Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Transport to Auschwitz

...and uh, packed us up in uh, in fact, it wasn't a freight train, it was a personal train, you know.


Passenger train, yeah. And they--we start moving the train. And there was a lot of SS guards guarding us in there. And the train start moving and here I see we're passing and going into Poland. We're passing our town, back when--we're passing Modz...Modrzejów. Mysłowice is right there where the train passed. And then we was going to Auschwitz. So we were, we were taken into Auschwitz on that train. On the day we uh, got in there, we were waiting on the tracks, on the sidetracks. We were waiting there. We were looking out because we had windows, see?

Can I ask you a question at this point?


You mentioned Auschwitz a couple of times in conversation. Did you have any idea about what was happening at Auschwitz?

Uh, we heard about, yeah. We heard about that uh, I knew that a lot of people went out through the chimney. That's what we were talking. Yeah, we heard about it. But still you didn't believe--you don't believe until you see it. It's a very, it was a very hard thing to believe, that people can do things like that you know, to other people. We were on the sidetrack. And it was getting already dark. Almost--we were there maybe six hours or so. And uh, on the, on the other tracks were coming in trains with boxcars, with people packed in there with the uh, striped suits and everything. Dead people. They opened up the, the thing. We were s...we saw. They opened up the, the uh, doors and people falling out and they were already there with trucks and with wheels, two wheelers to pull 'em you know, the dead people they picked up on the two wheelers. It was all--it was done by uh, prisoners. They picked them up and they took 'em to the gas chamber and they took uh, uh, the other people lined up and everything and they marched them in and everything. And uh, all the six hours we saw new trains coming and unloading people and people crying and there was uh, uh, all kind of moaning and, and, and, and, and cryings and all kinda--and at that time uh, we were walking around and pulling our hair out you know, and doing, "What we going to do, and what are we going to do? Now this is it, this is the end of everything." And uh, I--and, and, and I begged God to turn me into a mouse. So turn in, "God, please turn me into a mouse or a rat so I can get outta here, please? I won't be mad at you." [pause] So we couldn't--we, we saw what happened, we saw what's going to be with us and we, we just--no other way you can, you can do it. What can you do? If you have something like a gun or something you can probably--but you don't have a gun, you have no knife, you don't have nothing, you can't do nothing. But you still don't believe until you come to the end, see? And I said "No, I'm going to go to the end." I, I--then I said, "I'm going to the end, all the end through. I don't care what's going to happen. I'm going to the end, if I, if I have to go to the gas chamber I'll go. But I'm, I'm, I'm sticking with it. I'm not going to try running because I, I can't run. There's no way." We passed uh, where our hometown was, I knew. Uh, uh, Mysłowice is just next to our town, was on the other side of the border on the German side, see? So I knew everything there. I used to go to school there in Mysłowice when I was six years old, see? So uh, where they took us already finally they came and took us in and we--they took me into a quarantine--Birkenau where I was tattooed you know, Birkenau. Auschwitz was two, two, two miles away and Birkenau was next to it. And Birkenau was a, was a--like a transit also. A quarantine they called it. So they took us into Birkenau. And uh, we came in and we had to go through, through that to Auschwitz and everything, we saw. And we saw the chimneys. It was night already and the sky was lit up uh, with, with, with kind of--and smoke from the people. The smell of it was uh, you know, un...unbearable. And all, we didn't, we didn't talk, we just--and everybody was holding like this, it was very tight. And, and everybody thought this is the end. We're walking into the chimneys now. Now we're going to go out where our parents went. And we kept uh, we kept walking and walking. And, and all of a sudden they took us into a barrack and, and tell us to undress. Then they took us in into a place where the windows were broken out and it was very cold and windy and snowy and they told us to get undressed. And that's why they tried not to use any bullets. They were trying to use uh, uh, you take a shower, they'd give us a shower and then let you out without wiping yourself or something like that and you get pneumonia, see? Whoever could last, lasted and a lot of guys got sick and they didn't last. And we wore, that was in the, next day in the morning, see? Well, next day they took us into Birkenau to the camp where we were tattooed. There was a barrack in there, we slept in the--on the floor. There was no, no nothing. No bunks, nothing. The floor. And I could see already, on the floor I could see already made out of mud. There was a pocket watch in the mud, there was a ring in the mud. And there was, I--that people were there before me, see? And, and, and there were all the dirt, and what do I need this. I said, "I'm not going to take anything. I don't need it. I'm going where they went." So uh, whoever had anything they left there in this barrack. And this barrack, from this barrack we slept on the floor all night. We get--next day we got into the uh, tattooing and shaving and everything. Came into the, the prisoners in the striped thing and they gave us--we didn't have prisoner stripe yet. So they gave us striped clothes and, and no underwear. And they tattooed that time. B10861, I got. And they shaved us with dull razors all over. And then we had to go through a pool with Lysol. If you had a pair of shoes, you could hand held over your head. If you had a belt or something you could hold over your head. But otherwise your head had to go in, into Lysol. That, they called that Entlausung. So we had to go, after the shaving and everything we had to go through the pool. Come out on the other side. Start on one side and, and that Lysol was a, a very strong disinfectant.

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