David P. Boder Interviews Mendel Herskovitz; July 31, 1946; Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

[In English] July 31st, 1946, at Chateau Boucicaut, a suburb of Paris. A home for about sixty children, forty-five of whom were in Buchenwald, and the rest from other parts, all so-called war-damaged children. The first person to interview here is Mendel Herskovitz.

David Boder

[In German] Mendel, how old are you?

Mendel Herskovitz

Eighteen years.

David Boder

Eighteen years. Speak in Yiddish. And where were you born?

Mendel Herskovitz

In Lodz.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

In Poland.

David Boder

In Poland. In what city?

Mendel Herskovitz

Lodz.

David Boder

In Lodz. Tell....How old were you when the Germans came to Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

When the Germans came to Lodz I was twelve years old.

David Boder

Twelve years. Before the Germans, who was in Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

Poland. The Poles.

David Boder

The Poles. The Russians were not in Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

The Russians were not in Lodz.

David Boder

All right. And so you were twelve years old when the Germans came to Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes.

David Boder

All right. Good. Now, would you tell me with the best details, what happened in the few days before the Germans came, and when they came,and all that? Tell me everything the way you remember it. We want later to tell it to the American children. You understand that?

Mendel Herskovitz

Hm.

David Boder

And so, begin and speak most frankly. Yes. Now how was it the way you remember the three, four days before the Germans came? What did the Poles do? [Pause. There is some whisper. He apparently talks away from the microphone.]

David Boder

Not exactly [all] the details. What you remember. Tell.

Mendel Herskovitz

A scare fell on the Jews when they found out that the Germans were near Lodz.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

On a Wednesday night began...people packed and began running farther... nearer to...to be farther away from the Germans.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

That means they ran on the road to Brzeziny that would take them closest to Warsaw.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

On the way.... I was also among them. I also ran. There arrived German planes, and they saw a crowd of people.

David Boder

Go on.

Mendel Herskovitz

They dived down. With machine guns from the planes, they began to shoot [us] up, so that ninety per cent of the people remained lying right there.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And only a few came out.

David Boder

Who...who was in your family...family? Your father? Your...

Mendel Herskovitz

There was...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

The family consisted of daddy, mommie, three sisters, and me.

David Boder

Yes. And no grandmother, no grandfather? They were not with you?

Mendel Herskovitz

It is self-understood. We did not live together.

David Boder

Hm. Speak at [microphone]. Nu? You say that the German planes came and you were shot at.

Mendel Herskovitz

They began to shoot at us with machine guns.

David Boder

Yes. Did all of your family remain together?

Mendel Herskovitz

The family remained at home. Only I and a sister ran away together. And we two came back.

David Boder

Oh, you didn't run away together with your family?

Mendel Herskovitz

No.

David Boder

No? Who ran away? You and your...

Mendel Herskovitz

There ran a lot of people...nearly seventy percent of the population of Lodz...

David Boder

Yes? So you and your sister...

Mendel Herskovitz

And we were...we were youngsters...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...so we also ran away [with them].

David Boder

And the parents remained at home?

Mendel Herskovitz

The parents remained at home.

David Boder

Did the parents tell you to run?

Mendel Herskovitz

They said we should not run...but, it was...it was so that...it was a state of war,...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...so that everybody did the way he understood.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

One didn't listen to anybody.

David Boder

So you and your sister were on the road, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

On the road. We two...and we saw the shooting...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...we began to walk back. On the way we met the Germans already.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

They didn't especially bother us,

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

because we were still children...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...and so we came back home.

David Boder

What did you find at home?

Mendel Herskovitz

At home everything was still like before.

David Boder

Yes? Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

And further on, nothing special...the first two days they said that the Jews shouldn't be afraid...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

The Jews won't be harmed. And later on, after four, five days, then they went to work.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

I remember they went in...the first thing was...four days after entering Lodz. They went into a cafe on Nowomiejska Street, to a Jew, and from there they took out fourteen Jews and took them behind the town and there they were shot.

David Boder

Why?

Mendel Herskovitz

Uh. Because they were Jews.

David Boder

Hm, nu? Tell me, what was going on in your house...at home. So, you were there? How long did you remain in Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

In Lodz we remained till...on Rosh-Hashana [Jewish New Year] they entered...we remained until Pesach [Jewish Easter] till Pesach in '39.

David Boder

Yes, all right.

Mendel Herskovitz

Till Pesach of thirty-nine.

David Boder

Yes, nu? Or was it '40?

Mendel Herskovitz

Till forty...This...

David Boder

Yes. Nu, all right. And you remained there till Pesach. What did the family do?

Mendel Herskovitz

Till Pesach...until then there was still food...we traded a little and for the food we had to get up at three in the morning and stand in line for bread...and other such things...everything was already very hard.

David Boder

What were your parents' occupations? What was your father's trade?

Mendel Herskovitz

We...we had a store.

David Boder

What kind?

Mendel Herskovitz

Dry -goods.

David Boder

A dry - goods store?

Mendel Herskovitz

Dry - goods.

David Boder

Did you also keep it later on? Was it...?

