved, moved us out to a, to a city called Częstochowa. It was--all these camps were in Poland. And uh, that, that city had three different camps. My place--they took us in the steel mill.


The barracks were ordinary barracks. We had uh, a straw sack and if not straw we had rags. We had--you had to make your own--whatever you could to make your bed. To make the best way you knew how to make your bunk. If you found rags, you put rags under, rags under if you had it under your head. Whatever you could find that was your way of sleeping. It was pretty free. There were no German guards. The camp was run by Jews.

Hm. Jews from, from that same area?

No, no. They picked out "You, you, you, and you. You're the, you're--this is your job, this is your job. You're a farmer and you're a this and you're the manager of the camp." And then Jewish police.


When we went to work in the morning it was uh, we worked a day. There was no such thing as working eight hours. There were two shifts, you know, there were two shifts: day shift, night shift, night shift.


We just went like sheep. We got up in the morning, we went to work, we came home, we went to put--lay down on your bunk. You looked if you have what to eat it was good. If not, it was just as good, it didn't make much difference whether they gave it to you or not.

So, you were being fed by the, the Jewish police at this time?

Yeah, everything was Jewish. We didn't see no Germans there. The only Germans that you saw was in the mills--in the steel mills. You saw the supervisor or foreman running back and forth. But uh, if you happened to hit a good Pollack and he felt sorry for you, he brought you a piece of bread when--or sometimes he gave you a little soup. And whatever he had leftover he figured he'll throw it to the dog. And...

Were the Poles the foremen?

No, no, no Poles--also we were working together with the Poles.

Oh, I see.

It was an open camp, we just couldn't go out. I mean, we had no place to go.

Were they prisoners too?


I see.

They were just working--ordinary working people.

Okay but you were the prisoners in that camp.

We were the prisoners.

I see.

We were marched into the factory and marched out of the factory.


So a lot of times the Poles felt sorry so they brought us a little soup or whatever they could sneak in--they weren't allowed to do it. But like they say, if there's a way there's a will or if there's a will there's a way. And we were there 'til the end of 1944 and we still didn't know anything of a Holocaust.

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