Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Work in Skarżysko

What kind of work did you do in Skarżysko?

Yes uh, I had uh, I would call it, in English, a machine setter. I punched a little hole--it was a punch machine--I punched a little hole in the center with a cinder. I forget what it's called in English. The--where that little uh, it's a little thing where it, where it hits and it, and it explodes.




It's not a target, there's a special name for it. In German it's called a cinder. Uh, the, the, the, the dynamite where it's, it's, it's, it's a little round hole and it filled up with that uh--I had five machines to take care of and had five, five girls, which were servicing the machines. And uh, we had to work lo...long hours seven days a week. Uh, the diet was very bad, not enough food, and a person could not survive on the food which uh, they served. The bread was made of some kind of uh, uh, sawdust and uh, what is crushed, crushed up. I forgot the name of it. It's uh, some kind of a tree which uh, some kind of a fruit and it was mixed with sawdust and this was the bread. We received--ten people--a bread and one, one soup a day--one or two soups a day--and that was the whole diet. Uh, a little money start to came in, in the camp from the outside. I don't know how the money got in. It might have been through the underground Jewish uh, people. The Gentile people would bring in the money, and uh, some people were lucky to get few, a few zlotys. And also start to come in clothes from the exterminated people, loads and loads of clothes, and once in a while a person would find a gold mint. Either an American dollar or a Russian ruble. I myself was lucky. One day I got in the line and my clothes wore out and I received a jacket. First thing, of course, you start to look for things, or they just--to find some gold or anything valuable in the, in the clothes like that was like launching a shot at the moon with a bullet. I found a, a twenty dollar, an American forty gold dollar in the, the jacket. It was almost exposed in the arm, a little--wrapped around in a piece of paper--a German newspaper. I opened this. I took out that--the uh, mint and I opened up that piece of paper. I could see the paper. The only thing I could read in that obituaries in German language, fallen soldiers here and there, which was good news. And I had a friend of mine, which was dealing in garment stu...stuff uh, he, he was an expert on that--he guessed that, that jacket might have been from Holland--Holländisch people. The Hollanders--the people from Holland, Belgium, and more likely France were shipped--a lot of them were shipped to Treblinka, too. Because--just because of this fact that he recognized the materials made of that it came from that. And one point, at one time, a transport arrived--It was standing parked on the tracks, on the railroad tracks, and uh, we recognized Jews from the west, and one young fellow asked us whether we ever heard of the colony, Treblinka. There's not much we could give him the answer. There was nothing to answer. That's the dir...di...the di...direction where they were heading. It wouldn't have been that bad if they had landed in our place, in our camp but uh, the Germans were not interested in live Jews. So sometimes--in uh, in 1944, in the middle of July uh, we could hear at night, the guns, the firing in the east. We could see the light up skies from the rockets. We had an idea. We knew what was going on, but unfortunately the German took us out ahead of time. And the reason for that might have been that uh, the revolt in Warsaw that stopped the Russians from advancing, but nevertheless, the Germans were scared. They were very afraid of us. Uh, they always like to have us with them, just to protect them, just so they didn't have to go and fight. They took us to, to Częstochowa. There was a similar factory there, uh...

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