Mendel Herskovitz

Later on we didn't have it any more, but what...? We were able just in time to take out some of the merchandise and hide it in the house...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...and with it we traded later.

David Boder

Hm, and with it you traded.

Mendel Herskovitz

Later on, yes.

David Boder

Yes. Were you sent to work, or what?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were...on the streets. The Germans drove around like normal, [sarcastically] like only the Germans could...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

They drove around and caught people...Jews, to work, especially Jews.

David Boder

Hm. Who from your family was made to work? From your family? You had no brothers?

Mendel Herskovitz

I too worked a few months.

David Boder

Yes. And the...

Mendel Herskovitz

I was only a young child then.

David Boder

...sisters? How old were your sisters?

Mendel Herskovitz

The sisters were younger than I.

David Boder

Oh, you were the...

Mendel Herskovitz

I was the oldest.

David Boder

With which sister did you run away?

Mendel Herskovitz

With the...with the one younger than I. She was eleven years old.

David Boder

How old? Eleven?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu, that's how it was till Pesach. Now, go on.

Mendel Herskovitz

Later on we were...three weeks before Pesach...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...the Jews were notified that the...there was a part of Lodz that was called Balut [this was the slum] ... hm... that all the Jews had to live together in one quarter. It was called, naturally, a Ghetto.

David Boder

Yes, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

It was to have been that the Ghetto was not to be closed. There will be nearly free movement...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...but on the first...on the second day of Pesach, in the last days, we arose in the morning. we saw that the Ghetto was fenced in.

David Boder

Fenced in?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes.

David Boder

With what?

Mendel Herskovitz

It was fenced in with wires...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...with electric wires. [He often whispers, especially the correction.]

David Boder

With electric wires?

Mendel Herskovitz

No, not with electric wires.

David Boder

Nu, not with electric wires. With [plain] wires. Nu? So?

Mendel Herskovitz

And German soldiers already stood around. It was already guarded.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Then [?]...

David Boder

And they were not.... Nu? What were people doing while they were in the Ghetto?

Mendel Herskovitz

What?

David Boder

What did the people do in the Ghetto?

Mendel Herskovitz

They.... What did they do? They indeed did not know what to do. They became...they became not human [they ceased to be human]. They did not know what to do with themselves.

David Boder

Hm. Were people not taken to work from the Ghetto?

Mendel Herskovitz

Not from the Ghetto.

David Boder

Louder. From the Ghetto people were not taken.

Mendel Herskovitz

From the Ghetto not too many people were taken. I there was...if there was a certain trade...if they needed people with a certain trade.... They were the rag pedlers.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Sellers of rags.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Sellers of refuse. They dealt in old rags.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

They were special Jews who knew...

David Boder

Oh. Sellers of refuse. Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu? What was...

Mendel Herskovitz

...who had competence in this trade.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

They were 'special' specialists.

David Boder

Well.

Mendel Herskovitz

So that they were taken out of the Ghetto, and they lived outside the Ghetto.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

They lived [outside] for a long time, for a year, a year and a half.

David Boder

What were they needed for?

Mendel Herskovitz

Because they were specialists in that they had a knowledge of it.

David Boder

Specialists in what?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes. In that trade.

David Boder

In what? In rags?

Mendel Herskovitz

In rags, yes.

David Boder

Nu, from where did they get so many rags?

Mendel Herskovitz

Was there not enough of it?

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Things that the Jews were wearing before they came to Lodz. Was there not enough of it. Did they not have what to do with it?

David Boder

What was made of the rags?

Mendel Herskovitz

The rags were taken into a factory and there new material [goods] was made out of them.

David Boder

Oh. Nu, let us go on. And how long were you in the Ghetto of Lodz?

Mendel Herskovitz

In the Ghetto of Lodz I was...I myself was till the year forty-three[?]. In the meantime there were goings on. There was a president Rumkowski.

David Boder

A what?

Mendel Herskovitz

Rumkowski.

Mendel Herskovitz

Chaim Rumkowski. A president of the Ghetto of Lodz>.

David Boder

Yes. A Jew?

Mendel Herskovitz

A Jew.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

A Jew who before the war was the head of the orphanages.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And in the Ghetto he became the Elder of Jews.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

He...he was...he was eighty percent for the Germans...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and twenty percent for the Jews. He did what he could to aid the Germans rather than the Jews.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

So that during the time until, let's say till I was deported, that I knew there was one deportation of for-...forty-five thousand Jews...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...who were told they will be distributed among the peasants.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And instead they were sent into the oven, about which we didn't discover till later, because Jews in Lodz didn't till a year before the end of the war, they didn't know that they were being sent into the oven.

David Boder

The Jews in Lodz didn't...?

Mendel Herskovitz

Jews...till a year before the war...before the end of the war...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...they didn't know that people are being sent into the oven.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Because it was said...the forty-five thousand people...It was said that when they were sent out of the Ghetto, they were sent to work...

David Boder

They were sent...

Mendel Herskovitz

...to the peasants and they will have it all right.

David Boder

Nu, let's...Let's go back to your family. So you lived in the Ghetto. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

In the Ghetto.

David Boder

How long...

