Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Water - 1982

Being Taken to Auschwitz

So, excuse me, you were in the ghetto, then, until August 1944 after the ghetto...

Right. I was in the--then there was--the ghetto consisted of three parts separated by bri...by bridges, and uh, gates. So when they liquidated my part of the ghetto, I went to the other part that was still in--functioning. So finally, they took us out. I took my suitcase and I went to the place with the trains and there was a big ramp, and they threw us, threw us practically in, in those cattle cars. They gave me a loaf of bread. They were...

Then where, where were you taken from there?

I was taken to Auschwitz. But I would--I'd like to describe the--what happened in those three days and three nights that I was on this train. We were about eighty to eighty-five people--men, women and children. They gave us a loaf of bread--two kilo. For five years, I was hungry, I was starving. And we used to say--we had a prayer that may God grant us a loaf of bread and a knife on a table and we should be able to slice bread as much as we want. But for three days, I didn't touch that loaf of bread--couldn't eat. The stench was unbearable. The only opening was about a square foot on the high left, left corner with bars. We took a, a blanket--we made it kitty-cornered to give the ladies a semblance of decency. Anyway, the cries were--and I stood near the, near the uh, doors. I breathed in the air from the outside, because inside was just unbearable. Finally, on the third day, we disembarked. This was Auschwitz. The first voices I heard was from the Kommando. The young men--they said that the young women who have children, should give away the children to the elderly ladies. This was the first time I had an inclination that women with, with children--small babies or children and elderly people are not gonna survive. Because in the ghetto we were talking about it but I was so gullible, I said, "No, it's impossible. Human beings cannot do those things to other human beings." And this was the first time I had inclination and see what the choice is that they give us. So we marched, in fifths. The first people I'd seen--of course, they were people behind bars--behind the uh, barbed wires. I seen three people dead, hanging on the barbed wires, that are electrocuted. Three men came across to us-- towards us, rather--with gas masks hanging down their necks. They were Jewish people, but their job was to clean out after people are being cremated--like gold teeth, extract, extract, or whatever belongings they probably had with them. Then they took--we came across a man--a officer--nonchalantly, with his feet--beautiful black boots, beautiful uniform, guns hanging down both sides, and he, by nodding his index finger, decided who's gonna live, temporarily, or who's gonna die. To his right went infirm people, young children, old people. To his left, I went. I was still young and capable of work. I didn't know it then but this was the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele, who performed all those in--on women, you know, all, all those experiments on women, on pregnant women and we know it through history what he did. He's still alive, by the way, somewhere in South Africa.

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