Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983

Sanitary Conditions in Jaworzno

Um, in Jaworzno, what kind of sanitary conditions existed? Was there running water, were there latrines that were relatively sanitary or... ?

There were... No, just latrines. There was no running water. There were wells but the water was terrible.

So, no one drank the water...

Because the area was full of coal mines, probably for that reason. I think it was full of sulfur. That's what I think.

Did anyone drink that water?

Yes, we were drinking it. Many people were getting uh, dysentery from it but we were drinking it.

Was there a... There were 3,500 prisoners, was there a latrine in each barracks?

No. At night we had um, big drums at the door and during the daytime there were latrines, not inside the barracks, we had to walk out. But at night, we were not allowed to walk out.

Was there a uh, Scheissmeister in the latrine?

On the construction project there was a Scheissmeister and prisoners were not allowed to be in the, on the, in the latrine for more than uh, five minutes. After five minutes, the Scheissmeister came with a stick and chased the prisoner out of the latrine.

Were people killed in any of these places?

Well, the Scheissmeister on the construction project was a Greek. And he tried to help the prisoners as much as he could. A Greek prisoner.

Greek Jew?

Greek Jew.

You said there was dysentery, uh...

Dysentery was very common.

Were there other diseases too?

Pneumonia in the fall.

And edema?

And edema.

Which is a swelling of the ankles...

Swelling of the ankles and the face, yes.

Uh, just one other question, you, you had an eye injury and you were in the infirmary, was there a doctor in the hospital?

Yes, I was treated by a Czech doctor from Karlsbad, his name was Dr. Pauw. Very, very fine person.

Also a prisoner?

Also a prisoner.

Jewish prisoner?

Jewish prisoner. Very fine person. He tried to help me as much as he could, really.

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