Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984



They were, they were inmates--uh, no, no. I found out late--later that this was a Polish fella. And uh, and that was going on 'til about two o'clock in the morning and finally some, some German uh, soldier or the SS man came over and he seen what all is going on and he gave the order to send the people home--or to the barracks, and all we got there is something like a pajama dress. That was all the dress in the winter time. Then in the following day we were assigned to work, which I don't know what they can call it, they were told to carry big rocks from one end to the other and bring it back this way in all kind of mud. People were sinking in mud. And uh, one day we marched down to, to the factory--to the tunnel. I got this job. Uh, my assignment was to work in the tunnel and uh, they had something like sixty people, prisoners of war. French and Russian soldiers and they told us that this was sabotaged, they did something wrong. They had these, they had these uh, these uh, w...these uh, [pause] traverse--not traverse, they, they hoist up things with, uh...


Cranes! Cranes. They had cranes to lift the ??? uh, the V weapons or so whatever they called. The rockets, which were shot out to, to London. We took, we took and they were round, they were just suitable to put on a person's neck, and by a command they pushed a button and sixty people went. They hung sixty people that way, and they let them hung something like twenty-four hours so people can see what they did to saboteurs. And this was going on in uh, in Dora. The, the air was terrible. Stinked from, from burned, burned crops--corpses rather. I don't know whether they had any gas chambers there, but uh, people shown, which died, were burned--cremated. And uh, the air was terrible there. And uh, I had an episode uh, what had happened to me when I got there and I was assigned to that job, a young Polish fellow came over to me he was--he introduced himself from Łódź, and he asked me from where I come. I said I just come the other day from Częstochow. He said, oh my god you just missed the liberation there. If you had stayed another day, you would be free now. He was so sorry. Well, can't help it. Maybe a month later, or maybe six weeks later, for some reason this one guy and we were sent out from the tunnel to work on, on the yard, and uh, I went to my foreman, foreman. And uh, it was a Polish fella too, from Kielce, I said uh, "Look, I have to go to the toilet uh, would you let me go?" He said, "Go, it's all right with me." We dug some trenches there. And uh, as, as I walked over, uh, I bent down my head and it was something a miracle--I picked up one potato peel in the sand. To find a potato peel there was just like, like finding a star from the sky. And that SS man happened to see it, and he asked me what I got in my hand. I show it to him. I said, "We didn't have for three weeks." It was true, we didn't have any bread for three weeks. All we got was a couple rotten potatoes. That was one day uh, diet--two rotten potatoes and uh, a quart of soup. We didn't have bread for three weeks, and uh, I'm hungry. So I found that. He told me to throw it away. He said, "Come with me. Let's go to the Vorarbeiter." And he introduced me to Vorarbeiter. He said this guy was out walking and I tell him, "Vorarbeiter, he just had tell me to the toilet." So the Vorarbeiter just hit me in the face, and he said, "Well I told him to do that." And he just hit me. He wanted to uh, to calm it down--to make it small, but as he let me go back to work, this Polish fellow, which he was so sorry for me that I just could have been liberated, got in the front of that SS man, and he told him this is--he said, "This is the damn Jew. The Jews don't wanna work," and he was a Jew. And the SS man was uh, kind of surprised. "Is he Jewish?" "Yes, he is Jewish." We didn't have any markings. So then he took me back to that Polish Vorarbeiter and told, told him to take my number. And when you get home, you report to the Kapo, Kapo, the headman, he was the authority. And I received fifty on, on my rear end, just because of that Polish friend.

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