Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Shari Weiss - April 17, 1985


Can you describe the circumstances from the brick factory to the transports?

Well, again they told us to pack our bags. I mean we knew who uhead of time who was going to go with what transport. They told us a certain section of the ghetto was going to be the first, second, then I think there was a fourth transport. I myself fell into the third transport which must have been about the end of May. And they marched us, we made our packages again, and they marched us through the villages until we reached the train station. We had no idea as where to we were going to and what was awaiting us or the mode of transportation that we'll get so as we were marching through the villages, I mean all of us pretty broken up because I mean no proper nourishment, no proper clothing or facilities to cleanse ourselves. As we were marching through the villages they were jeering at us and some people throwing stones you know and calling out "dirty Jews" and all that so...we finally arrived to the train station and I don't know what the name of it is, I mean it was just too stunning to even pay attention to details because as soon as we saw what awaited us, we almost knew that our fate was sealed. They had these cattle wagons that you had just recently seen, I mean on the story, "The Wallenberg Story," this was depicted exactly the way it happened. I mean they herded us into those cattles and the way you saw the little windows on, this is how people were reaching out to get a little bit or air. And if you happened to be a child or of smaller stature there was no way you got air at all. I was among those that was small of stature, and I was a child. I was fifteen years and I was crushed between all the other bodies. We were about 100 people in this small wagon. There was standing room only. Now imagine all the packages that everybody was trying to get into those wagons. Yelling people, old people, young people, children uh frightened and hungry and scared and all of a sudden even the air that you were breathing was taken away from you because the doors were shut on us. So we were scurrying like rats on a ship to find a place to get a little air. I mean I remember putting my face against a crack so that I should feel a little air coming through because otherwise you would suffocate. We even had some food that was, you know, that we were sort of trying to ration ourselves without food so we would have some food left. But who could eat? None of us wanted to eat. First of all there was no bathroom facility anyplace. It took us four days to come to Auschwitz. They re-routed us many a times, and every time the train stopped it would stop with such force that everybody was falling on top of everybody else. We tried to maintain some semblance of modesty by making a small corner for uh, bathroom purposes which of course sometimes worked and sometimes didn't because as soon as the train would going and you're being jogged back and forth everything just fell all over the place. When it finally rained one night because it was very hot, this was already the end of May, beginning of June and all the heat from all the bodies and plus the weather was exceptionally hot, finally one night it was raining and then got through the slats you called them there was some water coming in and it was like, like uh a breath of life that was given to us. Every morning we were greeted with the same greeting, "how many dead in your wagon?" they opened up the doors. That was the only air that we ever got when they opened up those wagon doors to ask us for our dead.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn