Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Being Assigned a Barrack

Probably the DDT...

The DDT.

...I can imagine it burns.

It burns and the smell around that. Then we were herded out and as we go out I see a few of the girls from, from Chust. And we're uh, I sort of inch over. You know, it's uh, loneliness. You, you look for someone. Just to be near the person will help, you know, just to identify, who am I? Uh, we're uh, walk...we're taken, walking back and I remember this atrocious smell, okay? My smell has followed--that smell has followed me all my life um, okay. I could never figure out how bad it smells until I went to a den...dentist to have my--a tooth capped. And when they cut back the gum--in the, the bone area--I passed out and I was sick for weeks. Because the smell just doesn't leave me. It's flesh and bones being burnt. And that smell, it, it's, it's something that is in my head and my nose all the time. It--can't describe it. It's just there. Possibly, if I did, if it wasn't for those... It, it was just horrid. We were herded out of that--by the time we got through--I don't know--we weren't tattooed--whether we weren't meant to live. Uh, the transports were coming in so quick that time uh, at that year. Whether uh, uh, they had no time or we just weren't meant to survive or whatever the reason, we weren't given numbers. And we were brought to a barrack, to a, a, a camp uh, where they had uh, I think, the total barracks about thirty-two. Even and odd numbers on both sides of the street. I was brought in um, standing outside a, a barrack in C La...C Lager, or C Camp and the barrack number was sixteen. With a lot of the uh, girls from Chust were lined up too. And uh, misery likes company and I looked for uh, familiarity. And uh, I didn't know uh, but I remember seeing flames uh, skyward as you looked. And uh, a uh, they called it a Blockältester--is like the captain of your barrack. Vertreterin was called like an assistant or--and one of the aids or the helpers, or one of the girls that was from Poland, had been there a couple years. She says, "Take a look there, you see that flame? That's where your parents are, and that's where your brothers and sisters are. So, you make sure you're healthy, you never get sick..." [interruption in interview]

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