Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982



...the deep hole. They threw the leather away. I didn't, I kept it. But thereafter I said, "Oh I was stupid. I could have been killed for that. They could have shot me and threw me in the hole there, right there." So I was stupid, I said, "I should have thrown, doing what they," but it was too late already, so I kept it. And tied good, see? So, so they didn't find anything. So we went into Buchenwald at twelve midnight, and next day--and everybody had to get up from the barracks and said, "All the Jewish prisoners came in last night have to get up, out, in the morning." It was, it was April the 11th. "Everybody came in last night--twelve o'clock," they were going around and a...and announcing, you know. "Twelve o'clock, all the Jewish prisoners came in last night twelve midnight have to come now and to stand in front of the block." So uh, we went out--everybody went out. What can you do, you know. I said, "I'm going to the end." Well, I could have run into block with Yugoslavian or anybody, they wouldn't recognize me, they couldn't tell who I uh, was. I spoke a lot of languages. I could have been, yeah...But who, who can do that? You know, you're afraid, afraid to move. And they wouldn't let you in because they were watching their people. They knew each other, you know. Every, every block had--knew already. Every room knew their people. But I took a chance and they--and we went, they, they took us in, into the, to uh, to take a shower. To take a shower means gas, to the gas chamber. They had us three times stand out and wait for us, we'll take you in. And we took it three times. The third time I was already undressed and I was supposed to go in, into the door, to the shower, to be gassed. And they said, "Everybody out, disperse. Everybody disperse, everybody back in the Boden." In the barracks--means the Boden. So we went back. And the third time when we looked out, I looked out through the window, we heard pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, the machine guns already. Yeah. Another half an hour I would have been gone. Another half an hour, so that was my third, third time picked to the gas chamber, see? And the Kapos were running with guns. They were bleeding. One was bleeding. And then, they, and then they put out on, on a blocks, on a big block they put out a white sheet with like a red cross or something so they know not to bomb us, you know. And, and they were fighting with the SS and down, I was looking out through the window, I saw--I, I heard pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa. The SS were running, they all--the SS was watching then, the watchmen.


The watchtower, they were gone. They all were gone. And all of a sudden everybody's running around kissing each other, hugging each other. "Hey, we're free, we're free! Hugging each other, kissing each other and everything. So I was healthy for about two weeks. Very good. That's not the end yet. I was healthy for two weeks. And all of a sudden it was a cold day in April and Eisenhower came to talk. He was the uh, the uh, general, see? I was liberated by the American. Eisenhower came to talk and a few others came to talk, generals. So we were standing on the Appellplatz. Uh, on, on the uh, it was big, it was cold, no underwear. And listening, see? And while I was healthy for two weeks we were running out, out of Buchenwald out of the gates. Made holes in the, in the, in the uh, fences. We're running out to the SS Kaserne. That means the S...SS where they used to live. And we used to organize to eat. And meantime the bear was shot. There was a bear out in front of Buchenwald. It, it said on the gate in Buchenwald, on the gate it said "Arbeit macht frei." See, that means work makes you free. Yeah. And some places said "Arbeit macht, macht los laden frei," see. So there was a bear in Buchenwald in front of the gate. They shot the bear. In fact, one, a, a few, couple of my friend went out and got some bear meat. And we were running around and I ran into a dog's uh, hou...doghouse where they had the dogs with the biscuits. And I grabbed a whole bunch of biscuits--and that was already after the Germans were gone. A, a bunch of biscuits. Stuffed myself. You had to be careful not to get uh, uh, stampeded there. There was people like, like uh, ants. And you had to be careful to come out of there when you walked in there. There were people with ants, right. I ate those biscuits. I came back into the bunk. I ate a lot of those biscuits. And at that day when, day when the Americans came in, they made a, a, a, a, a soup, peas and pork and it was no good. Peas and bacon, you know. And it was no good for us. And I got the dysentery uh, at that time. But, what I want to tell you is about when I went out to listen to Eisenhower talk, I got blue in my hands and my feet all over purple. And I was cold, I was shaking. And I got stiff, paralyzed completely. My hands and my feet were all complete paralyzed. And I curled--I went up on the third bunk when I came back. Also on, on a wooden barrack, it was Block 32. And I couldn't get down anymore. I curled up like a snake. The boys took me down and they, they, they formed a, a hospital there. And Auerbach was a German Jew, was a doctor and he was the head of this...

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