Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983

Contact with Germans

Did any of the German citizens who lived in the towns nearby, did they have any contact with you at all?


They didn't?

Never, never. I remember uh, going back to there ??? we were working, there was no special assignment. It was always different assignments when we were building the highways, the, the tunnel. And uh, different, different things.


We were working on the highway, building the highways. So, was that German soldier, he had the beard. He was a very nice man, really, really, ???. There were very few isolated cases, very nice. And took me over, took a walk with me. He showed me go in the house, maybe get some coffee. So, so I came in the house, can you imagine that? And uh, he didn't know either that, that the soldier took me there. This I remember, and uh, as I was sitting there an S.S. man, a young S.S. man, he must have just gone home on furlough, from the, from the front on leave, a young man. And he was with his girlfriend or something. And it was the housewife that gave me bread and I should eat, and she made a big container, maybe, I don't know, maybe five gallon container of coffee. I should take it out to the rest of the guys. And the inside S.S. man said, "no, you will not do such a thing. That man who gave you permission to come here should be shot." Uh, you know that Germans, that of course it was a violation, he wasn't supposed to do that. And the daughter, she must have been his girlfriend or something, and she started yelling at him, in German. At that time I understood a little bit. "You will not do such a thing, ???. When I see you again, or something like that." Anyhow, nothing happened. He let me take the coffee to the rest of the guys. And, he took uh, took it back. I remember one time we went out to work, as we're working in the fields uh, a big machine uh, from the train fell over to a man, it just squashed him death just like this, just like nothing. He, he saw the man and the machine fell over and just squashed him just like nothing beneath. Nothing, nothing. No, nothing.

After the war, after you were liberated um, did you then have any contact with the German people at all?


Did the Germans...

The only thing uh, I uh, when I came back the second time to Austria...


Or ???, when I passed already my hometown when I had dirty clothes, I was on the way to go to Palestine. We still had to have survival, to have food, everything, just food, that's all. So many places we run in they chase us out, they didn't want to give us nothing, but many places we had a little money, they sold us. Many places we had to do our own, we had to go in the garden, the backyard, cut off--plain and simple stealing, had to cut off beans, or tomatoes, or apples, or whatever we could find. But uh, not to me, no.


They were the super race, truthfully, that's what they were taught in their mind, the Germans. They are the super race and we are sub-human. Just even like a dog, you have a dog in the house still, you are the human.


You have to live first like a human. You gotta have the best and everything and you're still second class, am I right? Same thing with them, it was in their mind. See uh, when, when my father, was in 1943, or 1942, I cannot recollect exactly one year when he was in Munka, the Hungarians, they were fighting on the side with the Rus...with the Germans against the Russians. Jewish people were not taken in the, in the army at that time. But instead, but they were taken in like uh, Munka Tabor, used to call 'em. Only the men, able men, they didn't take all families, just able men. They were given German uh, uh, not German, Hungarian uniform, just like the soldiers. Same uniform, but instead of a rifle they would give them a shovel. Martin's father was in Munka Tabor, too. Their job was strictly to go behind the lines, behind the front line digging ditches, whatever the soldiers uh, needed. My father was sent there, he was a Russian, with the Munka Tabor. He was in Poland, when he came back in 1943, he said he witnessed by himself. They were digging ditches, they were digging big ditches, they thought it's for the front. One day, and the next day they came, when the ditches were finished, a day later or two days later they--the same people, the same, with the shovels came back. They had to cover over ditches with dead human bodies, they were all Jewish people. And we didn't believe it, only thing, the Rabbi didn't even believe it, how's it possible. Women and children and people just for no reason at all. Today you're gonna dig ditches and there must've been a reason why the people were killed. I couldn't believe it. He said, I don't know, that's it. I saw what I saw. We didn't believe it.

How did that affect you and your father, I mean...

See this, this is going back. I think different than I was twenty years ago.


How can I expect my son to think the way that I do? I don't know how my so--my father was thinking.


I was thinking different. To me it was, you know, I don't know.


I was, I didn't even know what to think about it. But, they, that's why the older people, when I mean older my father was forty-four years old when he died. The reason I say older, I was only sixteen, naturally was older.

Sure. [pause]

Just like we call uh, old man here. That's why they couldn't survive. More younger people, younger you were the better chance of surviving because you might at least, was only one...concentrating on one thing: food.


But their mind was concentrating on more different things. Food, their family, their wives, why--you know, their children, or their home, wh... wh... what is the future.


So they couldn't take, they couldn't take everything at one time. Even now, if this would happen to me right now. My son has a better chance of surviving than I do.

Sure, sure. [pause]

I will take a cigarette. You smoke?


You don't mind if I smoke?

Not at all.

Would you like a piece of candy, I'm not fancy.

Oh, no thank you.

I'm not fancy, but I have a piece of candy.


I told my wife not to go today, she said, she was, only time she has a chance on Sunday. She works too, my wife.


She wants to go with, somebody to pick us, at Hudson's. She went with somebody. Uh ???. I think my ???.

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