Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Leaving Blechhammer

What did you do? Then you crawled away, uh...

No. They called us to stand up--the rest--when they stopped shooting we had to assemble again. So now, as you know, Adol...Adolf Eichmann, known as the Angel of Death, everybody knew it. Ordered for humanitarian reasons to destroy the Jews quickly. The inmates were told that they were going to work in better conditions. First they were ordered to take off--take a bath, und have their clothing disinfected uh, disin...uh, fected. As soon the people got there--as every person entered, right away the doors of the bath were shut tightly and locked.

Where was this?

Blechhammer, which they called Auschwitz III.

Okay, so then after you--after that when the Germans shot down people you were...


...taken back to Blechhammer?

We was in Blechhammer to this time.

Oh it's still--oh...

We still stuck in Blechhammer.

Oh, okay, okay.

People screamed as they choked from the uh, gas fumes. In a few minutes it was quiet. Soon the vic...victims was buried in the ??? in this camp. Blechhammer operated around the clock. Some six million people was perished.

Did you see this? Did you see this with your eyes?


You saw the people who were...

I don't count the six million peoples.

You saw the people go into the...

That's what I told you. I saw this. When I was there in the line waiting for the bread and I saw the bunches, the--when the fire was on, mit, mit the guns. When the shoot at us and people laying down. Of course the other people hold on from when they shoot. After they stop shooting, they got uh, they ask to stand up who is alive.

Did you see the baths--did you the see the, the shower rooms that they had?

Yes. We saw it. I--we--I wasn't inside. We was just around outside by the furnace, by the, by the, by the crematoriums--everything on the right place. They was just inside in the, in the, in the camp. It wasn't part of the--it was between the camps. Now they started--we started going out from the uh, we start going out from Blechhammer to Gross-Rosen. The trip took us three weeks.

By what? How?


How were you, how were you taken to Gross-Rosen?

By feet. Walking.

You were walking?


When was this? What, what month?

That was the end of uh, 1944.

In the winter time there?

Winter time. It just impossible to describe this march. I wouldn't go around and keep all the ??? telling now. People fell. The guard--which the SS guard, shoot through the lines if somebody--by walking, we had to walk in uh, armed five people in the lines. As a matter of fact, we had a sick brother, that's him what is was here. Me and my other brother hold him in the line. If we would left him, he would be shot, so we was afraid. He was very sick and he uh, had--he was red from temperature, I bet he had 103 or 104 fever. And uh, he couldn't walk. He wanted to stay, but we no wanted to leave him. We feed him on the route mit snow--every couple of minutes, we picked up a little snow. We gave him a little--somehow he survived. How? Just a miracle. That's a long story. But I make the story short. I don't want to describe the whole story--the whole march to Gross-Rosen.

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