Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mrs. Roemerfeld - 1982?

The Sonderkommando

Um, the gas chamber in Kanada was used only for fumigation?

Fumigation and once a month for uh, uh...


No uh, once a month for killing uh, at least a hundred and fifty Sonderkommando men.

And you knew who that was. Their--you knew what their jobs were.

Yes, because the next day we had to help to carry out the bodies.

Oh, you carried the bod...Where did you take them?

On the truck.

You put them on a truck.


And you, you knew where they were going. Did you ever witness...

They were dead already.

Did--as they were watching--walking into the gas chamber did you know where they were going?

We never saw them...


...we never saw them coming in. We only saw them uh, when we, we weren't allowed to take the clothes in, clothes to the chamber, to the gas chamber, because that's when the, where the clothes were fumiga...uh, you know, they disinfected that clothes uh, what we are sorted it. Uh, but uh, when this had happened once a month we weren't allowed close to that uh, building because uh, the, we were later on, they opened the door and let the fumes out and we had to go in and carry the bodies out and put them on the truck.

You knew that they were being gassed at that time.


You smelled...

Because I seen the men before coming...


...and picking up the clothes. See the Sonderkommando worked in different ways. They switched them off. Some of them worked in the gas chamber in Birkenau, the big gas chambers with the big chimneys uh, putting the bodies into the oven. And some of them, they rotate them. They sent them in different places. So uh, they uh, came to uh, to Kanada to pick up some clothes either to take them to the trains or wherever, we didn't know. But we recognized the men that were dead and that was every month.

Did you ever try to tell the Sonderkommando that they were going to be um, gassed? Or did they know?

They uh, pretty well were aware. But it was living day by day. It was not thinking of uh, dead, because dead was not a horrible thing in Auschwitz. Dead was the best way out. A lot of kids ran to the gate and they died this way. Uh, I mean to the fence, because it was electric fence. Yes. We could see...

Did you yourself ever feel the desire to...

Uh, escape? Yes, one time. When I was in Budy. Uh, I went into a house which it was uh, bombarded and I was sitting in a corner. I figured, I'm not going back. But uh, uh, a little while after my cousin came looking for me. And she says, "Come out because the Polacks are not going to help you, so where are you going to go? To Krakow? The Polacks are not going to help you." So I went back.

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