Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Roth - February 4, 1983

Arrival at Birkenau

When the doors opened what do you remember...

It was very, it was very, very uh, very hazy, very hazy, I don't even remember the moment I separated from my sister. Once the doors opened, it was just, "raus, raus, raus," and hitting and chasing and everything and I, I, I can't remember any particular, except being in a mass and, and not knowing what I am doing, where I am going, all of a sudden I'm in a column. I can't tell you that I remember Mengele showing me this way or somebody else, I don't remember that, that thing. You see. I don't remember that. I remember, I remember winding up in a barrack, getting clothes--I remember going through the clothes line and getting the striped clothes and getting rid of everything. I remember that. I kept my shoes, they let me keep my shoes for a while. I remember that.

Were you shaved?

Yeah. Oh, yeah, shaved and splashed underneath here and splashed underneath here you know to delousing and stuff like that. I remember that.

Were you tattooed?

I remember the tattooing. It was the next day. Yeah.

What did you think was happening to you?

I didn't know. This is, this is from then on it, it was--that very same night, that very same night, we were, we were put in a column and marched to Birkenau from Auschwitz and the only thing I remember from that march is that it was a, a freezing drizzle and my clothes froze on me and all I had was this, the striped thing, nothing underneath and I could hardly move my pants because the things froze. And I was so cold that I didn't think that I will survive that march. I was so cold I didn't care what was going to happen to me. I don't remember how I thawed out, we were put into a barrack and after we were put into those barracks, they had all those, we slept eight to a tier. You know, three tiers, ten, eight or ten people. But I was so cold that night, I was frozen. I couldn't move my legs, because the pants--the rain froze on me, that I remember very distinctly. But I don't remember thinking "Why me?" I don't remember that. Later on, perhaps. I was just trying to--I guess to take one step at a time to see if I was going to make it to the next one.

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