Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

Arrival in Auschwitz

And when the doors opened at Auschwitz, what do you remember about your first impressions?

Okay, now this is another...to be, to be honest with you, when the doors opened and all those tummel, what happened there, I really don't know. I don't remember details. I remember getting off that car and my mother had a piece of bread in her hand and she asked me if I want some. And I said, "no." And all of a sudden, I don't...and that was the last time I seen my mother in Auschwitz. That was the last time I seen my mother in Auschwitz. And I'm thinking today, those freight cars, that is a big... how these people got off. I was young. I could jump off and in that tummel, in that tummel, I...details, what happened, I really don't remember. And am trying to remember. I cannot see it.

That's the last thing your mother said to you?

That's, that's the last thing I seen my mother.

And the last thing she said was to offer you bread?

That's right, if I want a piece a bread. She had a piece, it was dried-up, I could see it. And a knife in it. And that's, that's, that's the last thing. And a little something in her hand, in my hand, like, uh, its not a suitcase, like from a sheet or got together and four corners tied up. Now that I'm visualizing, probably the Jewish people from Egypt went out something like that. We went out from Europe.

What about your father?

Now, my father...and I didn't seen my father again for four days. Ah, what happened, we went into a room and they told us to put everything down at the end of the room and undress naked, nothing and we went into a room.

Was there selection first on the platform?

Well outside uh, yes. There was a selection outside and the young people, the younger people like myself, the real young, and the old was taken already to the gas chambers right away, [softer] yes.

And you went to this room?

I went into this room and ah, we had a shower. Now, if you ask me hot water, cold water or hot shower or...I don't have any memory of it. The only thing I remember already, when we went through that shower, at a table everybody was getting a, a pants and a jacket, white and blue striped and a hat like a cap, white and blue striped. And then a little tag, a number right on your jacket and shoes, those wooden and they didn't look the sizes. We tried to exchange between us. And at the other end that's all what we had. Whatever we brought from home yet, on the other end, that's all what we had.

Were you tattooed?

No, I was not tattooed because a lot of people came so they sent us over to Buchenwald. And in Buchenwald the only thing I got, my number what I still remember, siebenundfünfzigvierhundertneunzig, 57,490, that was my number. [pause]

When you came out at the end of this process, this room...


You had a uniform.


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