Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Conditions in the Außenkommando


...and it had to be cut. So they sent me you know, sent me back in there. And somebody cut it. They cut it for me. And it shot up all the way up to the ceiling. A big boil, pus. And at that time, while, after he cut it all open, I felt good. So I didn't go back to work, I went back to the barracks. So I went out to see what I can organize to eat. We called it organize. So I went up by the kitchen there, and I saw a uh, delivering some beets. Um, they called it uh, Kohlraben.


Kohlraben they called it. Anyway, yellow.


I--they were as big as, as a uh, We have here the uh, melons.


Cantaloupe. A...as big as cantaloupe, yeah. But it was a hard, nothing in the center, it was hard. Kohlraben they called it. And I stole one of those and put it under my arm and put the jacket over. And I was walking down the hall. While I walked down the hall comes up the uh, the uh, SS, the SS uh, Führer, SS Führer with the dog, a big German Shepherd dog and with a whip. And he says, "Hey, hold it." He says, "What are you doing there, hold it. What do you got there?" So I said, "Nothing, nothing," you know, says, "nothing." So I said, "Well I, I, I just have this you know, I just have this..." What am I going to tell him? "And I just have this because I work there," I say, "he gave me." That's what I said in German, you know. So, so he says, "He gave you? Nobody gave you here, nobody would give you this here. Give me this here. Take that off and put it back there," he says. "Put this back in the room where you're supposed to put it." See? So I went back and put it back there. Then, then he comes along with the German Shepherd and tells the German Shepherd, he says, "Go Fassen!" Fassen means get him. "Fassen!" And the German Shepherd comes up to me, and he runs up close to me for roar and growls and, and, and sticks out his teeth, but he wouldn't jump on me. He wouldn't do it. So he whips--he gives me one with the whip and hit me right under the eyes somewhere with the whip. It was bleeding so. I don't remember where it was. And, and then I, I put something on it, I don't know what it--but who care. You know, I didn't care about a, a, a whip. I wasn't afraid of a whip anymore. So uh, I went back into the room and everything. But the dog wouldn't do anything to me. No, no, I had, I had such a luck with the dogs that they, they wouldn't jump on me, they wouldn't. I stopped and looked at the dog, just looked in his eyes and they wouldn't jump on me. They wouldn't...


Yeah, they wouldn't tear me. You know, otherwise, they, they'd tear a person apart. Those, those dogs were--I was not afraid of a dog. I was not--never afraid of a dog. So he--they didn't, he didn't do anything to me except he uh, whipped, he gave me a, a lash. Yeah. He whipped me that time. That's uh, Außenkommando Buchenwald. For a while I, I, I had a German there which used to leave me a half a bread sometimes in a locker. And I, I had to be the first into the I was in the first and when, when it came to go to work I ran. And I ran good, I took everybody. You know, I was uh, first one, so before anybody can see it. I was right into the wo...into the uh, locker, grabbed a half a bread, put it under my uh, put it under my shirt and little by little I ate up every--so once in a while he gave me, he left me half a bread in there. He was a tall, nice, nice man. I would talk to him a lot of times. And he, he was against, he was against uh, Nazis. Yeah, he was against Nazi. I wouldn't be surprised that he did the uh, the, uh...


...sabotage, yeah. But he was a nice man, nice looking man. And he talked to me a lot. He built uh, he was the, the master of the uh, wings, he built the wings. He was a nice man. That's the second man I ran across which was nice, you know. Otherwise, not too many. Believe you me, I, I didn't have too much luck with uh, eh. So uh, now, where was I at? Um, uh...

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