Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Felicia Shloss - February 9, 1983

Life at Auschwitz

When you didn't see your brother, after you went to the bath, what did you think?

We didn't recognize each other. We knew--we heard there are men's uh, camp. They gonna take them to work, and we gonna go to work. We--I, I was at the bath. They didn't uh, gas us. Otherwise I wouldn't be here. We didn't know about those things.

You were shaved afterwards?

Yes. And my sister didn't recognize me, she was calling my name and I was calling her name. We didn't recognize each other, so uh, it's hard to, it's hard to describe the experience. It's--nobody wasn't there can image. It's undescribable, it's unreal. So we were there, in Auschwitz, and they took us to that block, twenty-six they called it Ziguener Lager. And we were supposed to sleep fifteen girls on one bunk bed, or big bunk bed. Nothing under, just a piece of uh, dirty um, blanket on the top. I don't know. I, I don't know how I slept there. I don't know--we were sitting most of the time--in the middle was that oven; we didn't know what this was, it was in the middle something glowing. And we saw it was an oven, but when we were there I guess it didn't uh, it didn't uh, they didn't use it or something"

A crematorium, you mean?

Yeah, in every block was a crematorium, I believe. It was going through the middle of that, of that barrack. And on this side were bunk beds and on this side were bunk beds. And four o'clock in the morning they woke us up for Zählappell to count us. Where we were staying there in the nights, in the morning we went back about eight o'clock until they counted us. There were, there were maybe a thousand people in that. And I, I went to school and I went uh, I was used to exercise in Maccabi as a child. I went to a Jewish Zionist organization. But there were people--they were ten years older than I, or they didn't--the ten years older than I--I was sixteen--I don't know if there were schools, or something, they couldn't even walk five in a line. So I--it was ??? I think she survived the war, something happened to her uh, anyhow and if you didn't straight--it was a German or something, if you didn't stay straight, she--they were walking with canes, big long canes. And they knock you over the head too. You had to be like, in line, otherwise if you were out they uh, hit you. They hit you bad.

Were you ever beaten?

Uh, I was beaten, a lot of times, but we were hiding so much, in that labor camp, in that Salzwedel, yeah.

When you were in Auschwitz did anybody ask your sister how old she was?

Yes they did. And she said she was eighteen. Uh, when we were going out--we were there for maybe two weeks. And they took us out, and somehow, I don't know, she had that--they gave her a dress. They took away all our belongings, and they gave her like, a turtleneck dress, and her face looked full, because it was like a pullover or something. And her face looked full, and I guess that saved her--because she had a full face, so she looked full. And the Germans let her go through.

This a German woman--SS woman?

Well the German--they must have been doctors, the ones who selected us, looked at us. And at the end we supposed to go on the train. A German woman came to her and asked her, "How old bist du? Wie alt bist du?" And she said uh, "Achtzehn." And uh, she asked her, ‘What Jahr bist du boren?' She said uh, 1926 and she was born 1928, '29 and the German said, "Du hast schnell ausgeredet." She still didn't believe her...

She figured it out.

Fast, yeah. She didn't believe her, but they--I don't know, somehow, maybe God was over us--a angel or something. We were saved.

What do you remember about uh, just uh, impressions, voices, what they sounded like?

The Germans?

The Germans.

You see a movie today, they only uh, the way they were talking to us the, "Munde halten, Schnabel halten uh, Schnabel halten, Munde halten," uh, what else did they say? Very uh, they were screaming at us. I thought the German language was so horrible because the whole language was a scream. "Prüf aus," and uh, and they were walking with the German Shepherds. Today when I see German Shepherd. I get goose pimples I, I can't stand those animals. I know they are just animals and they were trained in that direction, but I still can't um, [pause] uh, make myself that it's an innocent animal; I just can't look at them.

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