Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Getting Punished

Did you hear the gunshots?

No, that was way out, way--they took away by trucks. They kept me one time--they, they grabbed me. And I had to go over there digging, digging holes. And they sent me back and the next day the holes were filled up already with the bodies. So happened one, one coincidence by me that I worked the night shift and I had to go to the bathroom. And when this Kuhnemann, this--the other one--the Germans they arrived--they'd give a order to the Jewish police that they should announce it that every person what is in camps where he's walking he should stay--he should stop. So right away he grabbed a, a horn or a loudspeaker and announced it, "Achtung! Achtung! Alle bleibt stehen." And we all we were had to stay right where the Jewish policeman had spread around all over the camp and right away who they grabbed it that you had to stay, you had to stay. And I know what's going to happen to me, and I didn't, I--my mind worked--I didn't, I didn't want--and so happened I--Tepperman got a hold of me. So it came to my mind that I used to play a game--one, two, three when I turned around uh, when I hit uh, and I turned around, and when somebody move I sent him to the wall to, to count to one to three and I went in, in the line. So I tried to sneak away from this Tepperman and I run into a toilet and I dropped my pants and I was sitting over there. And he knew that he's got so many people holding--like six or eight of us--and he saw somebody's missing and he went after me. And he came into the toilet and found me sitting with the pants down and he start hollering, screaming at me and hitting me in the face and all over. He said, "You runned away from--you, you run away from me." I said, "So what I run away? I want to--I tried to save my life. I run away." I knew what's going to happen. They--take a look how I look, you know where I work, I work by the Granaten, I work so hard. I work all night, and, and I'm not washed and I'm not clothes--I don't got no clothes on me. And my shirt--it was a blue shirt--I remember it was white from the salt where--from perspiring what I was working it's so hot like in hell in the heat. And so he said, "You run away from me." And he start kicking me and kicking me in my rectum. And I told him, "Why are you hitting me?" He said, "You run away from me and you run away." So finally they walked away and I, and I didn't go--I didn't join the group and I turned back to my back and I laid on to, on the bed bleeding from my rectum. I told the, the other guys--they were feeling so sorry for me--what happened to me. And I said, "What can I do?" And I, I hope to God that he had a bad end. This Tepperman, Tepperman and Krzepicki. One time Krzepicki--he expressed himself--if he had to lose one little thing, he's willing us ten--to sacrifice ten thousand of us. They were worse than the Nazis.

How old were they?

They were in their thirties. About thirty-five. They came from Radom.

Did uh, did the inmates in the camp ever try to talk to him and say, "What are you doing?"

No, you couldn't come even close. Even people from the same town what they coming from their town, they even couldn't come close.

They know their family.

Yeah, they knew their family and they were ni...from uh, they came up from nice family, nice family people. So, anyway, another time...

[interruption in interview]

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