Mendel Herskovitz

The war...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Everybody worked.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

I had three small sisters and the mommie.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

They worked in one shop.

David Boder

For whom? For the Germans or for...

Mendel Herskovitz

For the Germans.

David Boder

Yes, they...

Mendel Herskovitz

They earned on the job.

David Boder

Yes. And?

Mendel Herskovitz

Daddy worked as a locksmith [enunciation not clear to interviewer].

David Boder

At what did he work?

Mendel Herskovitz

As a locksmith.

David Boder

What is that?

Mendel Herskovitz

Keys, locks, nu. Let us say to make a key for a door...

David Boder

Yes, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

...and other such work, and I worked as smith.

David Boder

Smith.

David Boder

Nu? And who was the smith, a Jew?

Mendel Herskovitz

The...the leader of....There was one Chaimowicz.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There was a whole shop [?]. There was not only a smithy. There were all kinds of work .

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There was a turnery [lathe shop].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There were sheet metal shops and other such...a welding shop...different kinds. There were many kinds of work jobs.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

It used to occupy...there were employed several thousand workers.

David Boder

Hm. Nu, and how long did that last?

Mendel Herskovitz

With me it lasted until the year forty-three.

David Boder

How old were you then?

Mendel Herskovitz

Then I was fifteen years old.

David Boder

Nu...

Mendel Herskovitz

I was sent to Czestochowa.

David Boder

By yourself?

Mendel Herskovitz

By myself. With...

David Boder

And the family?

Mendel Herskovitz

...with another thousand five hundred people...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

They were picked out...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...especially good workers.

David Boder

But the family was left there.

Mendel Herskovitz

The family remained at home.

David Boder

The whole family?

Mendel Herskovitz

The whole family.

David Boder

Nu? All right, so you were sent to Czestochowa.

Mendel Herskovitz

Thousand five - hundred people were sent to Czestochowa.

David Boder

How did you go? By train?

Mendel Herskovitz

David Boder

Yes. And in what type of RR-cars were you sent?

Mendel Herskovitz

Rr-cars?

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

In RR-cars we were transported till Czestochowa...It took maybe...it took about a day and a half...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

This journey ought to have taken a few hours.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

It took a day and a half till we arrived.

David Boder

All right, nu, then?

Mendel Herskovitz

After that we were taken off.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

And we were treated like prisoners were treated.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Beaten...thrashed...took away everything we had...

David Boder

Took away?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes, naturally.

David Boder

Nu? And what was in Czestochowa, a lager?

Mendel Herskovitz

In Czestochowa there was an ammunition lager.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

There only rifle bullets were manufactured.

David Boder

Nu? And what was done when you were sent there?

Mendel Herskovitz

Rifle bullets...A week we were...a week they let us rest...

David Boder

You were allowed to rest?

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes...to rest...It...it was supposed to be called a rest.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Afterwards we were assigned to factories, everyone by his trade that he knew...

David Boder

Uh-huh.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and we worked till...till a certain time [and] they saw that the work didn't go [right]. There were selected from the factory ninety men among whom I was to...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and they were sent to Skarzysko - Kammienna. There is...there is one of the largest factories of ammunitions in Poland. There were manufactured not only rifle bullets. There was manufactured...

David Boder

Were you selected because you were good...

Mendel Herskovitz

...also artillery ammunition.

David Boder

...or because you were bad?

Mendel Herskovitz

Because I was an artisan.

David Boder

Yes, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

So I was selec...selected...

David Boder

And what was...

Mendel Herskovitz

...that there I should...

David Boder

...done with the others?

Mendel Herskovitz

The others remained working.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They worked in the meantime...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and waited till we be returned.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We were taken there to learn a completely different job and return to install the machinery so that it will do the other work.

David Boder

Yes. Were you paid for the work?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were paid nothing. Only the food...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

That was twenty dekas of bread and a soup per day...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and...and sleeping quarters.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We slept on bare boards.

David Boder

On what?

Mendel Herskovitz

On bare boards, four stories in height.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Before the was somebody had a factory there. There was a...His horses were standing there.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Whispers] What is it called in...?

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

What is it called in...?

David Boder

Horses?

Mendel Herskovitz

Horses had been standing there.

David Boder

Yes, a...a stable.

Mendel Herskovitz

A stable for horses.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

And later there had been arranged...erected four-story beds...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and there slept those...

David Boder

And what...

Mendel Herskovitz

...who worked there.

David Boder

...did you wear?

Mendel Herskovitz

For clothing we wore...a jacket, a shirt, a pair of trousers and a pair of shoes.

David Boder

What kind of shoes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Shoes...it depended on the need...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...how one happened to get...one was given a pair of torn leather ones, and another was given a whole pair of wooden ones.

David Boder

Hm. Nu, and, tell me how did the day pass? What time did you get up in the morning?

Mendel Herskovitz

We got up around six o'clock. We washed up. Later we went out and arranged ourselves, everyone according to his job.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There came a German and counted...

David Boder

What? Counted?

Mendel Herskovitz

Counted.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

Afterwards we went to the factory which was a few steps from...from the barracs.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And there we were counted again by every master of one's job...

