Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rose Wagner - August 14, 2002

Arrival in Auschwitz-Birkenau

So when you--when the train stopped in Auschwitz and the doors open was it nighttime?

I was crying.

What was your first reaction when you...

Scared to death. So you walked down and Mengele was standing and uh, and they put on this side and you heard screams, you heard cries. They took away, k...k...they took away the parents, mothers, fathers they took away and the children were screaming.

What did it smell like?

Unbelievable. Unbearable.

And did you see the chimneys there?

The chimney was so, yes, we saw the chimney more than once. I was...


I was lucky in Auschwitz because I'm always cold. So I had a dress and I had nothing under. They didn't give you anything. And it was very, very cold. And I had to go in the morning for an Appell, you know what means an Appell, to call. So I weared a little blanket under. So I put a blan...blanket under my dress and I was lucky that I was not caught. But it took us a few days--we were sitting on the ground and they gave us a piece of bread before they put us on the bunks. We were sitting, I don't remember which, but I know it was outside of the bunks. We were sitting and waiting I guess to go into the bunks. And they gave us a piece of bread and I put the bread. Now I can eat a little piece and save it. But some people they can't. They ate the whole thing. So I put the bread in my dress and I must have fell asleep. When I woke up, the bread was gone. My sister said to me see, you should have finished the bread. She finished it.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn