Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992

Arrival at Auschwitz

When the doors to Auschwitz, when the car opened in Auschwitz, what happened, what did you think?

They take us, they made like, [pause] we went out, we were happy to go out, but we couldn't breathe anymore, it was, it was just terrible you know. And, and we didn't realize that something like this was happening in Auschwitz, how could you think about things like this. It was so terrible, I am telling you how I feel, I was glad to be in Auschwitz, I said, now I will find my baby.

You went to the selection?

No, selection. First the selection we didn't know to what it was, we had to take out everything, naked, you know, we throw our things, the dresses and the coats and everything, your shoes, throw away. We were all naked. And they took, first I went together with my niece and Fred's mother was in the other, sister, my older brother's sister, and the mother of my nieces you know. My sister, the older one, she was the best in the whole world. She was so good, such a good person, you can't even imagine something like this, you know. We went together you know. Mengele. You know, Mengele, you heard about him, he took out my sister. But maybe, I don't know, she was a young woman, maybe 14 years old. Maybe she was tall, she was heavy, she went together with the girls, together, standing, hugging and everything. So he special took her out that she knows she is the mother of the girls, this is why she did this too. He took her out. That's right. That's right. She went out with him, we didn't even know, we didn't realize, really know, later on when we were in Auschwitz, we realized, we tried to find her, we're looking for her. And they shave us, you know. They shave us all over - everything you know.

Disinfectant, do you remember the disinfectant? They disinfected you?



Showers, we had the showers you know. Yeah. We didn't realize something like this, the showers, could be, what they were doing with the showers, you know, but we didn't know, you know. We didn't care, I am telling you. We went out and then they were throwing us dresses. I didn't have shoes. I dressed, such a terrible dress, I got. And my nieces, ????? we showed each other how we looked, with the shave this. She was wearing a dress like this, and she was wearing a dress like this...

It was what? Unbelievable, you said. It was unbelievable.

No you can't even, you can't, you can't, absolutely not. Really not. Auschwitz, what is, to hear "Auschwitz". You would know what I got through in Auschwitz. I don't know. I still can't talk now, and say I don't know, I don't know, maybe God wants me to leave now. [crying] I don't know. It was terrible. I didn't know in the beginning what happened to my son, you know. To the children. I thought that I will find my child in Auschwitz. Then we'll meet, you know, people from Kraków who had before us been, who went with the ???, but my brother I told you, he came over to us. He was telling us what happened to my brother. He was such a man, he never was sick, a tall healthy man. He was two weeks only in Auschwitz, he wouldn't take any more, you know. Auschwitz, he died, you know, my brother. He was telling us. And then we ask about the children, and this is how I'll tell you what happened to the children. [sobbing] And I went to Auschwitz to find my child. And then I said to myself, I am not going out of Auschwitz, I stay in Auschwitz, I don't want to go out. I want to go where my son went. [pause] It was a terrible thing, Auschwitz, terrible.

He told you they were in gas chambers. He told you they were gassed?


He told you this?

He told us and we didn't know. And then we were walking and saw the gas chamber, you know.

You smelled it?

Yeah, but we know where my sister-in-law went. What a beautiful person and a good one. I said I am not going out from Auschwitz, I am staying here. I said I want to go where my child went. I was in Auschwitz, you know, the barracks, you know, with my four nieces, four sisters, and one brother went to the gas chambers, four sisters, and Fred's mother and my oldest brother's wife. I was, I was taking special care of her, you know, she was older from me, much older. We were together, you know, in one...

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