Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sara Silow - August 8, 1993

Arrival at Auschwitz

But, but when you got to Auschwitz and the doors opened, what happened when the doors opened?

"Aus, rau..aus, raus, raus." They take--rush to go out.

Who pulled you out?

The SS mens. They are rushing us to go out.

The Germans?

Yeah, sure.

Not prisoners.

No, SS.


The SS were worst than the mens, yeah.

Worse than, worse than, than--the SS, the SS men were worst than who?

Yeah, the girls were just terrible.

The SS women, you mean.

Yeah. One time--always we were walking to, to work--walking. It was dark in the--but we have to walk. One time they took us far away--so far away that they take us on a train. So, I take out my bread, what I was supposed to eat by work, and I was taking one bite and from behind, a S...uh, SS woman she slapped my head--punched me like--I was not able to live or die. She was hitting me so much because I took my piece of bread in my mouth. She was standing behind--was not the time and I was hungry.

What happened then?


Did she finally stop?

Yeah. I was feeling this that I am dying with so much pain. She is hitting me so much.

The doors opened. Did you know where you were? You didn't know where you were, did you? You didn't know it was Auschwitz?

No. How I know?

And they said, "Raus, raus"?

Loud, yeah.

You got off and you....

Later on--I don't remember how long I was in Auschwitz--later on, they make a selection and they send us to work and I was working and, and later on to Bergen-Belsen.


Bergen-Belsen was just terrible. People dying like--just terrible. Every day trucks with dead people. You can see--you were seeing every day, so many trucks, so many trucks. And finally we got liberated and I got with the typhus. And they took me to a um, hospital in Lübeck, in Germany.


From Lübeck, they sent me to, how you call this? Sweden. In Sweden, it was just wonderful. They treat us all good, so good, yeah.

Let's take you back to that platform again.


Let's go back to the platform.


You got off. You were still with your mother and what did they say? "Line up by fives," is that what the order was? You had to...

They say nothing. They showed my mother here and me and I was here.

So there was a long line for the selection...


...and they you got up to the front of the line and what happened then? What happened when you got to the front at the selection?

After the selection.

Before--just after--at that, at that point..

They shaved our heads.

Before you--before they sent your mother in one direction and you in the other direction...


...how did you come to the front?

I don't know.

Do you remember...

I went through so much that I cannot remember everything.

So, it was a German officer who said...


Was it Mengele?

No, no. A SS men.

Just a SS man.

I never saw Mengele. Never. No.

They sent your mother in one direction and you in the other direction and you cried?

Sure. He said. "Why you are crying? Tomorrow you will see your mother."

So, then what happened?

I was a long time in Auschwitz.

Well, no, the next--I mean, your mother went off in one direction and you went another and where did you go?


Yeah. They went to shave you, is that the next thing they did?


Was there a shower or...

No, no. The German--the, the, the womens, they were shaving, yeah. And they send us to a place we were laying on the, on the, on the floor.

Well, what did you think when they shaved your head?

What? I was like a dummy. No able to, to, to think about something.

And there were others in the room--was it a large room?

This was outside, not in other room.

Oh, outside?

Outside, yeah.

And after they shaved your head, then what? You went to a different place?


Did they give you clothes? Different clothes?


A uniform? Shoes?

Nothing, nothing.

Wooden shoes?

For the work they give us--everybody got the same ???. They call this a ??? in stripes, in stripes, yeah.

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