Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982


When I came in with the typhoid, I uh, had to get undressed completely and where did I pick a bunk? On top again. Picked a bunk on top and one blanket. That's all. They just gave you a blanket and, and, and that's all you had. And, and remember when the typhoid started on me. First thing I, I, I get the shivers fir...and I didn't know already it started. I didn't know what happened to me already and all of a sudden I start screaming. And, and, and, and all of a sudden it's like a rain of bugs came down, which were bugs, it was full of bugs there. The beds and everything was full of bugs. And like hundreds of them, a thousand came and attacked me. That was the typhoid, that was the, the bugs. They get at you, see? So then uh, uh, thousands of bugs settled on you and then you're--it's like in a dream, you disappear, you just, in, in a twilight zone. And I, I just--I went down completely into the twilight zone. And that's why I felt in the twilight zone, I, I felt--I was running, I saw my parents. I was uh, uh, meeting uh, people which I was friends with and they would give me food. They gave me food. Everybody was giving me food, "Here eat, here eat." For two weeks. I came out of it. I remember the first day, I was running up on, on the bunks. I was running, I want to kill myself. There was a big, big wooden table made out of a tree, something, and I wanted to jump on it. And I remember the, the boys were talking to me, those two brothers. All three came running and they said, "Don't do it, don't do it please, don't do it." And I was up there, I was all ready to jump, ready to jump. And finally they were talking to me and they grabbed me and they put me down and say...And uh, I was screaming, "I'm going to kill myself." I, I was out of my skull you know, I was out of my mind. I, I, I couldn't feel anything anymore. So, the--those boys were taking care of me. I made under me, I did everything. Whatever, you, you know, it, it's un...unbelievable. And they cleaned up after me, and, and, and they, they did everything and they kept me, and they gave me food, extra food. See, typhoid if you don't have food, enough food, or good nourishment after that, you--you're left with a lot of scars, see? So what I think I got from the typhoid is, I have a spot on my lungs. And a lot of other things which I, I probably don't know myself what I have. And uh, they brought me back to life. And I remember the first time they took me over to the window, it was a small window with little bars. And I looked out and all the people looked to me like ants. I still couldn't focus. And so, the people looked like little ants from--so at that time I was weak and I had swollen feet. My feet swell up like uh, uh, it felt like a balloon, you put your finger in 'em, and, and it was like a balloon, soft like that. So from there, they transferred. See, the ones who died they left in that room, the ones who recovered they took next door into the other room across the hall. It was another room--the ones who recovered. Uh, I recovered. They gave me a uh, a shirt to wear, a long shirt you know, like a nightgown. And we wore those nightgowns and I still was laying there dreaming and dreaming. I didn't know what happened to me and finally came back. And, and every day when I went down I had to step over bodies, over friends and I didn't even want to look at their faces because it was--I wouldn't, didn't want to see them. So uh, every day we had to go down and wash, in the washroom. And I remember walking the steps. It was like, every step was like uh, somebody hitting over the head with a, with a sledgehammer, every step. So I ca...I came down in the washroom and saw a lot of those friends laying there. And uh, no--I did what I had to do and I went back into the room and laid there for a few weeks 'til I recovered, a couple three weeks at least. Recovered a little bit. And then when I recovered uh, they sent me back to Faulbrück , see? I was already in Faulbrück once before, yeah. So when I recovered they sent me back into Faulbrück with swollen feet uh, blisters around my waist uh, shingles, shaking. Uh, it was itching, itching, it was itching all over. It's from weakness. I was still weak. And a few days later, after a while I was going out to work. I was picked out to work and I worked outside where we were building block--a barracks out of blocks. It was made for the French people and the Ukrainian people and we worked. And I worked around uh, with a foreman, a Jewish foreman--he was a nice guy. And SS--two SS on each side watching us. It was about fifteen, twenty guys working on that. I remember where I ran into the garbage can, I ran into the garbage can and picked out some slimy uh, rotten potatoes. They were already green and slimy and I ate that. And I was all sick that time in my stomach and everything. I was uh, and throwing up when I came back. But in, in, in, in a few days later I just you know, got together with the--I used to talk to the SS sometimes. They liked me. I was a young kid and I talked with German and, and, and, and uh, uh, from Upper Silesia, some were more and most of 'em were in there. And they, he says, a lot of them say, "What are you doing here?" You know. So I say, I said, "What do you mean what I'm doing here, I'm a Jew. Don't you know?" So, so they turned you know, they turned away and didn't know what to say. So uh, I got a little friendly with this one SS man and I said, "I have to go to the bathroom." When I told him I have to go to the bathroom, I jumped into the barracks. There were already, some--those blocks when I, I, we were finished off the cement on the outside, some of the barracks were already French people living there. And they were getting packages from home. And when they're getting cakes or so and they were moldy, they were throwing 'em out in the garbage can. And I smelled it right away. I had to go and see what there is to eat. I ran in there and I looked around. And I found the garbage is outside the door and it was moldy, moldy cakes and all kinds of stuff and I stuffed myself behind my shirt. I always had a string around my waist.

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