Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

In Transport

In the train?

In the train.


Uh, they would stop periodically and tell people to go under the train to relieve themselves. Uh, from time to time they would open and bring some meager food, some bread and water and some other stuff and we didn't have anything else. We would all sleep on, on the floor.

How many people would you estimate were in there?

In, in one car?


I don't know, maybe fifty, maybe eighty. It was kind of a full. Then what happened is, apparently the stop, the bathroom stops were not frequent enough and some people were able to make a hole in the floor and they put a kind of a sheet around it, and this is what people did.

Do you remember the other people who were with you in that car?

No, no I really don't remember.

What stands out most?

What stands out mostly--a mass of people piled up, almost piled up one on top of another. Grouping, families kind of a huddling, trying to, to keep one corner of that laying on, on the piles. Uh, there were no arguments that I can remember. That people, there was no uh, snapping at each other. I remember people trying to accommodate to each other and passing on that, this was so and trying to speculate where we are headed. And they are trying to speculate where we are headed by the change of the temperature that we can experience or by looking through the cracks, and when we went under the train to the bathrooms. The soldiers would not give us any information. There was no talk other than just bringing some food.

They had guns?


Soldiers had...

Yes. The soldiers had guns. And it was ordered, "Go under the trains," and, and it was ordered, "Get out from under the trains," and, and that kind of a thing. And it's strange how it happens in a condition like that, the whole notion of privacy goes out the window. There was no privacy. I remember one man coughing all the time, coughing all the time. And uh, people saying that they are, that he wakes them up. Yet there were no--they understood there wasn't anything he could do. Eventually after weeks of this kind of a transportation, we arrived at Siberia.

So you think weeks--three weeks, two?

Oh know, I would say like six weeks, eight weeks.

On the train.

The train, yes. There were stops and there were the many weeks.

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