Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mrs. Roemerfeld - 1982?

Camp Conditions

Can you tell me something about the living conditions of the camps, of Birkenau and of Budy?

Well, living conditions, we had bunk beds. We slept five in, in a row. It was...

On wood?

On wood. It was five in the lower part and in the upper five. And uh, I remember people uh, uh, actually urinating on top of my head because they couldn't hold it. Because we had to run a half a mile to the restroom. There was no restroom. It was just a hole, you know. So uh, it was uh, the living conditions were horrible. I mean, you step...we stepped down and we stepped down in the mud. It wasn't a floor it was a mu...mud.

Mud in the camp.

In the block, in the...

In the block.

...in the barracks.

Were you allowed to go to the bathroom whenever you wanted to go?

Oh no, oh no. That's why I stated that uh, uh, it wasn't unusual to see people doing it where they were standing. Of course, they were punished for it because we had Jewish girls, mostly uh, Czechoslovakian uh, uh, from Prague, Jewish women and they were quite mean. Uh, I don't mind telling you, their number was only 200, like my 27,000, it was only 200. They were the first ones there so naturally they got the right to beat us and hurt us in any way they could because that's where the word Kapo originated, from the beating. And they were called Kapos. And, of course, their bent was named Kapo.

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