Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009

Forced Labor

And while you were there--you said you went to work for them.


And what work were you doing?

Uh, our barracks were just a, a uh, fence away from the crematorium and they brought...


Should I keep on talking?


So, what was I saying? Uh, yes, they brought the clothing that they took off the dead people and they brought it to us and there were several barracks that they were sorting it out. There was a pharmacist--a, an inmate pharmacist--who recognized the, the medicines. And it was in one--and there was a huge box where all the jewelry went and our job was--they, they sorted it out into twelve pillowcases and twelve sheets and we carried those. We were a Trägerkommando; we were carrying it into, it into the uh, warehouse. And one time a truck came with two drivers to pick up the jewelry so, I think, a cousin of mine and I lifted the box--the--it's a crate--onto the truck, and as the driver was driving with us, they asked us will we give them some jewelry and they'll bring us salami and bread. And we did give them jewelry but we didn't realize that if we got caught they would be dead and we would be dead. And we never heard from them. It was just--and uh, so they--people brought big quilts and blankets and we carried those in a warehouse and then these things were, were shipped to the orphanages for the widows of the soldiers.

In Germany.

Yes and uh, you know, sometimes we would find jars of jam and inside was jewelry.

What did you do when you found that? Did anybody ever try to smuggle them?

We were scared to keep them, hold onto it, because, you know, we were, were searched every time when we would go into the, into the sauna or out and uh, we were just too scared of the Germans. We knew what they were like uh, you know, some people tried--I had friends and they knew people across the uh, the fence in the children's lager, so they would throw package of little food that we had and uh, this girl was caught. And again, Mengele happened to be that day in, in Birkenau and he ordered for her to be whipped fifty times. After twenty-five times she passed out, they poured water on her and kept on bea...beating her. She managed to continue and she was there with her mother and her sister and they, they had to watch that. And uh, uh, she came to the United States; she lived in Los Angeles and died at the age of fifty-two--heart, heart condition. And she has a sister in West Bloomfield uh, Kathy Satler, I think you met her.

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