Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Weiselman - January 1, 1985

Second Soviet Camp

When they, okay, when they send me out after quite of months being in Starobielsk in the monastery, they sent us out to a really concentration camp. We didn't know where we're going, we did go for three months inside of a train, we go for three months in a barge, you know?


Put together in boat, it was not like a ship, but like a barge. On this barge was thousands, maybe hundreds of people, they were five hundred in it and more and more barges and on this barge was all kinds of building material. Like boards, all kinds of boards uh, different thing and all kinds of building materials. And we didn't know where we're going. To finally we came into a certain place, we, before we come in, we see snow, snow, snow 'til we looked out, you know, the windows from the barge. After finally we come to the...

You were going east, into Russia? Deeper into Russia?

Deep into Russia, yeah. After Kirovgrad, it was the end where the Russia Eskimos living.

The Russian what?

Eskimos. Eskimos.




And then we, finally we emerged and we saw only ice and ice and snow. From this snow, a lot of stakes, like little pieces, like used before construction, and we said, "What is this, is this tundra, is it so much, is it stakes?" All these little pieces, they don't look like they were put in that for engineers, not long time ago. Then they call, told us, the Russian over there, the soldiers, you see, this is going to be a city. Here's going to be probably, who was there probably there or, many times from transport people, transport the people. It's going to be here and there's going to be a coalmine, here's going to be a theater, here's going to be a city, and here's going to be the barracks, and everything. And mostly on this was 95 percent Polish people, Polish-speaking. They said, "It's not possible, they brought us here to die. Nobody can live in this place." But it was not that way. They were thinking, most of the people were thinking that they brought us to die over there but right when we emerged they told us everybody got to take some building materials, boards, nails, and different other thing, and we start to build the barracks. The barracks was built, but the inside was really cold because they were put together from boards and from the heat what we made, you know, from coal, they always dried out the boards and you could see through, you know, the light.

The cracks.

The cracks. It happened the first days and weeks, so many people died in, in, from frozen, they were frozen to death. Because they went on the, on the boards, because no mattresses, no nothing, if somebody got the, ??? board, was lucky to put up his head and he went to sleep. And in the morning they, they were frozen like...

Were there any blankets?


No blankets?

No blankets.


Some people got blankets, some didn't have. Some did have blankets and some didn't have blankets. I happened to have a blanket because I made some kind of work and a guy gave me extra ??? he couldn't pay me any money so he gave me a blanket.

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