Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982


Yeah. Powerful disinfecter. So, imagine being uh, raw, shaved with dull razors and everything. And that, that burned them. I saw the stars and the moon and everything. And after this they gave us the uh, uniforms, had striped uniforms. And uh, I happened to get a big one. They didn't care who, but--so I, I traded with another guy, a big tall guy. And I had a smaller one. So we traded. We did on our own. And uh, in Birkenau I was on Block 12. There were so many blocks in one row. So it was a Block 12. Next to us, next camp to us was, was a woman camp. And, and one day I walked out when there was a selection. I walked out from, from the barrack, Barrack 12 and it was a selection there with women and I walked to the back door with three friends of mine, we kept together from the other camps yet, and all of a sudden they start shooting at us because we're not supposed to watch. See we didn't watch. Actually we walked out that time and we were going somewhere, I don't know where we going. But they thought that we were watching. And, and they were shooting and, and you should see me jumping like a gazelle. That's how I jump, like a gazelle from one--see, there was puddles of water. It was springtime already, I think. I jumped like a gazelle, back and forth, because they were shooting at us through the wires. Now the wires were electrical. All with, with thing, with the uh, insulators, you know. It has--I don't know what uh, power it had, but uh, a lot of guys who wanted to end their life they, all they did is just go onto the wires, that's all. So a few did. And after uh, there being in Birkenau for a couple weeks, I saw it's not going to be good. It's not going to be good. So they were asking for uh, mechanics. "Anybody a mechanic here?" So I said, "I'm a plumber." And they asked--they had tools on them and fittings, plumbing fittings. And they asked me, and they asked me on a elbow what it is. So I said, "Elbow," they call it to the elbow too, the Ellbogen.


Ellbogen. That's elbow. So I said it's Ellbogen, yeah. Once before in Breslau, I worked with a guy which was building barracks for the people working in a factory for the Germans. And I worked with a guy from Upper Silesian and he liked me and I worked as a plumber with him, see? So I knew all those things. And uh, in fact, he said one time, he says, "I wish I could take you home with me," he says. "but I can't, I'm afraid." he says. He said, "I'll--if I put you in my basement and, and, and keep you there," he says. "but I can't." But we saw each other in Breslau working. Every day I worked with him and we used to build wooden barracks. And he built--he was the plumber there, he was building. And I helped him, I was the helper. So I knew all the parts. They asked me the parts, I said Ellbogen. So they said, "Okay, that I'm a mechanic." So what they looking for mechanics is to send to Außenkommando, Außenkommando Buchenwald. Außenkommando Buchenwald they were making airplane wings. And airplane wings--it was uh, quite a few miles away from, from Buchenwald, see? Where they call it Außenkommando Buchenwald. Uh, the name of it...I forgot the name of the--also, some, also made into, from a, a textile place made into a barracks to live in there.

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