David Boder

Were you given anything to eat in the morning?

Mendel Herskovitz

We didn't receive till later, in the factory at work.

David Boder

Yes, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

Later came the foremen of every job...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and we were led over to the machines.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We then received the bread.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Then we had breakfast and went to work.

David Boder

Hm. And the foreman was who, German or...Jewish?

Mendel Herskovitz

The foremen were only Germans. There were overseers - very few - who knew the job well, really well.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So they were overseers. So they walked around to watch that we were working and if something special broke that the...the inexperienced worker couldn't fix it, so they fixed it.

David Boder

So they what?

Mendel Herskovitz

So they repaired it.

David Boder

They repaired it.

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes.

David Boder

Yes, nu.

Mendel Herskovitz

And if it happened that maybe someone...that a worker...that it happened to him that he broke something...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...a thing that had to worked on for a half a day...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...or maybe a few hours...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...until it was fixed...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There was upstairs a...there was a special office...there was a special entrance on the side to walk up to the first [second in story in the United States] floor... and one was taken upstairs...Two Germans walked upstairs,...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and that person...he was stretched out on a bench...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and he was administered...it depended...twenty-five...hundred...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

One did withstand it, and another did not withstand it.

David Boder

What means 'he didn't withstand it'?

Mendel Herskovitz

He could get sick and he could...die from it.

David Boder

Hm. [an interrupted word].

Mendel Herskovitz

And one did withstand it...It went by...One it didn't hurt...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...especially...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and another was laid up sick for a few days...and later got up from bed and again went to work.

David Boder

Hm. Nu...If somebody became sick, what was done...if somebody became sick?

Mendel Herskovitz

There was a hospital.

David Boder

What kind of hospital?

Mendel Herskovitz

There was a hospital. There was medical care...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...that...There were Jewish doctors...

David Boder

Hm. Nu, and so, that was where? In Czesto...on Czestochowa?

Mendel Herskovitz

That was in Czestochowa.

David Boder

In Czestochowa. How long were you in Czestochowa?

Mendel Herskovitz

In Czestochowa I was...maybe...four or five months. Later I was sent to Skarzysko, as I told you.

David Boder

Nu, later you were sent where, to...?

Mendel Herskovitz

To Skarzysko for...for nine weeks.

David Boder

Nine weeks.

Mendel Herskovitz

To learn working on a new machine.

David Boder

Oh, you were taught to work on a new machine.

Mendel Herskovitz

On a new machine.

David Boder

And who taught you that?

Mendel Herskovitz

They were old workers, Jewish, who already had worked on that machine. So we were put on that machine and they were only to instruct [?] us.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So that we became more familiar with the machine, and we had special [people] who told us how the machine works...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...how we are spposed to operate it.

David Boder

In what language did they speak to you?

Mendel Herskovitz

To us one spoke German.

David Boder

German.

Mendel Herskovitz

There were Poles, we worked together with Poles...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and they were, of course, free.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

With them, of course, Polish was spoken.

David Boder

Did one live in the same barracks with the Poles?

Mendel Herskovitz

No. They lived in the town.

David Boder

In what:

Mendel Herskovitz

In the town. They lived at home.

David Boder

At home.

Mendel Herskovitz

And we lived in the lager.

David Boder

In the lager. And how did the Poles behave themselves towards the Jews?

Mendel Herskovitz

This already depended on the person.

David Boder

Hm. Nu, all right.

Mendel Herskovitz

But especially good, no. If they could...if they could betray a Jew so that he should fall into a German hand, they did it gladly.

David Boder

He should what?

Mendel Herskovitz

He should fall into a German hand.

David Boder

What does it mean?

Mendel Herskovitz

To a German!

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

If they could snitch [squeal] on him they did it gladly.

David Boder

Nu.

Mendel Herskovitz

Like there have been cases that for a kilo of sugar a Jew was sold. A Jew came to hide himself to a Pole.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

So the Pole first of all would take away from him all his valuables that he had. When he saw that the Jew doesn't have anything more, he would go to the Gestapo, would report that a Jew is hiding out with him, and the Jew was taken out and shot. The Poles received for it either a kilo...a liter of schnapps or a kilo of sugar.

David Boder

A kilo of sugar. Yes. All right. Nu, after the nine weeks there, what happened?

Mendel Herskovitz

After eight, nine weeks....In the meantime, in a lager, naturally, if there were or weren't radios...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...we heard the way the political facts are coming along.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

We also heard that the Russians are beginning to approach, and on the other side the Americans and the English are moving forward.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And three weeks before the liquidation of the camp of Skarzysko...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...we were sent back to Czestochowa...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and here we began to work on those machines that we had learned there.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

And so passed three weeks. After three weeks we heard that the Russians are near Warsaw...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and a day later the camp was liquidated in Czestochowa...in...pardon, in Skarzysko,...

David Boder

What does it mean, 'the camp was liquidated'?

Mendel Herskovitz

The camp was evacuated. We were sent [away].

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

There came...three thousand people were sent to Czestochowa.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Among them were small children. There were forty children.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They were in the first transport that was brought from Skarzysko to Czestochowa. The forty children were taken away. Till twelve years [old] they were taken away and brought out of the Jewish...on the Jewish cemetary...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and the children were slain.

