Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Labor in Brande


So he says, "Was your father in the horse business? Was your father the horse veterinarian?" I said, "Yes." "Is your father's name Aaron?" I said, "Yes, my father's name is Aaron." So he says, "I know your father." And, and uh, he was from ???, they call it. It's a different town, where all uh, they have horse tradings, and also--every Thursday, we had--in our town. They had a different day, see? So uh, he says uh, "What do you call yourself?" So--they used to call me Mula. It's uh, it's short for, for, for Mulek. In Poland, Poland, the Polish people couldn't pronounce it so they called me Mula. So he, he start calling me Hamanula. Hamanula, come here. And at first he talked to me uh, that mixed language from upper Silesia, which I, I knew, see? Half Polish and half German. And I knew that language very good. So he start saying uh, "Can you--will you be able to take care of this uh, boiler and make water?" I said, "Yes, I will." So--okay. So I didn't go to work anymore. I was inside. Four o'clock in the morning I used to go out, out of the gates. Nobody could. I could go any, anywhere I wanted. No guards or nothing. I went outside to the uh, SA. Used to make fire in their rooms in the morning--four o'clock. I used to go to the cook, the German cook used to cook for the SA. You know, he used to give me, they all used to leave me something to eat. The cook used to leave me a lot of uh, liverwurst all the time and breakfasts and all kind of stuff. And uh, I took all this with me back into the camps and I, I used to go to the--four o'clock in the morning I got done maybe a half an hour, an hour, with all this stuff, running around. And uh, I used to have the boiler and coal, they used to fill up the thing with coal. And I used to shovel the coal into the boiler. That's--so and, and I knew how to give uh, uh, the water, how to mix the water, the main valve with the, cold and warm, and uh, I was so good that I became the handyman in the camp. Whatever. Lights or anything, I could do it. Anything that went wrong in the camp, Hamanula's gonna do it. Well I--that was in my favor. In meantime, I ate good, you know. And uh, I had connections, there were some girls there. I have connections with the kitchen. And one time I, I stole a uh, bucket full of uh, potatoes in the kitchen and somebody squealed. And while I was putting in--luckily you know, while I was shoveling the uh, coal in, in the boiler, I looked out, I had a, a, a small opening then, I looked out I take a look and the Lagerführer coming, and the SA Führer is coming and the, and then maybe four or five coming towards me with the ready, with everything, with guns on them and everything. And they coming towards me. Somebody squealed that I, I stole food and gave it away to the boys. So I saw that, I grabbed the bucket of uh, potatoes. Up in the washroom was uh, uh, a barrel, leaking. You know, we had water in it. So I grab the bucket of potatoes from under the uh, coals. I had 'em hidden in the coals, covered up. And I dropped it into the uh, uh, barrel and I put some straw over it and dirt over on top and everything. And they came in and they turned over everything, all the coals and everything. And they couldn't find any. They looked in the barrel and they couldn't find anything. Searched the whole washroom and the whole boil...boiling room. They couldn't find anything. And so the Lagerführer said to me in Polish, "You know what you do? We have to send you to Auschwitz. If we would catch you, we would send you to Auschwitz." In Polish he said that to me. So I said, "I didn't do nothing," you know. And that was--luckily, that I, I got away with that. And from then on I, I, I was very, very scared. I was shook up. And I was free you know, I was free with my mind. My mind was working, I was sharp that time. And one day, about a couple of days later a uh, SA comes in the morning, he wants a shower. While I'm doing the uh, the coals and the, and the ovens, putting on for the outside and everything he comes in and he wants warm water and there was, the warm water just started see. So there was not enough warm water. And me...me, in the middle of everything he's taking a shower there was--ran out of hot water. So he came in and he beat me up. Yeah. I got a big, big beating that time from that. And he was, next to the Lagerführer, to, to the uh, brown shirt, next to him. He was the uh, yeah, what they say. He took, he took care if, if the la...if he wasn't there.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn