Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Water - 1982

Life in Auschwitz

Then we marched into the camp. We had to go--we went to a room and we undressed on the spot, and we stepped out of our clothes. This is the last time I have seen the pictures of my family. Then we went to a barber, and he shaved us wherever it was necessary. We went to a different department, we had to step into a solution. The only thing we were allowed to keep was whoever had eyeglasses, a belt, and shoes. Then another guy rubbed in a solution into the vital--private parts. They gave us clothes. And this was the first time probably, in my life, I encountered sadism. I was a short man, they gave me a long jacket. A tall man received a short jacket. So I just looked at them, I said, "Gee whiz, people can do things like that. Why couldn't the tall guy get my jacket, and I should get his jacket?" That's how they wanted it. So I was in Block Twelve. Four o'clock, or four-thirty in the morning, the ??? start. It was Indian summer; the weather was beautiful so I lie down on the ground, 'til they called the Appell, which is a roll call. But this is not a form of sadism they uh, extended to us. We had a Mütze, which is a cap, and we supposed to, under order, when they said, "Mütze auf," or "Mütze ab," we supposed in unison, a few hundred people, to do like one person would do, reach for the--with the right hand for the hat, grab the--that cap, and take it off, and hit it at the right time. Now we were not trained like soldiers, who you see in the Western movies sometimes, prepare to dismount, and dismount. So, we didn't do it right, so we had to do it again. And they said that it sounds like beans are rolling. So they gonna keep--they kept us for an hour, two, three hours--to their heart's desire, for as long as they wanted. Then they gave us a piece of bread. That piece of bread, if you could use some glue, this was the right thing to do. And only uh, the piece of bread was so small, that you by looking at it you could devour it. Then they gave us a little soup, which consisted--if there was a potato in it you were lucky. No salt. And at evening they gave us another piece of bread, and this was the whole sustenance for the day. They chased us to bed but the bed was a floor. We lay down like sardines--spoon fashion. If one person turned around, the whole line had to turn around. Then, they took us out from there, they gave us bunks.

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