David Boder

Who? [By whom?]

Mendel Herskovitz

The Germans.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

After this was a second transport, so the Jews of Czestochowa had especially...uh...eh...had money...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...so that the second transport was of those who had more money...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and they bribed the Germans...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and the Jews were...and the children were let into the lager.

David Boder

The people were let in...

Mendel Herskovitz

The children were let into the camp, so, that one can say, the children have remained to this day. The children were liberated.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

This lasted till the time...till two, three months later. When the Russians began to go forward, a list was made of nine hundred...from nine to ten hundred people, Jews, and they were supposed to be sent to Czesto...to Buchenwald, among whom I was also.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Suddenly on one morning there was an appell. The nine hundred people were selected...

David Boder

And why to Buchenwald?

Mendel Herskovitz

Because there was a concentration camp. [He means apparently a distribution center.]

David Boder

Hm. And the remaining? The nine hundred were...

Mendel Herskovitz

They remained.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I'll soon tell you what happened to them.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

We were taken outside the city, put on trains, and driven four days in succession.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So we were driven till we arrived in Buchenwald.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

In Buchenwald we were stripped or everything that we had. Everybody already had...we had traded with the Poles.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So everybody already had something.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

One had bread. One had...eh...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...eh...eh...one can say even dollars.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

Another had gold. How one already...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...had worked himself up a little. All this we had taken away. We were given prison clothes.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

That meant jackets and pants, blue and white stripes.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And we were distributed to barracks. We lived thre, two thousand, three thousand men in one block.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

So...

David Boder

Only Jews?

Mendel Herskovitz

Only Jews. This transport was of Jews only.

David Boder

Hm. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

The treatment was...let's imagine, a very bad one.

David Boder

Why? I mean, how come?

Mendel Herskovitz

We didn't receive anything to cover ourselves.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

We had to sleep in our clothes.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

The soup that we received was water. Plain water [in cmparison] is thick.

David Boder

Hm. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furthermore, the bread that we received had more [potato] peels than flour...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...like sawdust. One couldn't call it flour.

David Boder

Did one...

Mendel Herskovitz

Furthermore, we slept...at night we slept fifteen men on two meters, one two meters in width we slept fift-...

David Boder

On two meters in width...

Mendel Herskovitz

...on two meters in width. That was boards knocked together...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...over four stories in height...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...fifteen men slept.

David Boder

On every two meters?

Mendel Herskovitz

On every two meters fifteen men.

David Boder

Nu, how can one sleep like this?

Mendel Herskovitz

This way we had to sleep. How one can, I know...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...that no man can understand it who didn't go through all this...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...who didn't see it, but like this we had to sleep. It acturally was impossible, but in the winter it was warmer because of it.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Heat was not provided. There were barracks that were, maybe fifty, sixty, meters in length and thirty meters in width.

David Boder

In which month did you go to Buchenwald?

Mendel Herskovitz

I came to Buchenwald the first month of '45.

David Boder

January?

Mendel Herskovitz

January.

David Boder

Hm. Nu, and then? Did one work in Buchenwald?

Mendel Herskovitz

In the beginning we were four weeks in quarantine. That meant, four weeks we had to be in the block whether one isn't sick...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...whether one isn't sick of a cont-...contagious...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...disease, and later on one began to be sent to work.

David Boder

What did one do?

Mendel Herskovitz

And in those four weeks...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

In the meantime injections [word given in Polish] were given.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

Injections. What is it called in English or Jewish?

David Boder

What do you call it?

Mendel Herskovitz

I do not know what it is in English.

David Boder

What is it called [attempts to repeat in Polish]?

Mendel Herskovitz

[In Polish] Injections. Nu, that doctors make against...against various didseases.

David Boder

Injections. [In English]

Mendel Herskovitz

Injections...

David Boder

Injections. [In German]

Mendel Herskovitz

Injections. [In German]

David Boder

Injections. [In German, the right word]

Mendel Herskovitz

Injections. That's it.

David Boder

Hm. They were given to you, yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

One was given eight injections against all the diseases that can...that...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...that can be contagious...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...that a man can easily catch...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...in such...under susch filthy conditions in which we lived there.

David Boder

Hm. And then?

Mendel Herskovitz

After four weeks....So we lived for four weeks. After four weeks we began to be distributed to work. There was...in the beginning we...we have... we were sent...we carried bricks to build a...a...against a bombardment to hide oneself.

David Boder

Eh...

Mendel Herskovitz

What was it called?

David Boder

A bomb-shelter. A...

Mendel Herskovitz

A bomb-shelter.

David Boder

Against bombs...to....Yes? I understand. And then?

Mendel Herskovitz

Later, Russians planes have....I remember, on a Friday...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...Russian planes have bombed the first city near Buchenwald. It was eight kilometers from Buchenwald. They have bombed the...in the span of six hours...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...so that....The city was named Weimar.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

They bombed during the span of six hours so, that maybe three-quarters of the city was damaged.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Saturday morning we were put on trains...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and we were driven to this city, to work at the houses there that had been bombed. Naturally a lot of people had been killed.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and later to carry out the things [belongings] that still could be repaired.

