Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Moving from Pionki to Sachsenhausen

How large do you think the camp was? You said only 300, 400 people.


But you said there it only took 300...

There were 1800, between 1800, 2000 Jews only working in that camp--in that Pionki. From them, they took to work. After they close the factory already, they took every day 300, 400 to work eh, to dismantle the factory and send it off to Germany.

So it was a large camp?

It was a very large camp, very large camp. And eh, they--every day they went. One--of course, those that went to work got better conditions, got a bit more food, and those that didn't work--stayed behind didn't have--there were deprivations???. One day, I slipped in with the 300 who were going to work that morning, and I went with them and worked in that thing over there. When we came back, all the rest that were in the camp were evacuated on a train. The train wagons were already waiting outside, we knew, but we didn't know when. On that day, all of the 1500 or 1600 that were in the camp were evacuated to eh, Auschwitz, to Auschwitz. And we, the 300, were left behind there another two or three weeks, until we finish the dismantling. And us, we were supposed to go to Germany, to the place where they establish the same factory and work there. So we were taken from Pionki one day, to, to Sachsenhausen. On the way, eh, they stopped us to uh, to dig trenches, because the Russians were moving very quickly...

You were taken on the train?


You were taken on the train?

Yes, on the train. And they stopped us in eh, near Czestochowa if I remember right, and we for three or four days we were digging eh, trenches, and then again on the train, into Sachsenhausen.

What was the train like?

Wagons open, wagons open. Some of them eh, yeah, I think they were open. And into Sachsen...eh, to the state--the town of Oranienburg, which is next to Sachsenhausen and from there they marched us into the camp. And we were in Sachsenhausen about a month eh, the few of us that were left of the 300 was also my--no, no, sorry. We were in the camp for about--in Sachsenhausen for about a month or five weeks and eh, while we were there they brought another thirty or forty Jews that didn't join us eh, with the 300. They were hiding in the camps. They didn't want to--they didn't know what and they were caught and they were--to us they were brought especially. And in eh, amongst them was my cousin Aharon. And after about a month, or five weeks, we were taken to the eh, place called ??? where the factory was being established. And eh, there again we started working there. I was the youngest, amongst those men there. I was about twelve, twelve-and-a-half, and eh, I was given jobs like to clean the, the camp, or the barracks where we were eh, to help in the kitchen, to clean the eh, German guards' barrack eh, to help with--there was a, a, a shoemaker that was repairing the wooden shoes that we were wearing, and I also assisted him, but inside the camp. And eh, it was much easier, because many times I went to--I worked in the kitchen, I could always bring back some more food in my pocket, and we would eh, divided it with other people, especially those that were sick and couldn't go to work.

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