Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Vine - July 5, 1983

Reliving the Horrors of Auschwitz


Everyday--every night, every night. Uh, I have to use all my strength in the morning to get up. Uh, because it is a terrible uh, terrible exper...uh, uh, experience, we are using that word, killing that word, experience. It's a [pause] what can I use the right word? I think there is events take place during the night uh, I'll give you a little example. About a few years ago, not too many years ago, maybe two, three years ago uh, I was dreaming uh, that I'm going from my office across the street to the restaurant from today's situation--the name of the restaurant, the name of my business, very clearly, all of a sudden I'm being followed by the Gestapo. And I start running and I know that if they catch me I go to Auschwitz. And there was no end to the running, I kept on running. And, and mind you, we talk about one--across the street, that's all. And here, by the time I woke up in the morning and I ruminated about it. This can go on maybe, who knows almost five hours. This is just an example, you know. And uh, this is a terrible legacy that I was left with. But we, we have to cope with it and I cope nicely with it. I get up early in the morning and I go to Jewish center and I run. And uh, and it's really unbelievable where I could be so terribly tired I could hardly walk, I crawl. And yet I go there and I do the thing and I feel better, and I, and, and I push through another day. Now that doesn't mean that, that uh, that I don't function okay during the day--the nights are very tough for me. So you see, most of our people survived carry a burden, carry a burden. Uh, maybe if I would remember more clearly, maybe it'd be a little easier for me, I don't know. Uh, I remember that there was sometimes I think it was October, I believe, when we arrived into Auschwitz. And all of a sudden, it must have been the middle of the night, very early in the morning. And those doors from the wagons opened up and thousands of lights, seemed, thousands of lights were hitting us and shooting, and dogs, and people with machine guns and all of sudden we are being hit over the head and being pushed out from that, from those trains. I was hit over the head and I start running. I recall seeing someone with glasses in a uniform which he had a little stick in his hand and he was going like this. But of course this is just like an imprint in my mind. Uh, of course we found out later on that it was Dr. Mengele. And all of a sudden I fi... I, I find myself with a group of people and I was probably the youngest because they were selecting men and that was that group they was going to camp. I lost my father and my mother right there from the train. Never saw them again. And they lined them up in fives. And those men grab me and they put me in the middle, between them. You know, one, two, three, four, five in the middle. So that they wouldn't see me too well, because I was very short and I was very, very young at the time. And they start coming, and of course later on I found out that we were the only ones that survived from that train load which were 3,000 people. And they picked up 300. These are incidents that I recall uh, it is important, very, very, important to show that resistance has many, many faces. We survived Auschwitz; one of the reasons is because we are a close knit people, especially from our town. We live today because we had helped each other. Very few people in the world can be as proud as we are under conditions where a bite of bread meant living, meant surviving. And yet we have taken that piece of bread and we shared it with someone who needed a little bit more bread. We did that. I survived because of that, because someone shared it with me. Uh, I survived because a Landsmann of mine, as we were in Auschwitz--the first year was the worst year. Uh, out of the 300 that we came into Auschwitz in 1942, I would say that maybe thirty survived. And all of them got killed that very first three months.


It was--here you come from a home and you are thrown into a jungle of killers. Under conditions that is beyond a human conception. You go into a place where they work you, they beat you, they freeze you to death. Uh, they--their policy is to as many you kill you, you, you are a hero in the camp. We are ruled by professional criminals that were the, the Kapos and the, and the, and the leaders in the camp. This was a prison, we were a concentration camp. Innocent people were put in to a camp, and the runners the, the, the, the uh, leaders of the camp were criminals. And yet we stuck together, helped each other. I will mention to you a situation that happened in Auschwitz that there are some books written about it. A matter of fact a very big heroine and she is recorded in, in, as our heroes in Auschwitz. Girl from our town came into Auschwitz the same time. There was an...

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