Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Harry Praw - June 30, 1982

Working in Dora

So they assigned me to a metal bench, something I have never seen in my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had never seen a machine shop, period, let alone a metal bench. I didn't even know what it was. And they told me to stay and look what the guy was doing. It was a Russian prisoner that was uh, worked there--prisoner--the guy at the machine was a Russian, a Russian prisoner. Well, the next day I came back to the next night shift, the Russian guy was gone. You couldn't ask no questions where he is or what happened. They just told me, "This is what you have to do." And that was the second night, I was standing there just twenty-four hours before to see what the guy was doing night before, you had to produce the same thing. And that was an unfortunate place. There was a guy with a machine gun and uh, behind everybody's back there.


There was always a guy--you didn't know what to do but you couldn't ask for what you're supposed to do. You just figured just because you're--you couldn't even turn around look at the guy because he just as soon shoot you. If you told him you didn't know, you were gone. So, I was fortunate, not that I wasn't the only one because most of us did it within--naturally within twenty-four hours which this is I think is unbelievable for anybody even to comprehend that, that in such circumstances. Within twenty-four hours you became a mechanic.


You became a mechanic because they can walk down with the tool so whatever you produced it had to fit, it had to fit to the ???. It had to fit otherwise, that was, that was either you do or you die. And this was in--this was a place that every time either we walked or we went--when we got through working, if it was nightshift in the morning, you know, people always ha...they always found the ga...they always had gallows there. One morning we had uh, we had--it must have been about twenty or thirty people that they hung during the night. And that was a daily routine, day in and day out. That was something that if you didn't see it, you didn't--you thought something was wrong.

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