Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Agi Rubin - December 19, 1984

Working in Auschwitz

When you were sorting clothing, do you remember anything that happened while you were doing that?

Oh yea. I found a picture, my cousin's picture, and I stuck it in my shoe, something from home, of course it was discolored and I was... and one day I was sorting clothes and I found a jacket which looked like my own jacket. I couldn't believe it, I said anybody could have a white jacket, you know. But I reached into the pocket and I found a note from one of the meetings I had to make a presentation, and I had my notes in it and I said, it is my jacket! I cut it to pieces, that was called sabotage. See, we had, that was our own way of some fight, if you can call it that. Somebody stood at the door, and their sign was geshem, which means rain in Hebrew, if somebody had in geshem that meant that the soldier is coming and get busy and work, I mean don't cut up anything, or don't tear up anything, little did we know that that was to be utilized anyway, so I cut it to pieces and I felt good about it. But what I didn't feel good about, I found my aunt's coat who was, you know, in the crematorium and these things I wanted to hold onto, but... and it was all momentary things, you know, just for the second. We found lots of things, but you know, it just went through our hands and but those bundles, I must tell you uh, some more story, uh towards the end of the year by end of November, um, the Germans felt that the war was kind of getting weaker and the crematoriums, the crematoriums had a uprise and they were going to sabotage it. There was another crematorium in Auschwitz in the city itself. There was an underground war going on in spite of all the soldiers and all the punishments. The day that they are going to burn the crematorium at one time one was fortunate to, um do it in the Auschwitz, not completely, just a little portion of it. The one that we were next to, um one day, we had our friends that were there from our home town. I told you in this Sonderkommando, one was a doctor and one was the most noted people from our home town and they would talk close to the electric wires and you couldn't touch it, you would be electrocuted, but we talked. I says, we have it too good, we sleep under silk covers and we are being fed and it's too good this is, they are fattening us up for death. And they were very humorous about it, humorous. But they are not gonna kill us. And just then we were chased away. Next morning, we were all Zählappell again, we forced to come up again to the crematorium, and look, everybody was shot to death and they were turned not even head down, but face up for us to see what happens to the some of the people that don't want to be gassed. This is what happens to you, and among them was our friend from Munkacs and um, [pause] we had to see what happened to them.

This is the group that attempted to blow up the crematorium?

Yes, well, part of it, they didn't blow it up, they just weren't gonna be gassed. So when they ask us was there any resistance? I hope it goes on record that there was resistance even when there was no practical way for resistance. Some day we tried to and to me these people died as heroes. Not that it makes any difference, but they proved their point, their own ego, their own dignity in someway. And this was one of the most important factors, for maintaining yourself, for sustaining yourself from day to day basis.

Maintaining your dignity?

Yes, from the, them. Even if it was gone. I mean you did that because it was taken away from us. I mean you're undressed, you're soiled, but your soul is your own and that's the only thing you can live with.

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