Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Schleifer - August 1, 1982

Longre, France

All right. So, you arrived at, at this new destination and the, the name of this place was?

Longre, France.

Okay, do you...

It was on, on uh, the Luxembourg border between--just about, just about by Luxembourg. We worked in the--everybody was working in the coal mine. Some of the French people really used to help some of these guys. Always brought him some food. All these guys because they were working shifts--three different shifts, just like the French people, you know, and they used to brought in foods all the time.

[interruption in interview]

Okay. You arrived in France and what kind of a place was this?

Uh, this camp must have been built just before we got there and they were uh, barracks. I think it was much nicer barracks than they were in Auschwitz. And, the facilities uh, each barrack had their own uh, uh, uh, bathrooms and whatnot. I mean, but as I said, there was newer facilities and they were clean. That's the only, only thing I could uh, remember.

Was everybody at this particular camp also a Jew?

Well, uh, uh, you were just about all Jews except some of these--I said some of the uh, uh, just like the cook which one was a German and we had the uh, some of the supply uh, things what they were in administration. They--we had a few Germans which when they were in the, in the camp they came with us from Auschwitz, but they were Germans and they have been in the, in the camp for quite a few years, because, as I said, the, the cook who got me the--got me in the kitchen, he was in the camp since 1933 while was in prison since 1930, since Hitler got into power. See?

What was your uh, daily routine here at this, this new camp?

At this camp, well, you got up in the morning, you got in the kitchen and you did your work whatever, whatever he gave you to do--whatever, whatever the, the cook told you to do. And, you had to cook three meals a day. And, when you got through, you went to sleep. The next morning, the same thing. Whatever he gave us the work. He was the one who told us what to do.

I assume that by working in the kitchen you were able to get extra food.

That is correct. That's why, that's why he wanted all these young kids in the kitchen. That he would have more nutrition than the rest of them. That was his theory and maybe I have to thank the, the--that he is the one that I am here today.

Were you able to see your father at this time?

Oh, yes, oh, yes, I stayed with father in the same barracks. He was right next to me. I mean, we slept on a double bunk--one he was up and when I was up and he was down and he was in one barracks. Sure.

What did your father do at this camp?

As I said, everybody else was working in a coal mine.

Uh, what kind of hours did you have?



Well, you get up early in the morning and you worked 'til, 'til you're got done. There was no hours.

Well, twelve hours, fourteen hours working during the day?

Well, whatever they were. Sometimes twelve and sometimes fourteen.


Whatever, whatever--whenever you got done.

Same thing with your father?

Well, they had shifts. They had shifts because they were working with the uh, shifts, and I think they had three shifts, if I'm not mistaken. You had three eight-hour shifts. There is morning, afternoon and night and they were rotating it.

Were there any females in this camp?

No, all males. [pause]

Uh, were the guards different in this particular camp, uh?

Oh, they had the guards. They're all the same SS guards, but, uh...

Kapos also?

Well, Kapos, they--each, each barracks had a guy was in charge, but they were more, more--actually, the--they select some of these from the, from the people who went over, you know. So they were a little more lenient than some of these bastards which one was in the--in Dachau, you see? They, they, some of them would come, as I said, out of, out of from the group. They, they become leaders, in other words, leaders in charge they wanted to get back or whatnot. That's--that was the thing.

Was there any sort of um, attempt to uh, have any kind of religiosity in any of these camps?

What do you mean?

Well, you said when you lived in your town and many of your people were very Orthodox, was there any opportunity to practice praying or somehow keep...

Ah, everybody prayed for himself. That's all he could have done as there was no such a thing as uh, he couldn't have done. But, actually, see in Longre, France, where we were over there we was hearing things, the rumble from the French people, and he was telling us that the Allies are close enough and they was gonna to--they had uh, some connection with the Allies already or some, you know, you had some type of understanding. They want to liberate us there, but the Allies was so damn slow coming in. In other words, they had so much resistance that they couldn't have done. They was always going to have uh, uh, owe it through the guards over there, but they were in much more trouble because the front line didn't come through yet, see.


So, that's why they, they didn't do it, but we heard all the rumbles. French people was telling us that the Allies are close and that's, that's how we found out that got orders--boom, then all of a sudden everything was cut off and we left, we left everything there. Got on a train and went to Kochendorf.

Was there, was there a commandant in charge of this camp there in France?

Oh, every camp's got a commandant. I'm...

Where he was a German?

I imagine German, SS.

All right. You were preparing food. Who--to whom did the food go?

To the uh, prisoners whoever were there. That's where the food.

Was there any sort of facilities uh, uh, for punishment or, uh...

Well, actually, this particular camp we didn't have no problem.

Okay. ???

No problem. It wasn't there uh, we wasn't there that long there because we got, got 'til about six months later we had to get the hell out of it.

So, you are there for, for six months.

About six months before, if it was six months. As I said, I was very short time in concentration camp because the Hungarian Jews were the last ones which were uh, tran... transported to concentration camp.

All right. What--do you have any idea about what, what year with this or what time of the year with this?

Uh, well, you see actually it was 1944, April and uh, until 1945 'til we were liberated. So, between all those things I was in Longre about six--one month and then uh, in Uzhgorod one month, in Longre uh, one month in uh, in uh, Auschwitz so that's two months. May, June, so talking July, August, September, October. But November from France to Kochendorf. At Kochendorf, we were there about four or five months and then I was in Dachau where I was in there a month before we got liberated. That was it.

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