Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Being Transferred to Buchenwald

How long did you stay uh, at Skarżysko?

Skarżysko I stayed from 1942 to 1944. When the Russian start to come close already, they shipped us out to Buchenwald.

The Germans did.

Naturally. They put us in the box cars.

Did you know where you were going?

No, we didn't know it. When we arrived at Buchenwald I remember like today, it was horrible. Iron ga...a iron--the, the gate was an iron gate with electric wires and a, a white bear was standing inside in a cage.

A white bear?

Bear. A live white bear in a cage.

A polar bear?


Like in the circus?

Yeah, it was a bear. And then we marched all over to the bathhouse. And then they count and then happened--never will forget that we were lined up five--we were standing in the line, and it was over there a German Kapo and he was a communist. So he was in Buchenwald in concentration camp. He was a German--not a Jewish--he was German. And he came over to us--to the group--and he says, "Who are those policemans?" So we told him they are Jewish. He said, "They are Jews and they washing--the Germans washing their hands clean with--they got Jews what they're doing their dirty work." He went over to those police and he slapped them in his face. He say, "You are Jews. Stay going and you with the, with the rest of the Jewish people." And they came over to us and they say, "You remember we were good to you in Skarżysko, we were good to you." And we couldn't say nothing. I didn't, I didn't even want to make a conversation with--just, just, just they were by themselves. When we came into this--to this--was it the gas chamber? We walked in, they shaved us and they, and they pour, and they pour on us some, some, some water with ??? and then we went to the doctors and the doctor looked us over. We couldn't have ???. And then they give us the striped clothes and we came out on the other side. We couldn't recognize on each other. Or I don't know everybody came out or not, I don't know. Just little groups came out on the other side. Then they took us the barrack, the--all barrack, the--all buildings was taken and they didn't got no place else where to take us. So we went to a big tent and we stayed in this tent for several days. And this Kapo came over and he had already names from doctors, from the policemans, from the, from the--from this uh, we call 'em ??? that the ???, the, the, like uh, male nurses--what they always--what they harmed us. They got those names from the bad guys and what they did with them--I think he took care of them.

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