Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Felicia Shloss - February 9, 1983

Salzwedel

Where did you work?

In ammunition factory. There were French uh, people working there, French men so they weren't in uniforms. And when they saw my sister, they were crying and they said, "What happened to our children?" When they do this--when they did it to us, they were thinking, what happened to their children, to their sisters, to their children? And they-- thanks to them we survived the nine months there, in Salzwedel. They bought us--brought us baked potatoes, sandwiches, put in the garbage and they used to come--they supposed to fix our machines where we were staying and working. And they came to us and told us, "I left you a potato there, take it. I left you a sandwich there." And when the German officer here, when she saw she used say, "Nicht unterhalten sich mit kein Männer." "Don't talk to men!" For that was already--and he used to say, "I told her what to do on the machines." So he uh, explained it, nothing. So we used to go and pick the potato, pick uh, uh, piece of bread. We had to eat uh, the food was terrible, even there.

What did the German say to you when you got there? You told me there was a German guard--you got a number there?

Oh, after a while. They called us on a Sunday, to offer Zählappell, Zählappell, to count us. And they gave us a metal number and they told us--he told us, "You are not uh, people anymore you Hunde. You have--you are Hund. You have, uh...

Dogs.

Uh, a number, I forget how to say in German--"You have a number now. You, you not a people anymore, you Hund."

Dogs.

Dogs yeah. You're--that was maybe, already maybe a month we were there in uh, in Salzwedel. That wasn't the first night. The first night we went straight to work in the ammunition factory.

How long were you in Salzwedel?

Uh, from--to the end. We were liberated there, 1944--45, I beg your pardon. Uh, April the 14th ??? We were liberated April the 14th there.

Seven years.

Yeah, yeah. We were...

What kind of sanitary conditions were there?

Oh, the sanitary--were sanitary in Germany. But I--we did wash ourselves in cold water. There was a washroom just running cold water. And we washed ours--I even washed a week my dress what I had in the cold water; washed it for the night, and hung it up. Then somehow I don't know--we covered ourselves like ??? in Salzwedel, we, we had already one bed--bunk bed for me, and one for the sister. But it was cold. We--you were cold at night. So we took the--that straw sack, that I don't know how to say it in English, that you were sleeping on from one bed and covered ourselves up, so we're--both of us were sleeping in one uh, in one bunk bed. It was warmer in one bunk bed.

Was the work you were doing dangerous?

Uh, sure. It was ammunition. It was dangerous uh, I didn't work in the same time. I don't know, their machines were uh, broken--they were broken down. Once I worked and uh, I put uh, powder--ammunition powder and there were caps automatically they closed up, I put with a little shovel, put there, put there. And I think those machines broke down. So we went to another machine. One uh, it was a beautiful machine, they measured--it was already the finished product, everything was the bullet...bullets. And that machine was uh, measuring the bullets. And one--and you had to put a chute on, a safe on, I guess. And on the same uh, same machine, another shift were Greek Jews--they didn't understand German, the Greek Jews didn't speak German. And one was killed, and uh, a girl was killed on the same machine what I was working that uh, manager, the German, came to me and, and told me that--he didn't tell me in a nice way, "You better put on the chutes because somebody was killed." "That Hund didn't understand German, and it went straight in her stomach, the bullet," because uh, um, the last part is the neck that measured and it ig...ignited, and I guess it killed her.

What did he tell you?

He told me that--to, "Better put on your chutes. Put on the safe on the top." I always said, I am a very careful person I had it on and they explained it to you but I guess she didn't understand German or she was careless and she didn't put on, so she was killed at my machine.


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