Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982


You said now that since you were able to get food you were feeling a little bit better.

Yes, I was getting a little bit better and, and uh, they helped me a lot. And usually on Sundays when we went out, on Sunday a special group would go into work in Breslau. With the truck they're taking and I could already walk a little bit better and, and I felt better so I volunteered as a special group on Sundays. And uh, we went to work in, in warehouses where they were storing potatoes. We were storing potatoes and we used to carry potatoes, sacks of potatoes and store 'em. So uh, while we were working there, by the time, the time came--we worked there 'til four o'clock in the morning, we start around eleven to four. And while we working there, by the time came to go home, I had already tied my pants on the bottom with string, very hard and stuffed some potatoes in my pants. And uh, under my shirt and everything. Everybody did. That's why I volunteered because I saw what happened. And uh, we came back to the camp luckily. Uh, I was able to exchange some fifty-some potatoes for a pair of shores. That was my main, my, my main trouble. I couldn't walk. So I traded in to the shoemaker there. He said he has a pair of shoes, will fit me. And, and I told him I'm going to give him some potatoes this Sunday when I come back. So I gave him the potatoes and he traded in for a pair of shoes. And I was lucky, the shoes fit me. Well, fit or not, I woulda wore 'em anyhow. Uh, so, they were not wooden soles anymore, so it didn't rub like this and my feet started healing up a little bit. And there uh, the girls were sent away to different camps. I was oh, in Klet...in Klettendorf I volunteered once. Fifty young kids they wanted to volunteer. They're going to get a extra bowl of soup after everything. Uh, volunteer for what? I didn't know what it was. But it was a typhoid carrier. A needle under my heart. A big long needle under the heart. So fifty boys, young boys volunteered. They gave us a good dish of soup that time. So you, the, the spoon stuck in it. You know, that was our way to measure how good the uh, the meal is. If the spoon stuck in it, you know. So it, it was a good meal that time. And I didn't know, didn't know what the needle was for until I found out later when I became sick, you know. And I, I was a carrier, a typhoid carrier. So fifty of us were carrying typhoid. After this--well, I was still working there a while. I had friends here and I had a friend in the kitchen from my hometown where I could get a little bit more food. That was my main thing, was food. I didn't care what kinda work I do. And also, in, in Klettendorf was a sugar town. They were making sugar. So they were growing beets.


Okay. It's all in here. Then a few of us decided that we're going to dig a hole under the gate, uh, under the uh, uh, fence. And got into the fields, the sugar fields and get some sugar beets around my--I went out, we decided to, to go. A couple of guys, me and another guy and the rest of them were watching. And we went out and stuffed ourselves with beets, the branches and everything. And we uh, stuffed ourselves with the uh, which we took a chance that time. Well, we woulda, would have been shot if they'd seen. It was between two uh, guards, on top. So um, it was very dark that night and we dug out a hole with our hands. And we went through there and stuffed ourselves with the beets all the way around. And we came back and that was a delicatessen, you know. That was delicious. We--but we didn't eat it raw. Of course a lot of guys ate, ate it raw. But what we did is put it in the oven when we had the oven going. We put it in the oven, in the ashes and it was liked a baked potato, but it was a baked beet. And it was so good. That--yeah. And I could--so this way I could switch with boys. I kept on uh, each other you know, one guy smoked and he wanted cigarettes for it and one guy--we, we did, we didn't know you, switched with potatoes. The guys who had potatoes want beets and the ones had beets--somehow we, we managed to get something you know, and, and we ate those uh, beets. And uh, it, it wasn't too bad. I, I got back on my feet. As long--my holes healed up in my ankles and uh, I could be back myself. From there, from there they send us to um, Graeditz. Graeditz

[pause] Graeditz was a camp, it was a filthy, muddy field where we were standing every day in the mud, sinking. People are sinking down, all the way down from my ankles with mud. It was a rebuilt thing from a, from a material, they were making material uh, a factory like, uh...

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