Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Edith Roth - March 28, 1982

Arrival at Auschwitz

You all stayed close together in the car?

Yeah, we were all close together in the car and um, when, when we arrived to Auschwitz the-and they opened finally the door, I still, we still, I still didn't realize where we were, not going to believe this. Three months later I found out where we were, but 'til then I didn't. When they opened the car...

What's the first thing you remember, you remember...?

People. Mengele was standing there.

Was that the first thing you saw?

A couple SS was standing there and barracks all over the place and they took us down from the train and father remained the last on the train.

Who took you out?

We just went out.

Was there SS men, were there other prisoners there?

We didn't see anybody, just what came off from the trains, one train after the other.

Was this the daytime? Morning?

Daytime, yeah, daytime, in the morning. And uh, my uh, father stayed and he uh, after everybody was down, he, he was going to take the food down and the stuff, okay, everything, the belongings and uh, the SS told him to come down and my father says, "oh, what are my children going to eat," and they pulled him down and they beat him on his back and that's, that's what I will never forget as long as I live among-I don't know why that always, that remains on my mind because I never, never forget my father's face.

What happened next?

Because I, I don't know, everything else that happened, I don't know why I remember this the most because he, he was, he was gonna just kill if he, if he had, if he could have had, 'cause I cried over this for three months, and I couldn't get it out of my mind and everything was left on the train, okay. And then, they uh, separated us. Father went on one side.

Men and women they separated?

Men, women and young people. We were all under twenty years of age. Um, my mother went with the two little ones, which I didn't know was the gas chamber, okay. Um, I wanted to go with my mother so badly, but my sister somehow, somehow was pushed on the other side, okay. And my father went on another side. It was too confusing, too many people standing together.

What else do you remember there? What kinds of noises?

Noises and screaming and crying for each other. Everybody was screaming and crying for each other. But they left the women with the children together and then they took us to a place in a barrack where they shaved us [pause] everywhere and uh, with a dog, the SS, the men, they made us stand up on a chair.

Without any clothes, you mean?

Naked, and shaved us everywhere you can think of, and gave us a rag, no underwear, no nothing and we were bald headed, all the girls, everybody. And uh, uh, they gave us a dress, a shmatte that looked like, had, every one of those had a different sleeve, so they can, with a star on it, so, so you can be distinguished, so they can tell who you are.

Shoes? Any shoes?

There was no shoes, I remember, there was no underwear, it was horrible. [pause] They did this with, with, with, they did this with a lot of girls together, everybody saw everybody else and men did it. And then they lined us up outside and uh, I remember standing there, we hardly could recognize each other, but I remember standing there and I saw my father in a, in that stripe uniform and, from a distance, and I was screaming for him and hollering and he didn't, I don't know, he didn't, either he didn't recognize us or, he just didn't...

He didn't respond?

He didn't respond.

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