Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Roth - February 4, 1983

Beaten at Jaworzno

Back at uh, Jaworzno now, tell me something about your life after, immediately after you were saved by this engineer. What, what was your condition after this big, terrible beating.

Uh, I recuperated. I recuperated in about a week. Uh, I was never in the hospital.

Was there an infirmary?

Yes, there was an infirmary. The only time I went to the infirmary and it was after that, because they knocked some teeth out and there was--I had very terrible pains and I did go to the infirmary because I couldn't stand it. And they pulled a tooth for me that was half-broken off and they pulled it with a pair of pliers. I remember that, I was--a guy held me like this, another guy came with a pair of pliers and pulled the tooth out. Right out took something. And, in fact, if I remember correctly, used something that looked like a screw driver to peel the meat away to get a grip of it, because it was half-broken off, but there was no anesthetic, it hurt like hell and I was given two aspirins or something like that afterward and uh, and immediately left. That's the only time I was in the infirmary, but I recuperated, uh. And then I started doing little bit of trading inside the camp. There was a--they gave you long underwear, okay? But some people got short underwear, not long ones and there were a lot of tailors over there, so what you did, the long underwear was sellable, but you couldn't sell it because you have to turn something back in. If you don't turn in your underwear, then you're dead. I mean, no ifs ands or buts. When you go once a week into the Entlausung to the delousing uh, uh, process, you have to had them your underwear, you get another. Once a week, we got new underwear. So what I did, I had a tailor cut piece off and fashion a pair of short underwear from the leftovers. So now, I had two sets of underwear, so I turned in the--but that wasn't easy, either. You had to really scrounge and save your bread, because it took two rations of bread for him to do that. So you really had to starve for three or four days practically to get that investment, but once you had that underwear, you were lucky, you turned that in. You got another pair of long underwear. Then that long underwear becomes, becomes the capitol investment, because the next time you keep that long underwear and you turn in your second pair of shorts. And then that long pair of underwear, you could sell for three or four or five slices of bread to a Polish worker, civilian worker. Then again, it was also dangerous, because you had to do it in a very clandestine way, but you could get some bread. So, uh . . .

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