Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Arriving at Buchenwald

...on the train station?

On the train station, all of sudden they start bombing. The Russian was coming, they start bombing there. And we was several cars. We was on one side, across from us was another train mit just girls. I heard later there was 2,000 girls--Jewish girls. And they start bombing the train, and the station. And the cars start flying up and down. Pieces was flying--people got killed. Even the Germans got killed. One of the guards got killed, you know. We didn't know where to hide. We hide under the, under the wheels from the--under the cars but the cars ??? Anyways that was going on for a couple of hours. After its quiet down, these guards what still was alive start calling for the still alive, for the KZ people and they took us together and they brought us to Buchenwald. Coming to Buchenwald--that another story. Buchenwald--the bombing got the bombing of Buchenwald too. We came in, we supposed to go to a bath. They asked us to take off all the clothes. They took us to the bath, took away all the clothes, what we got. We went into the bath, was not any hot water. We supposed to go to the disinfection. Was no water, everything was bombed. We had to wait 'til it's gonna be fixed up. We was standing over there for three days--two and a half days and two nights. We was standing in the line. We was pressing each other mit the backs and we rubbed each other to get a little warmed up--nackt. Mit nothing on, on the body, mit nothing on, on, on the body. No food. No water. No nothing. We couldn't go away because what we was jammed in, in this room. You couldn't go to toilet, you just made it the way you--whatever you had to need--you needs--you just made it where you was standing. After the third--in the third day in the afternoon, around four' o'clock the good things was coming up. The thing was fixed and the water start coming--the hot water and the disinfection. And from there there're they took us to another room, nackt, for the towels. Some people got right away uh, on the uh, spot getting pneumonia and this and who ever survived, survived. And over there we start getting a little bit clothes uh, pants, shoes, jacket. We haven't got any underwear. And they took us, they took us--over there was an assemble hall. They used to call this Kino. I don't know why, but that's what--the way they called it. Over there, coming in the Kino they put us so many people in this place. It was the same story; we had to stand, we had no place--there wasn't any benches or chairs to sit. We just were standing crowded, on to the other one. And thats was Buchenwald. An order came that sick people should register. The life was so miserable which we, which we uh, know the sick people probably gonna be liquidated--the first ones, but I still said to my brother, "Let's register as, as sick people. What the hell." What's--sooner or later what we have to suffer, so another week, two weeks so we registered as sick people. But it just happened that Buchenwald was a little different than in all the other camps. Buchenwald to me was more a political camp. The way we heard over there was also like 75,000 people in this camp, but was from all countries. Probably from, from uh, half of the world was Russian, French people and um, lots of Communists. As a matter of fact, we had this Leon Blum. If you heard--you know Leon Blum was the prime minister of France?


Was there too. And we registered as sick people, and they put us on the barracks uh, 73. We heard over there talking--I don't saw him, Leon Blum, but I heard talking that Leon Blum was in the second barrack.

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