Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Wayne - 2005

Janina labor camp

Which camp?



And there's only one guy over here that I knew that was a survivor from Janina. He's been dead. His name was Simon.

Yeah, also Sam Offen was there.

He was not in Janina.

I think he was.

Well, then I don't know anything about it. I thought there only was one guy, this guy Simon. Nancy Simon and her husband, I forgot his first name. He died a number of years back.

Yeah, I'm trying to remember. It seems to me that the Offen, two of the Offen brothers were in the... But I may be wrong. They were from Krakow, in any case.

Yeah, they were in Płaszów.

But then there was...

Yeah, but, Auschwitz. I, well, I know I was with a whole bunch of them. But these were the... Well, anyway, so from uh, Birkenau, we signed up, me and my brother and they took us to this coal mine, Janina. And uh, that was an organized labor camp.

What did you think...

Wasn't an extermination camp, in fact, it was an orga...also for every few weeks the uh, SS command used to come with doctors and clean 'em out. Whoever was there, they couldn't work any more, they used to take 'em out. And they couldn't work too hard on a, on a half a pot of bread a day work in coal mines.

When you left for Janina...

We walked, we marched over.

But what did you think was going on with your sister and your little brother?

Didn't know a single thing. My little brother, my mother I knew they were in the, went to the crematorium.

You knew.

We were told that there were crematoriums over there, whoever goes over there is, is going to the crematoria.

They pointed at the chimneys.


But you didn't know what happened to Ruth.

No, not 'til after, she found us after the war.

What was it like in Janina?

Well, used to get up early in the, early morning, you had to be very clean, you had to take showers and everything. Very clean, you had to be uh, up early in the morning. Used to be the, what do they call it, stand in the line and uh, I forgot how they called it, on cold mornings outside, you know, and then...


Appell. And they used to take us uh, down to the coal mines, you know. It was about a two-mile walk from the camp to the coal mines. And then we got there early in the morning uh, without seeing the sun. And we got up, the sun was already gone. Then we were working down in the mines with Poles. Poles they were not in camp, they were miners.

So were most of you Jews in the...

I would say, yeah. There was a lot of Poles too, Russians too.



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