Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Saul Raimi - July 7, 1982

Conditions in Auschwitz II

??? the first night we got assigned to our bunks and they told us right in the beginning that in the mornings those bunks have to be made. That all the pillows have to be one line straight and they drew a line from one end to the other one on the third bunk on the middle bed and another one and there has to be one line. And the uh, bunk it has to be tucked in a certain way. Now, if you didn't do that, you come back from work, you came back from work the next day...


...well you could face death for that because they beat you up so badly or you were punished so badly that uh, if you had to go the hospital or uh, or you didn't get any medical uh, attention, you actually died from those beatings. And uh, in the morning, I remember the first day I got up, my new shoes. They were not shoes actually, they were wooden shoes, but they were new enough. The experienced one, prisoners who were already there stole because in this camp what's going on is trade. You had a little better shoes, what you got a piece of bread for that and you get, you sold uh, because a shoes you could make--might get maybe ??? a new pair of wood shoes. They were ??? but in meantime you had to go with something, to wear something, so it was a kind of a plus market, you know. So, you were inexperienced and they told us that when you sleep here, your shoes have to be in a certain place even leave both of them together, one shoe will stick out more than the other one and if you did exactly that...


...making it very easy for those experienced prisoners from before to come in night and take them away. In the morning, I didn't have any shoes. That was, first of all, you could present with the crime by itself. First of all, you didn't have the shoe, it was stolen, the government property was stolen. It was.


That's right. Secondly, I mean uh, this--you had to go out and appeal on, uh--what do you call it?--uh, uh, you know where they put you out on a, on a field and they covered you, uh... What they call in the army uh, roll call.

Oh yes.

Roll call. Finally I locate that shoe, old ones. Old shoes which actually that seemed discarded someplace and I was happy and lucky enough...


...to find them. At least, I found something because it was so terrible cold.

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