Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Agi Rubin - December 19, 1984


They took the men, then what? What next?

Next, it was like a hit over the head. The Germans marched in in 1944 it was holiday, Pesach time, so everybody was congregated in homes. First they divided the city into ghettos. They would walk into your house and say, your house will be occupied by three families or four families or two families, depending on the size. They took over your house and you had to move. Let's see, one part of the city, two or three streets remained the ghetto. And the rest, they made it into their own headquarters, offices or whatever. We were among the uh, so-called uh, special Jews. I don't know why we were picked. First they picked the people that were non-Jewish by way of life. What I mean by it, is they could have been their father was Jewish or grandparents, they didn't lead a Jewish life. Yet they were the first ones to be selected. We were taken into our own home town in a factory of, brick factory, and we were kept there for one month. Sleeping under very abnormal conditions, no roof over our head, we would build a little shelter out of the bricks so the wind shouldn't blow, or the rain shouldn't fall. My aunt was lucky enough to find a sled and that was our bedroom, because our possession was five kilos, we were able to take when they marched into our house, you are allowed to take five kilos, that included a pillow and very minimal personal belongings and we used this sleigh as our bedroom and we were very lucky to have that for our shelter. And we youngsters, you know when you were a child, you make fun of everything, we were throwing the bricks to each other and we had to keep the place clean, well we worked for them. And my mother was sitting and she says, if you can throw bricks here, you can sure go to Israel and build Israel and this is all over, I let you go to Israel. If we have to do this here, we are forced to do it, we can go and build a country. And my mother was not a Zionist. But she must have had a seventh sense of realizing that what this whole thing meant. After a month, everything happened at night, whenever they gathered people, it was just always dark outside. They gathered us again and uh, they said that they were taking us to work. They put us on the cattle car, and um, our next destination was Auschwitz. Going to Auschwitz, I remember my mother's only concern was my father. God knows where my father is. And the other was that I shouldn't be hungry, because God should save me from hunger because I wasn't able to manage hunger as a child. And uh...

Did you have any food with you?

No. It was very... the four of us gathered, my mother, my aunt, my little brother and myself in a very small corner, that was our sitting place, or standing for two days and two nights or maybe three until we got there.

How many people, do you think, were in the box car?

Oh, I couldn't tell you how many, but we were like sardines packed, like sardines there were no facilities for bathroom facilities, people were going hysterical... but I still had my own world, I had my mother, I had my own little corner. Nothing... maybe it didn't even phase me. Now I turned off, pulled down the shade... I still felt secure because I was with my mother. But I know it was, I just remember that little corner in the wagon, scared and hungry and thirsty, but I felt safe. Strange, but that's somehow, that's the only thing I can remember out of it. And the screams, the sounds, sounds still irritate me. Terrible, it's more fearful to me than being hit over the head. It was the sound.

Do you still hear them?

Yes. I hear many sounds. Many different kind of sounds. Uh, that's later on I hear sounds of children, I hear the sounds of the Shma Yisroel when they are marched to their death in the crematorium, and I hear laughter and cries together, and uh, many different sounds.

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