Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995


By train again?

By train, again. And we went to Zeitz, but that is a factory where they were suppose to make gasoline out of coal.

In Zeitz?

In Zeitz.

Tell me about the trip to Buchenwald.

Well, the trip to Buchenwald was, again, seventy to eighty people to a cattle car and I was there with my father together. And, naturally, we were, what happened to uh...my mother. And we were talking about that. And ah, talking and crying and I tell you, by us my father, I don't think ever hugged me kind of. You know, ah, are somehow...it wasn't...but he hugged me and what he telled me he loves me, he never did told me that, out, and so forth. And this discussion really was about his...when he was a young man and how he found my mother and how they lived. It was a hard life, but how happy they were. Especially when I was born, their only son. And, and, that's about it, what we really discussed, his young life, hard life, his father didn't came back from the first World War and that's that's, I think, I got to know him maybe in that day and a half or two days to Buchenwald. Because when after that, we really couldn't talk much.

And when you arrived at Buchenwald, what were your impressions there?

Again, again, again, I still didn't knew what's gonna happen with us or what happened with the people who left in Auschwitz. This man, he told me, I didn't believe... I mean, it didn't register and somehow I didn't, the word worry, I was worried, but somehow I would never have believed that really that's happening.

But your father believed it?

If he did believe it, he didn't told me. He never told me if he did believe it.

Why do you think he told you about his own youth?

Well, you know, it's a possibility that a parent, it's possible before he dies...wants to tell his son whatever he can. And that's what I have the feeling of it today. Jacob...Yakov Avinu...before he died, he called all his sons together and he told them, he bentsched them and so forth and so on. And now, at that...not at that time, but today, I believe that's what he was kind of doing between Auschwitz and Buchenwald, saying goodbye to me in a way.

You think he had a premonition?

That's my feeling is today and many nights, many nights, I have nightmares, I see my parents. I'm home with them. [pause] Even, even today, even today. [long pause]

You said you were both in Buchenwald for a week.

Yes, a week. And we both went to Zeitz.

Tell me a little bit about Buchenwald. What did you do on a daily basis?

Well, in Buchenwald, again, they did send us out to work. We were there not long, but I think twice or three times, this is already on a truck. On a truck and we went to clean up uh, it was, I don't know from bombing or from what, some houses destroyed and we cleaned those up there. But the work was not hard. I mean as such. Especially I was young then, so I didn't consider that hard. I figure if this, if that's all what it is, I'm together with my father, let's see what's gonna happen. I could do it. I could do that working.

When you cleaned up this rubble um, uh, do you remember exactly where it was?

No, I don't. I don't have the slightest idea where we went.

Did anybody see you, I mean did, did...were there citizens watching you?

Yes, oh yes, yes, sure, sure. As a matter of fact, I remember going through, going through a yard where there was pigs and they gave them to eat, you know for pigs they put there in something they give them to eat like potato peels and when we went through there, we cleaned up and everybody took some potato peels out of it and ate it. We were that hungry already and we just started out.

So you walked past farmers?

Yes, it must have been farmers because the...yeah.

Did you see any civilians?

We seen some civilians, not many. Not many.

Did they respond to you?

Oh, no, no, no. I never talked to a civilian all the time I was there.

Um, was Buchenwald relatively better than it was in Auschwitz?

Well, I wasn't long in Buchenwald and, no, no, I think my situation was about the same as in Auschwitz. We got very little food and, and, ah, so forth it, it wasn't different, no in my situation, no.

What was your father's attitude at this point? Do you think he had given up?

Well, well, well, well, his attitude especially I was there, he tried to keep a happy face. He, he, he, he was telling me, "Wir leben..."we going to live through it and we be home and your mother will be home and he tried, he told me that many, many times, many, many times. "Der oybershter will helfen." God will help us. He helped us all the time and he will help us this time.

Why don't we take a break on this note.

[interruption in interview]

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