David Boder

Were you allowed to take the things which you found?

Mendel Herskovitz

Not for us to keep. To take them out for the Germans.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Because we...we weren't allowed to touch anything. One could help himself...if there was, let's say, a bombed house. If one can find food or other things, one took it...If one could take it with him, he took it with him. If not, he ate it on the spot, so that we made out a little.

David Boder

Did one find any money, or such?

Mendel Herskovitz

Money had absolutely no interest for us, because we couldn"t get anything for the money.

David Boder

One couldn't get anything?

Mendel Herskovitz

We couldn't...

David Boder

And yet...

Mendel Herskovitz

...get anything for the money.

David Boder

There was money in the lager.

Mendel Herskovitz

[In the] later it was different. There was special canteen money...

David Boder

Nu, and what...

Mendel Herskovitz

...for which we received...which we received two marks a week...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...and for this one could get one [bowl of] soup...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...with a liter of beer.

David Boder

What is that?

Mendel Herskovitz

A liter of beer.

David Boder

A little beer?

Mendel Herskovitz

A liter...

David Boder

A liter beer.

Mendel Herskovitz

Beer.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

That was all...

David Boder

And what... [interrupted]

Mendel Herskovitz

...we could get. This we could get on Sunday.

David Boder

Eh... [interrupted]

Mendel Herskovitz

Further, money did not interest us any.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Yes, gold or dollars did interest us, because among us we traded. And there were those who traded with the Germans.

David Boder

There were prisoners who traded... [interrupted]

Mendel Herskovitz

Prisoners...of us who traded with the Germans of...with the SS.

David Boder

Wasn't it dangerous, the SS?

Mendel Herskovitz

It was dangerous, but, if they needed anything, they became 'out of danger.'

David Boder

Hm. When the SS... [interrupted]

Mendel Herskovitz

If it was in their interest they became 'out of danger.'

David Boder

And what did the SS men need dollars for?

Mendel Herskovitz

What did they need dollars for? It was for putting away for after the war.

David Boder

Oh.

Mendel Herskovitz

It is self-understood.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Gold or other things.

David Boder

Yes. This was traded.

Mendel Herskovitz

Then...

David Boder

Nu, how did the liberation come about?

Mendel Herskovitz

The liberation came about ....Wait. Now I will tell you what happened...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...with the...with the remaining Jews.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

There were two thousand three-hundred Jews still in Czestochowa...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...who still remained. The remaining Jews....We had been sent to Czestochowa [he means Buchenwald] nine hundred men. The remaining Jews who stayed behind, two thousand three hundred Jews, among [whom] were older people, women and children, children from two years old and up [?].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They were [to be sent] next day [in the] evening. We had been sent on Tuesday. Tomorrow Wednesday night, they were also supposed to be sent to Buchenwald.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They were taken out to the train around three-quarters to eleven.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

But the German were badly informed about the Russians' being already near Czestochowa, and around eleven o'clock...the Russians scouts...the tanks...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...entered the town.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So, that the Germans who drove the two thousand three hundred Jews became confused and they ran away and the Jews became liberated.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So that I myself transmitted regards here in France, to people that I knew...on the supposition...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I based it on this, that I knew that they had been liberated, so I knew to give regards to families...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...hundred percent that those people had remained alive.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And they did write letters.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

To cities that I knew they had been living in, and they have received answers. So, they can...they came to France too.

David Boder

Nu, and where is your family?

Mendel Herskovitz

My family...till now I have had no news. Hopies I do not have, and there has remained no one.

David Boder

And...

Mendel Herskovitz

Of eighty-one persons altogether who made up the family, aunts and uncles and cousins...

David Boder

How many persons?

Mendel Herskovitz

Eighty-one persons.

David Boder

Eighty-one.

Mendel Herskovitz

I am the eighty-first...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...and eighty persons have perished.

David Boder

How do you know? Maybe...Have you asked? People...

Mendel Herskovitz

I have already written letters everywhere and I have been answered, 'Till now we have no signs from them...'

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

'...and if there will be any, we will send you [word].' For the time being, I see nothing, no one.

David Boder

Now, here is this. What do you want to do now? What will you...

Mendel Herskovitz

Now I am learning a trade, and I believe that...that in the future it will be easy for me.

David Boder

What trade are you learning?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furrier.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furrier.

David Boder

What is that?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furs.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furs. Nu, fur coats.

David Boder

[Pause.] What do you make?

Mendel Herskovitz

[In French] Fourrure.

David Boder

Furrier?

Mendel Herskovitz

Furrier.

David Boder

Oh! With skins.

Mendel Herskovitz

Skins.

David Boder

Oh! And where do you want to remain?

Mendel Herskovitz

I am telling you, I have no hopes. In America I have no family.

David Boder

You have no family?

Mendel Herskovitz

No.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

In other...other countries neither...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

So the only way out for me is...Palestine. I don't know how I stand with it. In the meantime I expect to remain in France.

David Boder

Yes? One doesn't make out much with furs in Palestine.

