Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Traveling to Buchenwald

Tell about the uh, traveling on the train from uh, Skarżysko to...

To Buchenwald.

How many days were you on the train?

I think we were about two days.

And uh, describe what the trip was like.

The trip--we were packed like, like cows--like, like pigs, we were packed in the box cars. They didn't give us no food. And they--when we came uh, some place we stopped, they, they handed us some bread. We didn't get no drinks, we couldn't walk off on the--from the box car. The trip was about two-day trip to this, to the--there we went uh, we were in Buchenwald, and then in Buchenwald--so there was rumors if nobody's going--nobody--no factory needs us, so they were going to liquidate us or something. So we were carrying--every day we went to work and uh, they--where the stones and we...


Quarry. And we used to carry big stones everyday. We made about two, three trips. It was maybe about five, six miles. Pick up a stone on the shoulder, carrying like, like uh, the Jewish people used to do it in Egypt in the, in the--by the pyramids.

Were you thinking of that when you were doing this?

Yeah, naturally. And, and it happened in uh, was on the road, was a house and the Germans used to say, "Here is your Jewish Prime Minister Blum. Leon Blum is, is, is this building." So Leon Blum was over there too in a, in a separated, in a separated house. He was, he was imprisoned over there.

This was the premiere of France.


Was it true?

Yeah. Leon Blum was over there. We didn't see him. But they pointed to us, "Here your, your Jewish prime minister friend Leon Blum is in this building." So we always--so you see, "Blum is here." We didn't see him. So we carried the stone. So we were lucky there was a, a Panzerfaust house, uh, that's another ammunition factory. And it was gypsies girls work--a camp of gypsy women. So they took the gypsy women out from this camp and they--and we--they said that we have experience to work in ammunition factory and they took us over there and we replaced those gypsy women. And we worked in this uh, the camp name was Schlieben. And we worked in this camp and we made the Panzerfaust.

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