Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Money in Camp

So if you received money from, uh...

Yeah, from my brother. You could buy yourself...

What could you do?

I didn't have no nothing from the money anyway. I was so naïve. One time they were searching through--it was very hard to hold money, it was very hard. So you didn't know where to hide it. So when you walked through the gate you had to hi...had to have the hand high. And if he didn't like you he could come and search you. And if you had the money you could buy extra piece of bread.

From who?

From another Jewish fellow, from this carpenter, or from this plumber. You could buy extra piece of bread. Or you could buy yourself a shirt or you could buy yourself a, a pair of shoes. Money wasn't very--only how you could handle. Another thing with money--was two brothers, Goldman was their name, and we lived in a barrack that we--you could trust each other. So when they, they were wearing boots and the pants they had it inside in the boots. And they had dollars--American dollars. And they had it in, in, in the pocket--they had a hole in the pocket. In case if they tell 'em to raise the hand. So the--this fell in and fell in, in the boots. And they were sleeping on top of the bunker. So looks like they drop in this with the rags wrapped up without. And we came in, in uh, in uh, the camp and we--I slept in. And he went and pulled off his boots and this package fell out and he didn't think about it. And I was laying on the--I was on the bottom bed, and I was laying--you know what a hungry person looks. The, the eyes--I got it all over and I saw on the floor something's laying. So I went and I walked over and I picked up and I went back on my bed. I unwrapped it--American dollars. Oh my gosh. Now, double scared. What I'm going to do with it? So anyway--and those brothers they're fighting. You had it, he had it, you had it, he had. He said, "Here." And they were fighting--they were almost killed themselves. And I'm laying in bed, like, I'm telling you the honest truth--not I'm trying like myself honest. I said, "What happened if one will kill the other one? It will be on my conscience." And even if I have the dollars, if I have to go through, through the gate twice, and to who I'm going sell the dollars? Polish money it was easy to exchange it. Where I have to exchange it, where I'm--it was a problem for me to have the dollars too. And I didn't ??? so I said "Ah!" I walked over to the brothers, "What are you fighting about? He said, "Don't mix in, you are, you are an outsider. We are two brothers, we're not going to hurt each other." I said, "What are you fighting about?" So he said, "Don't be." I said, "I want to know what you're fighting about." I say, "I know what you're fighting about." "What do you know?" I say, "I found it what you uh, fighting about." "You looked in, in it?" I said, "Yeah, I unwrapped it. I looked it in." Now they were mad because I looked in, in it--that I know they have dollars. And I gave 'em back. And this time, ev...even a son will not give back to a father, even a brother to--I, I didn't know what to do with it. So I give 'em back and then they were mad on me. They at least could say, "Okay, we, we award you with something. We give you a slice of bread or something we do something for you, what you, what you found it." And uh, so they, they said, "Are you..." they were mad at me because I looked in it what was in this package.

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