Mendel Herskovitz

If I go to Palestine, naturally, I won't stay with this trade.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

There are other trades. There are 'Kibbutzim" [communal farms], but because of this one thing, I don't want to join a Kibbutz, because I picture it to myself...it is the same as in a lager.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

A kibbutz.

David Boder

Yes. The same as what? As in a...

Mendel Herskovitz

Like in camp, a living together [communal life]. And I don't like such a 'living together.'

David Boder

Hm. You do not like 'living together.'

Mendel Herskovitz

No. I have already had enough.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I remember at home we had a family life, and this...to this...for that I am longing again.

David Boder

You long for a family life, and you have no family in America?

Mendel Herskovitz

No. I have no family in America, so that I have no way out...

David Boder

Nu.

Mendel Herskovitz

...but to remain here.

David Boder

Now, if you can do it...I want...I want you to tell me which moment of that whole time...which moment was the worst moment.

Mendel Herskovitz

The worst?

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Thinks.] I did not have any particularly bad moments. I did hunger.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

But it was according...according to the whole time, there was only a small percentage [of time] and I hungered. Even in the Ghetto I did also. Among us it was called 'organizing.' [Footnote: The word 'organizing' was a synonym in code for stealing.]

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Too kosher [legitimate] it was not, but for the hungry one it was called kosher.

David Boder

Hm?

Mendel Herskovitz

So whichever way we could help ourselves, we helped [ourselves] so that the family at home also had...also did...hungered much less because of...that...that I helped to earn, so that there should be more food in the house.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And a bad moment that I did have has to be combined with the...with the liberation.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

One day, suddenly....This could have been...or...this could have been... [recollects] on the seventh of April. In the evening, about four o'clock there came an announcement from...through the radio...from the lager elder, a German, an SS man. The announcement went thus: 'Hello, hello. All Jews in the lager fall in on the appell square. The block elders will see to it that the Jews shall march out.' A terror gripped the Jews who were in camp.

David Boder

Was this in Buchenwald?

Mendel Herskovitz

This was in Buchenwald.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

A terror gripped the Jews who were in camp. One...one knew what one goes up for. So that...[we knew] to especially isolate us so that we should remain alive, they don't want. And the contrary a hundred percent yes. So that...so, we didn't go. On that...on that particular day we didn't go.

David Boder

How? How can one not go when one is called?

Mendel Herskovitz

We said we are not going, and we did not go?[Footnote: This pertained only to the youth barrack, which had, with the sanction of a kind of barracks chief, refused to go. The Jews in other barracks did go. See the interview with Israel Unikowski. B.W.]

David Boder

How long was this before the liberation?

Mendel Herskovitz

This had....Before the liberation? It was four days. Because on the eleventh...

David Boder

Oh!

Mendel Herskovitz

Buchenwald became liberated.

David Boder

Hm. One did not go, and what did the SS do?

Mendel Herskovitz

We did not go. In the meantime there was another [announcement through the] radio [to] the block elder that tomorrow morning...that [in the meantime] the Jews should be let back into the lagers, and tomorrow morning around six there will be an appell.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

An appell of the whole camp, and it was said especially the Jews will be picked out.

David Boder

Yes. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were let back into the camps. In the meantime one can imagine the panic that had reigned in camp...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...till we already heard the [announcement over the] radio that we can go back into the lager.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We ran around and there were given...there were thirty per cent of the prisoners.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...who...of other nations, not Jews, who were for us, who also cried that we should not go. I personally came into a block of Frenchmen...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...who...There was one there who...he recognized that I was a Jew. He came over to me and gave me a....In camp one wore a red three-cornered [triangular] insignia.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Every nation had it own inscription. Frenchmen had an 'F'.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

If there were Germans, they had a blue one without anything, without any inscription. Poles had a 'P'. Other nations had the first...the first letter of their...of the name of their country. He gave me a....I spoke Polish. French I did not know then. So he gave me a three-cornered sign [triangle], a red one with a 'P'. This denoted a Pole.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Like that...like that I sat there till eleven at night. At eleven was the call from the radio that we can go back to the lager and we slept through the whole night. About five in the morning we were awakened. We received twenty-five deka of bread...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...with two deka of margarin. This we ate with coffee, and...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...we went out on the appell square. On the appell square a counting took place with a lot of SS men. And they began to isolate...they began to put the Jews separately. Jews saw what was in store. They began to run away.

David Boder

Did they not call out the guard, yes, to the appell?

Mendel Herskovitz

They took out especially the Jews. But the Jews knew what this is for. They began to run away. The SS men ran after them. They fired twice [?]. He who could hide himself, hid himself, and the rest all were taken...[The spool ends in mid-sentence.]

David Boder

[In English] This spool has at the start a wrong identification. It is not 95. It is spool 9-10, a continuation of spool 9-9 of the original spool 9 of Herskovtiz's report. Boder.

Herman Barnett

Spool number 95. Spool number 95. Recording start.

David Boder

This is a continuation of Spool 9. It is still... still Mendel Herskovitz and he is in the middle of the story of the last act... eh, incident of Buchenwald.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] Nu, and so?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were taken....There was a campt DAW [Deutsche Automobil Werke]. These had been factories around Buchenwald which, at that time, had been bombed and were in ruins. There the Jews were separately gathered.

