Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982


Next in command?

Next in command, yeah. Next in command, right. So uh, that was uh, going on like this for six, seven, eight months. I, I, I can't name uh, the dates because there, there was no dates uh, at that time, you know. I couldn't remember what date it was. And uh, in that camp was, was not too bad. I ate good. I used to lock some boys down in the boiler room and ta...and gave 'em some potatoes. And they boiled potatoes and they made some food down there. And uh, I had good that time because they uh, I could go into the uh, German kitchen and get a meal, see? I, I was, like, buddy-buddy with them. But I, I was lucky they didn't catch me that time. And then, one time the Lagerführer did something to me, which I have to tell. It's, it's very--maybe a little embarrassing, but. He left, he always left some stuff for me in, in, in his room when I made uh, in his office, when I made the uh, fire in the oven he, he always left something like uh, pancakes and he left uh, one time he left potato pancakes, about a dozen of them. And he put--he must have put some oil in it. I don't know what kinda oil. He, must have been castor oil. Just probably for fun. Castor oil. He knew whatever he left, I ate, I ate up everything. So uh, he, he, he, he left some, a poten...potato pancakes with uh, with castor oil. And I ate a dozen of potato pancakes and it has castor oil and I, I couldn't get up. I had to run into the uh, washroom to the bathroom and I couldn't get up, for about half a day I was there. I couldn't get up. And he must uh, he had a lot of fun, you know. To him it was uh, fun. But uh, I was a young kid and I was hungry. I was always hungry. Just, you know. So that was uh, one thing. And uh, that wasn't bad, see? That was a break for me. That's why I probably could last later, you know. From Brande we went uh, we finished this strip of uh, Autobahn and we had to clean up the uh, railroad tracks and so forth. And we went to Johannisdorf. It was another camp, ten miles away. We walked. They walked us to Johannisdorf camp. There was another camp there where I found a few uh, one of my boyfriend's brother was there. Maurice Goodman. And right away paired up with him. And a lot of people from that uh, Jo...Johannisdorf were sent to a different camp. The only thing was left there was the Judenältester. That means the, the Judenältester means the Jewish Lagerführer. And in fact there was a Lagerführer there--a Jewish--Judenältester they call him was my brother's friend, boyfriend from Sosnowiec. Maurice Feldman. So I came there and there was a guy by the name--the Lagerführer, his name was, they called him Yanek Zason. It's in Polish. It's a Polish name. Yanek Zason. It's just a--like a roughnik's name you know, a, a nickname. Yanek Zason. They, they called him that. And he--when I came there, there was no Bademeister. So right away I became the Bademeister. And, and that camp was on a hill, kind of. So the barracks were funny. One barrack was there, and one barrack was here. All, all, all wooden barracks. And over there, it took me a couple of months or three months, I was the Bademeister there, which wasn't bad. And he had a, a, a, a hang up on, on chicken. He wanted fresh eggs. So I had to take care of the chicken too. So when I took care of the chicken uh, naturally I'm gonna, I'm gonna have some eggs. You know, I'm not gonna let him have all of it. So uh, I stole some eggs from the chicken, from him. And he complained to the Lagerführer, to the Jewish Lagerführer, which was another name, was Abrahamchek, was his name. And there was two Lagerführers uh, Jewish uh, uh, Lagerführer they call them. And then uh, Abrahamchek came over to me and said, he also called me Hamanula. He says, "Hamanula you know that uh, the Lagerführer wants uh, eggs." He say, he says that you are stealing the eggs." I said, "Who me? I'm not stealing eggs, I'm not doing. Maybe there's uh, some chicken..." which it was true. In fact, there was a chicken, flew the coop and went over the gate, over the fence into the uh, uh, weeds. And had some eggs out there, made a nest, a good nest out there, see? And uh, every time uh, at night he came to eat. So I--you know, but I didn't know how many he had. I, I didn't count 'em. I just took care of the eggs you know, and, and make sure that the chickens are in and, and feed 'em. That's all I did. But in meantime, I got some eggs there and I, every time I went out, I locked uh, in the boiler room this Maurice uh, Goodman and he ate good and I said "Make me some and put some eggs in it, and mashed potatoes, and put some eggs in it. And that's how we're going to eat from now. Don't worry," I said. So we, we ate as much as we could. And wherever he had a chance to get food. And that was the ma...the first thing, you know. So we did that for a while. And he got mad. The Lagerführer got mad and he ordered his old Bademeister to come back, see? From the other camp, from the other Bade...Bademeister. So they brought him, the Bademeister, which was unusual, you know. And, and they brought him the Bademeister after about three or four months and I had to go out to work. So I was--everything for me was you know, different now. Now I had to go to work. So I went out to work. We worked--while we were um, removing the uh, railroad tracks and loading up on a, on a uh, box car, on a car you know, on a, on a freight car. Uh, I was up on, on top of the car. And the other boys were pushing up the uh, there wa...you know, there was a few uh, uh, lines we put up as--and we oiled it. So when you picked up a, a railroad track, they were very heavy, one track. There was about a dozen guys, picked up, put it on that thing and pushed it up, because we oiled it, every few minutes we oiled it and we pushed it up. And I was up there on top and settling you know, moving 'em down, just set 'em up nice. So before I knew I had one turned over and, and hit my toe. Yeah. Fell right on my toe. So my toe was busted--broken. And, from my left foot. So the boys had to carry me to work and from work. And while it healed up, it was already healed, I was trying to walk on my own, the same thing happened again. Twice it hit my toe--my left foot. Because they were heavy and, and they were uh, caving in like uh, giving in like. You see, and I had my foot and I didn't pulled off my foot fast enough. You see, on the end of the railroad track they have, you have two holes. And when you put the, a, a uh, crowbar--and then, and you had to--and I wasn't fast enough to pull my foot away. Not, on the other side was another boy. A couple of young kids, which I knew very good.

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