Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Roth - February 4, 1983

Polish Workers in Jaworzno

Did any of those Polish workers ever give you any food, ever help?

I didn't have any experience of a Polish worker giving me food, but I do remember the area where they had their lunch and uh, they did leave rather generous, if you want to call them, potato peelings from boiled potatoes. They left over the grass and I remember going through, yes I remember going through that area many times and looking for some potato peels and there were sometimes real good hunks of potatoes left over there you made a ball out of that, you know. The most delicious thing I can remember eating in years at that time. So sometimes the bread rinds, you know the cr...the cr...the cr...the edges of the bread. I could never understand why anybody would not eat the edges of the bread, but maybe they left it on purpose. Maybe not, I don't know.

Were potatoes a, something that people were after all the time?

Oh yes, yes. I remember. I remember as a result of the trading that started with a pair of underwear, one time, I was coming back and I had tied, oh at that time I already had my own second pair of long underwear and I put some potatoes and carrots, onions in both legs. Apparently, put too much in, because it was straining and as we were coming in, as they were counting, the SS men looked us over and probably noticed some bulge and uh, went down like this and pulled me on his side, made me open it up and he was beating me all the time while I was opening up and taking that stuff out. And I spend that one night, I was, I was in great pain, didn't take me away or anything, but they just beat me for maybe--I don't know for how long, but I was, I think somebody helped me to get back to the barracks over there, but it was a whole, a whole uh, bundle of potatoes and things laying there that I was going to parlay again into some other stuff so I could get some more bread and things like that. In fact, there is a guy over here name of Schlanger who was with me who remembers that episode. I was surprised as heck when I talked to him. He says, "Uh, remember the potatoes when they got them out of your pants?"

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