Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Conditions in the Camps and Ghettos

Okay. Um, you mentioned that uh, there was a lot of typhus. And that they had taken the intelligentsia out of the city. Is that the doctors and nurses, too, that they removed from the city?

Uh, there weren't that many doctors, but they took all the intelligent people, especially, especially teachers. All Polish teachers practically. In the city not even one teacher was left, and I don't think they ever came back.

When um, when the typhus started was that the time that you were in the ghetto already?

Yes, the typhus started and it got--gotten intensive uh, sometimes in the middle of '41 or so, and into the last, the last minute uh, the existence of the city.

How uh, how soon after the Germans came in were you started to be rounded up in, in the ghettos?

Uh, the Germans started--began to, to be tough. Sometimes in the middle of 1941, I think uh, that, that where things gotten pretty tough, and uh, they opened these labor camps, uh, which they called labor camps--actually these camps were just as, as bad as concentrations camps. You can't--you can't think of anything worse when a person like, Dr. Bartenschlager, a German, probably six foot tall, very handsome. At the time he seemed to be in his early forties or late thirties. He came in, in Skarżysko and took out the most beautiful Jewish girls. How he had the heart to take them to his place and do whatever he did, and they never come back alive, so uh, it's hard to, to express yourself, who these people were. He had the title doctor, but I--we don't know what a doctor ??? something like it. I can't mention the names of the girls what were raped and brutally killed by this character, Dr. Bartenschlager. Uh, in the middle of 1942 things gotten very depressed. The Germans extracted something like every week a city was extracted or moved what they called to the east. Poland had 600 cities, but a lot of cities were Judenrein, or whatever you would call it--Jewish clean--at that time, but they were sent to some others big ghettos like Łódź and Warsaw and so I really don't know how many ghettos were involved where they started to take--to liquidate these cities and they were shipped either to Treblin...Treblinka, those cities closer to the east were shipped to Treblinka. A lot were, were shipped to uh, Majdanek and western Poland were shipped to Auschwitz. Treblinka was strictly a uh, destruction camp, a camp to liquidate the people. It was not a concentration camp, it was nor--neither a labor camp. All the people arriving there were gassed.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn