Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Buchenwald and Dora

Uh, we came into Germany and uh, we were transported by, by German guards, old guards and some Ukrainians, too. It--and wherever we looked, it looks like camps, and we ask him, is this the camp we're gonna land in? And he says, "Wherever you're looking," the old man said, "German--Germany is all one camp. Wherever you gonna look, you will find camps. And you people are heading against uh, Weimar, or whatever, in the direction from uh, Buchenwald." And sure enough we got to Buchenwald. There was a big sign there--zoo--Zoologisch Garten. It's a zoo. That, that was a camp titled "zoo." Uh, the guards there were mostly Belgian people uh, prisoners of war, or they were helping the, the Germans. And uh, they acted very nice uh, I can't, I can't complain. And uh, they told us to undress. We went in some basement--we were kind of scared, and uh, they told us to undress, it was a Polish fellow from Poland from Lwow, and he could tell on our faces, that we were very much scared. And uh, he showed a very friendly faces, and uh, he said, "You people should not be scared, you are going to, to refresh and bathe." And that was true. They undressed us, and uh, I still had a piece--I had uh, a piece of soap, and I had uh, five ruble--gold rubles and that piece of soap. Walking in to the shower I figured that's a good deed--to have a piece of soap. And the guy--the guard took that piece of soap, and took it out of my fingers, throw it away, told me to open my mouth, look in my mouth, looking all over whether some gold is not hidden. And uh, they cleaned us up uh, right through. We were washed and uh, then they took us for--called for registration to get our names and all that thing, which was kind of funny--unusual. And sure enough the people were all the--register people, the people were run that office were all French dignitaries. I think uh, Blum was still there, big people--particularly German people--I mean uh, French--French government uh, their own government. And I ask him what's all about it, with all that's ???, with all the killing, what they killed people--you need my name? Well it's all for the Red Cross, and it will go if you have relatives somewhere in a foreign country uh, we will try to send this to your uncles and all that thing if you have friends or uncles somewhere. I gave him some names to run never came out of it anyhow. I still had my, my pictures and all that thing. That was left there. And uh, they gave us uh, pretty good clothes uh, warm clothes and uh, they put us in a barrack, it was called 63. It wasn't the real uh, Buchenwald, these--the, the, the blocks were nice blocks there, but all cement blocks, but our blocks were made of wood with latrines and all that thing. And uh, it looks--it looked for a while, it looked uh, that, that it's livable. As a matter of fact uh, they took us to the doctor and all that thing. They showed us a movie, a German movie, for some reason, and uh, two days--a few days later they took us to Dora. Dora was uh, was a real death camp--a killing camp that, that uh, they uh, first thought they didn't gave us any food and they took us by train there. Uh, we got late in the evening there. They had, they had bread and uh, everything was there, but they looked for excuses uh, to beat us out, to do all kind of atrocities against us. They would let us in, in hot places, like shower places--very hot, no water, but hot--steam and all that thing. And then they would chase us, chase us out, and that was January, sometimes January the, the 20th, or maybe January or February, the beginning of February, something like it. We would uh, without clothes--chasing us out, with uh, cold water hoses. Or they would have open holes in the, in the floor where they start to chase the people, people would, would fall into those holes, and they would start to pile up, one on top of the other, in order to beat and uh, disrupt and all that thing. We never received anything of, of eating, because they wanted this in those circumstances, they still wanted us to be orderly and uh, stand up nice and quietly so they can disturb--to uh, distribute uh, a bread to--one bread for ten people. And how this could never been done. We never did got any, any food. Uh, that was, that was done by the inmates--by the inmates--the, the leaders of the, of the--that camp.

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