Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Saul Raimi - July 7, 1982

Collecting the Dead

Are there any other uh, experiences that stand out in your mind that--from Auschwitz or, or Buna?

Yeah, I can remember in Auschwitz before I was uh, sent to Buna. I was assigned--no, in Buchenwald especially--I was assigned to a commando, a commando for about two weeks collecting dead people who died in the camp. We had a tall wagon and about ten prisoners would pull it. Instead of horses, we were pulling it.


We never ran short of material. There were always dead littered around day in. You worked eight hours a day and there always dead to collect.

And what did you...

I remember also in Auschwitz a lot of time--quite a few hanging together hanging. Hanging five and ten and twelve people. And I also remember a few who escaped were brought back, shot, and their bodies were left uh, put up by the gate or they were hanged by the gate and we had to march by and, and when we went down to work, coming back to work, they were laying only for two or three days to see what happened if you tried to escape.

And the, the hangings everyone assembled out in the...

Everyone assembled. It was like a roll call, like a roll call was going on.


They were--they hanged them, so ??? There were days sometimes when somebody escaped, you had to stay there for about twenty-four hours 'til either they brought 'em back or they uh, told us to go back to the barracks. You could freeze to death over there and you had to stand there.

Were there any...

And flogging, that was a common thing.


That was the--they had a special uh, table where the, the uh, uh, the feet were targeted that you couldn't move. That was also a public uh, like, like, like you read stories from the Middle Ages. The whole way. They call it the Appell, the Appell, the roll call. Would have you stay 'til they called the twenty-five or fifty. Either you did something wrong or you stole or you misbehaved at work. That was a common thing every day. Common occurrence. It's hard to remember after so many years.

Yes, I know.

Because I know that every day--there wasn't a day or there wasn't an hour where some--where something wasn't going on. Nothing happy, always involving trading, beating, dying and you got so hardened that dying or seeing death occur, dead people, didn't, didn't make any imp... any bad impression on you because you live with it actually. You live with it.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn