Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983

Inside a Work Camp

Was that, was that a work camp?

Work camp, yeah. They took us to work every day, every day we got up. Every day we had stay "Appell", that means uh, be counted. Everybody had--well everybody you didn't keep every day the same job you always changed around. For awhile I worked in a Kartofel cutting potatoes. Which I was a very lucky guy, I was, first of all I had a lot of Kart... potatoes I could smuggle out to my father, which was a big help. My father died in that camp, it was in January 1945, from starvation. And the times were so bad they had no, no they couldn't bring me no food, the Germans, at all. Even the potatoes, because they had to take the trucks away on the front, so they had to take us away to ???, Austria. We were, we walked for two weeks it was a big snow, very cold, two weeks we were walking. 'Til they took us uh, to a train station in, I didn't know where it was.


Then they took us uh, over there the real problem was from January 1945 'til May, around four months, there was just like fo... I don... there was hell, there was really hell. Over there you could see any place you turned around you could see dead people just like nothing. And every day they kept on bringing in new people, new people in different camps. And the younger the person was he had a better chance of surviving. I mean, the reason why, I don't know why but maybe he understood a lot less. An older man understood a little bit more and got in his mind, in his head. It was really bad.

Do you remember how you felt then? What you were thinking?

Oh, at one time, what I, what I felt--I have a cousin ???, for an example. He's a few months older than I we were in the s--we were always together. I had another one, another cousin we were all three together.


But he--in nineteen, in uh, the first camp yet, when they came in the German officer that was Eichmann. I saw him across and he goes Eichmann, and he came in with the Hungarians son-in-law, he was Jewish. Hungarian president Horthy, his son-in-law was Jewish. But he, they, he had--think he was the president of Hungary they didn't put him in concentration camp. So they came in he wanted to pull the Jewish people in ???, you know, in the camps--which was, that camp was like a ??? compared to other camps. So they made a selection to pick out the sick people, people get hurt on job, people get sick on job, or the really young ones. I was picked too, I was young one. They were, they said they were gonna send us to a, in working school. And uh, my cousin, so we were two together, two cousins there. He was a little smaller built, they picked him out too. But being the Lageralteste he knew my father, he said, "you, you have a father here too, you have a father together, you have father, mother, you're not going to be separated, you're going to stay together." So he took me out from there and he says, "you gonna stay with your father." They were taken away to the gas chamber because they were not able to work ???. And uh, going back to the second camp in that was already Ebensee. People around me was just like uh, just like you go to an ocean, see dead fish, hundreds of them every day. And uh, one day when, after the war I was liberated I only weighed forty-four American pounds. Forty-four pounds, that's twenty-two kilograms. I was liberated by Americans. So Red Cross came in um, General Eisenhower at that time came in to, to look around and of course I didn't know who General Eisenhower is at that time. And American female uh, Red, ??? how do you call them, the Red ??? female nurses uh, Red Cross. We had no clothes on, just like a dog has no clothes, nothing. No clothes at all, naked. We were not ashamed, we were not bashful, nothing, we didn't even think about it. That you have, we thought this is the way we have to be living, you know, nothing. I couldn't even walk, I had to crawl on my feet and crying. And then the Americans came in and they had to pick up the really weak ones. It wasn't long they took us to a sanitarium. So, I was there about two weeks and uh, they gave us food and start gaining weight. After the war, even after the war a lot of people died. They ate too much, from over eating because their stomach was so weak.

Going back to that first work camp you were in with your father, um were you in the same barracks with him?

Oh yeah, mostly yeah.

Um, did he work?

Oh yes, everybody worked. It wasn't just a thing if you worked, everybody worked. If you, somebody didn't work ???? if you didn't work the...

Was he working with you in...

No, no, no, no ??? it wasn't up to me or to my father, you see, we had no choice, uh...

Where was he working?

Uh, outside, we think they were building a lot of tunnels. They were building uh, like in the second camp they had tunnels in the, in the mountains. They were building factories there, in the tunnels underground.

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