Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Arriving at Gross-Rosen

But just coming on to Gross-Rosen, coming to Gross-Rosen was another story. Before we entrance--before we had to entrance the--this camp, guards was standing over there from both sides mit cane in the hand. Orchestra was standing and played music. We supposed to walk in as--like soldiers. Straight.

Who was playing in this orchestra?

This orchestra was also concentration uh, KZ uh, people from the concentration camps. Of, course...


Who knows? Was other people too, but most were Jewish. Was a KZ orchestra. Was standing playing and we supposed to walk like soldiers. No, how could we walk like soldiers when we couldn't straighten out ourselves? And both sides was SS guards mit canes in the hand and, and they start beating us up from the right and left. [long pause] Everybody was covered with blood. Now when we walked into the camp we marched down a slope. The camp was lower than the entrance. We was going like, lower and lower and lower. We felt like we were going down lower and lower und the SS people were just knocking us from both sides. So naturally we wanted to bend down, because everybody wanted to cover his head. I said to myself, "If I ever had a hope, then I just lost it in Gross-Rosen." Now coming to inside to the camp in Gross-Rosen, before the barrack, was a big ditch around--surrounded around the barrack mit water. I don't know how deep it was but it was like a ten foot width. To the door was just one piece of wood laying and we had to go through this piece of wood and run into the barrack. The same story from both sides was the guard start knocking over head that we should go faster. Two people couldn't walk, was just uh, a narrow piece of wood, so naturally we hold back the whole crowd, and just one was in the--this piece of wood was shaking because--and behind everybody was going one after one--the other one, you know. But in the mean time they killed a lot of people just by pushing in us to the--that we should go faster to this um, to this barrack. Lots of people fell in, in the ditch. I don't know what's happened. Nobody cared about this time. You got--you didn't even turn around your head to see what's happened. You could help them anyways. So coming into inside in the camp was nothing there. Was just an empty walls around there. Not a floor, not a chair, not a bed. Mud and wet. We was so many people we hadn't got place, like to make yourself a little bit comfortable. They're asking us to lay down on the floor. Now how could you lay down? Nobody wants to be the first one in. The first one never come out because he's down, in the mud.

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