Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Weiselman - January 1, 1985

Soviet Camp

Some prisoners were living, uh, in the Soviet Union from, uh, before the war, so they got their, their relatives, they brought them in some packages of food, and some really were contraband, that means, you know, people were on the black market selling some piece goods and different other items. So they arrested them and some they still have, you know, the good uh, some good clothing on them, and some, they, they have some hidden, hidden some piece goods and that. So they-since they knew that I'm a tailor, they asked me to make, to hem the winter coat on the outside, hem the collar, which was worn out on the other side. So we were all together, just three friends, we were four, so when I came over. They gave me food or they gave me some, mostly it was food because money, you couldn't do anything.

This was the Russians?

The Russians, yeah. And of course, they gave us sugar. Which, the sugar was not like this in here. They, they were in squares. And well, they gave us cheese and they gave us uh, butter for bread. So every piece of bread, of course, or every piece of sugar was cut in four. Everything we divided for my three friends, for the reason they did help me out, even if they were not tailors. They help me out making thread and making tools. Like for instance, they took the old socks, they probably they, they got some extra, didn't need them, they took out the thread from the socks. And they joined about three, four threads together and they wax it with the soap. And it made stronger the thread and I used it for, for thread. And I have to work with to sew. And they find some wire, a piece of metal when we went out for uh, to go work out from the jail, they took us every day out. And they, and uh, with a stone and, and they make it very sharp, made it, and then can uh, made it piece of metal from a knife. Then they find a safety pin and they, with a safety pin, they got a little piece of wire uh, matches, we didn't, they didn't allow to have matches. So they-we, they know some tricks how to make a fire, from cotton. They took out the shorter piece from the, from cotton from the sh...from the coat. And they rolled it and rolled and rolled and it got so hot. And then you know the cotton start to burn. And that's the way, they, we, uh, used to smoke. They uh, you know, strike it, and this caught the fire, and then, with paper, and then...

What did they roll them, what did they roll the cottons with?

Just with nothing. Rolling the cotton with the hands...

The hands.

In the hands. So, so hot, believe me, they become so hot that it become some kind of, little, little, so hot, it becomes, like, to, to, uh...


So sometime they find some matches and they find a little wire and a, a safety pin and they burn the whole safety pin on the one side and they hold ??? shop, and I got all the tools.

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