Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Dora II

Was that a Jewish Kapo?

No, no. there was no Jewish Kapo. Most Kapo were Germans themselves, prisoners, of course. All kinds of--well it must have been a low class people anyhow--murderers, homosexuals--whatever. There were some deserters, and very seldom you could see a red star, which meant a political prisoner--Germans, some.

Were you witness to any um, acts of homosexuality among the guards?

No. Uh, I can't uh, uh, the only thing I can recall if uh, to answer this question is uh, there was a young, very young fella, he might have been not more than ten years of age, maybe twelve, I don't know uh, how old he was. In this Dora, we never knew when we were sleeping or when we were working--we worked all the time. And when we came home, the only place for us to sleep was the floor--nothing else. This young fella was invited to a German uh, to a German uh, prisoner. Oh, the man looked to me in his forties. He was well fed, he received uh, packages from home, and he slept with this, with this here-- with this German. We figured it was a bargain. Uh, once in a while he probably get a--got a piece of bread and uh, he's treating him like a father, and beside, he's sleeping in a bed. After a short while the guy just refused to sleep with him, and uh, we were kind of surprised and we asked him, "Uh, why don't, why don't you--why did you first sleep up there, and you sleep crowded here?" We didn't have enough place on the floor. He said, "I don't want it and I don't want to do that." And uh, he didn't. That was the end of it. That's all I know about homosexuality in the camp.

Did he tell you that there was something going on?

Uh, I don't know if it was uh, uh, the only thing, the only thing it were to, to, to talk about a young fellow from Czechoslovakia. Uh, he was uh, no older than ten years of age, and he was in our group too. And he just came from a different camp or from Czechoslovakia. Got caught with the, I don't know whether it's the partisans, or--he got into our camp, he probably, in our opinion, he probably could have gotten away to be at least with the Gentile people. And we asked him this question uh, why didn't you try to register as a Gentile, because the, the Czechoslovakian people were quite different than, than the Polacks--very helpful, wonderful people. So he said, "That's a kind of silly question." He says "Did you ever see a Czechoslovakian kid in the age of ten to be in a camp? I couldn't, couldn't get away with that." So he had, he had to go with us. Now I don't know what happened to this kid. Hopefully he survived. He was very young--wonderful kid, smart. Uh, sometimes uh, this Dora was a, was a very, very bad place. Uh, there was some Russian prisoners of war there, and uh, they tortured a lot of them. And uh, sometimes in uh, the end of March 1945 they called everything--everybody out to, to line up, and uh, there's one thing--one more thing about that Dora which I recall. It was very sad pictures. We had to get up very early, about four 'o'clock in the morning, to line up on that toll call. And we were standing out there until about seven o'clock in the morning. The, the, the shift started about eight o'clock, so we stayed all through the night, in all kind of weather. And they only conveniently could have--if somebody could get in the middle of the crowd to ??? when we walked off every day, in every group there were left a pile of people in the tens and in the twenties. In every, every, in every corner of that toll call, that square. The people were still alive. They were still talking. They were still crying. If they could not go to work, there were no way for them to go back to the barracks. Then some uh, small uh, wagons--hand wagons picked these people up and this way--they went directly to the crematorium. And uh, it's possible that these people were burned alive. It's just uh, the way they looked to me, they could have lived for days, just uh, that way. But they were picked up by the time we came back. It was cleaned up. We could see people--German people--I don't know who they were, but they must have been some, must have been some civilians which had something to do with the German Red Cross or whatever. They came in every day, and look at all that atrocity--looked at all these pictures. Now what their function was, I have no idea, but I know they came from the city. Civilians--civilian clothes. We never talked to them--never asked them any questions and they wouldn't talk to us. And uh, those are, those are the things we have seen. There were barbed wires way up to the sky with high tension wires, with the guards on, on the posts--high posts, and uh, with the German shepherds all over. There was no way to get away from there. And uh, one day, they took us out from there, and they were trying to dist...distribute a bread to everybody who was leaving the camp. Uh...

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