Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Conditions under Germans

What were the conditions like on a daily basis now that you returned home um, for those who remained?

The conditions?

Your grandmother, your mother.


Uh, what, what did they do on a daily basis for food?

Well, we had uh, usually before winter sets in you know, we used to fill up the uh, uh, basement with potatoes and my mother used to make uh, uh, sauerkraut and we used to--my mother used to make pickles, used to--b...big barrels. And that's how we lived uh, and then we had uh, we bought meat from the butcher, kosher butcher. And we had some people which had uh, stores which we knew. And this is how we lived, uh. My father used to still deal once in a while and if anybody in town, for instance, like a uh, uh, mill needed horses or so--they came to my father and he okayed the horses. And uh, they used to buy--they called it Belgium horses. There was heavy like uh, uh, Clydesdale horse, horses yeah, the heavy horses, for heavy work. See there was no tractors or cars or, or, or trucks. So they had to have horses. And my father okayed a horse. It had to be--a horse had to be young and strong. So and if he said it's okay then they bought the horse. Everything had to go through my father if they wanted to buy a horse. And he got paid for it. So once in a while he was still making a few dollars. And uh, that's how we lived. And my brother Abi was a tailor which he worked in the house. Had his own room and he you know, the kids were used to work and bring home the uh, you know, paid for everything, you know.

Did uh, you ever have to go back working for the German who you described before um, with the dogs?

With the dogs? Well, I was uh, uh, uh, steady thing since the dogs didn't do anything to me, didn't attack me. So I used to go every so often--three or four times a week. Because they would never send any girls there. You see they, they wanted service. And I remember I used to cut chickens heads off and uh, you know, we were doing the chores for them. Put the coals in the uh, ovens and all kinda, ev...a whole day's work. And me and my boyfriend were there that time when I was, when he said, "Take him!" to the dogs and they would not do. I just looked at them, I said, this was it. And I just looked at them and opened up my eyes and looked at them sharp and they wouldn't budge. So that why, he, he asked me if I have a dog, and I said "Yes, we have a dog. I always was around dogs." We had a lot of animals. So uh, he says, "Oh now I understand why they wouldn't attack you." But otherwise they used to attack everybody. Every day somebody else came home with a torn arm or torn behind or, or something.

Did you have to do any other kind of work for the Germans?

Oh yeah, we used to shovel snow and all kinda, all kinda stuff until '41 when I went to the uh, camps.

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