Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sally Tuchklaper - March 2, 1983

Being Transported from Auschwitz

And how long then was it that you stayed in Auschwitz?

I stayed about seven or eight months and then we were transported out about three-hundred women to another camp. This was in Czechoslovakia. This was a little bit different already. There were factories which they took us to work. We went to work every day. Went out in the morning, come home at night and I happened to work in a factory from--they were making gas masks. Gas masks. And I happened to work for a machine too, and my sister happens to work next door to another factory, which she was a welder all of a sudden that they taught her. You know, we had to work even if you didn't know how to do it, they showed you once, and that's how you had to do it, and if you didn't do it right you knew what you gonna get.

Let me ask you a question--let's go back for a moment. Did you volunteer for this work or were there any choices?

There, there was no volunteering. There was no volunteering. You were told you going in the morning to work, and that's all.

How were these three hundred women taken from Auschwitz to the factory in Czechoslovakia?


And again, I'd like to ask you if you can describe the conditions on this transport.

The transport was small--I think, was one or two days and was reasonable because um, they needed us there and we were all young people, so wasn't that bad 'til we arrived. And down there they needed us to go to work. The factory has to go. They need the gas masks, they need the uniforms, they needed the other things which we are doing, so we were almost like uh, going in the morning and come home at night, but, you know, working down there we had to be in the lines and we go faster or slower or run and go things and uh, always under guard.

Were these guards as brutal as the ones that you described in Auschwitz?

They were--at that time we had women guards. They were worse than the men. But I happened, you know, maybe to, to think because I survived that I knew how to sew and at that camp when the woman came in to check, you know, to lock up 9 o'clock the barracks, I used to tell her--I says, "Look, bring me a piece of bread," and... [interruption in interview]

Did she ever ask you to repair something for her?

Yes. To bring me in the morning, you know, like a skirt or this, and uh, one day I was in the barrack, I fixed it and she bring me a bread and this was my happy day. That's the only thing keeping me--that saved my life that I knew how to work and I wasn't--I was ask...you know. I couldn't ask the men, but I could ask the women and I shared with my sister and I shared with some friends. We had ???

How long did you work then in the factory in Czechoslovakia?

We stayed already down there 'til the liberation, May the 8th.

While you were working at this factory did the conditions change at all?

It was more reasonable. We had a barrack that had to be clean and it, it was clean already. We had a, a washroom, we had a dining room [pause] to go in, but still, you know, the woman guard is worse than the men. You know, we were not free to do anything or to go out or to do--we came home with sitting and more reasonable.

Were there--was there sickness at this camp?

Yes. We were always, you know, people were getting weaker. We didn't, we didn't have the nourishment or the vitamin and things we're supposed to have. But we were not afraid as much as being in, in Auschwitz to go to ask the doctor for something.

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