David Boder

What kind of camp?

Mendel Herskovitz

Near...near Buchenwald...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...were barracks which were called D-A-W.

David Boder

How?

Mendel Herskovitz

D-A-W.

David Boder

D-A-W.?

Mendel Herskovitz

When a transport was sent away...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...they were gathered in there.

David Boder

By train or by trucks?

Mendel Herskovitz

There the railroad was near the lager. It wasn't far from camp.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were gathered there, and we sat there two days.

David Boder

In the RR-cars?

Mendel Herskovitz

In the barracks. There were barracks there.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We were four thousand men to a barrack.

David Boder

And how many were taken from Buchenwald?

Mendel Herskovitz

Jews were gathered then around...there could have been around eight thousand Jews.

David Boder

Eight thousand Jews from Buchenwald.

Mendel Herskovitz

Eight thousand Jews.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Suddenly, one day, the next day or the day after, it was...were taken out the first- I was in the first barrack- - were taken out around...it was five in the morning SS men came in and told everybody to go outside. The floor was made out of stone, so we built a fire. We tore off board that lay there...

David Boder

Who did?

Mendel Herskovitz

...from the walls. We [did].

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

We built there a fire- - it was in the middle of winter.

David Boder

The fires were built outside.

Mendel Herskovitz

Not outside but inside. And so we sat around and told stories...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

..[about] various things. And bewailed our...

David Boder

And.

Mendel Herskovitz

...our plight in which we are. Suddenly, around five in the morning, we arose. Germans come in and tell everybody to go out.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I have...have understood that which everybody understood. But... I understood what the going out was for, especially...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So I looked for a place to hide myself. There was a boiler for steam [a steam boiler].

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

A boiler for steam. For heating the hall.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Heated it hadn't been...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...naturally.

David Boder

Hm. What kind of hall...

Mendel Herskovitz

But the boiler stood...

David Boder

What had the hall been before?

Mendel Herskovitz

The hall...Before there might have been a factory.

David Boder

Aha. So there was an oven.

Mendel Herskovitz

So there stood a steam-oven [boiler].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I searched for an entry into it.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Find it I couldn't. But yet, I found...I was able to squeeze myself behind where there was...where the coal was put in.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Where the oven was fired...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

I barely made it in there. I went in feet first...

David Boder

Uh-huh.

Mendel Herskovitz

...that the head should stick out so that I should be able to look out every so often.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I wore an overcoat so I put it underneath, where the ashes come out. Thus I lay there till [for] twenty-four hours. After twenty-four hours...

David Boder

Did you have anything to eat?

Mendel Herskovitz

I ate absolutely nothing. I didn't fell that I am hungry.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So big was the fright.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

After twenty-four hours I went out. It was early morning, next day in the early morning. I went out. That...that barracks was already free of guards. It wasn't guarded, because nobody was supposed to have been in there any more. That I was here, nobody knew, because I had been hiding. I went out and was going to go over to the second barrack which was still full of Jews who were supposed to have been sent on another day. One the way meets me...meets me a sentry who was standing...a German who was standing there. He asks me, 'Why are you going?' So I answer him as...as if nothing ever happened. 'I was here in the latrine and now I am going back to the barrack.' So he told me...

David Boder

Didn't you have a French uniform?

Mendel Herskovitz

The uniform I didn't have. I only had the badge.

David Boder

You only had the badge, nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

But I did go over again. I went into that block and there I stayed til...till a certain time.

David Boder

And who was in the block?

Mendel Herskovitz

In the block already were Jews with Russians. They already began to add from other nations because the entire lager was already supposed to be evacuated.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

There we stayed for three days.

David Boder

What was done with the other Jews who had been gathered?

Mendel Herskovitz

The remaining Jews were led out...were led along the road and, according to the information we have received from a sparse few who showed up later, that the remaining were all...were all slain. They were all shot on the way. There were such people who did not have the strength to walk any farther, and they fell down, and as soon as they sat down they were immediately shot.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

This happened among the Jews who went on the road [were evacuated]. The remaining, who stayed behind in the other blocks, after three days, on an afternoon, were all told to return to their lager and the last lager was to be evacuated. [Pause.] We returned to the lager around seven in the evening. We slept there. Next morning there was radio [announcement] that an evacuation of the whole lager is taking place, block-wise. Blocks there were...there were in Buchenwald eighty thousand people. Among them were thirty-five nationalities. The next morning one began to take... there was a small lager and a large lager. The large lager [ordinarily] went to work. In the small lager there were the weaker ones who could not go to work. So the first block of the small lager was taken. The last block...the seventieth block....I surmised that the small lager will be taken first.

David Boder

What was the small lager?

Mendel Herskovitz

The small lager....There was a small lager which was purposely fenced off with wires.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

And only later the large camp will be taken. In the meantime it came to pass that [from] the small lager one block was taken. And while the small lager was taken, I prepared myself. I dressed, took what was necessary for the road, and went down. I was located on the second floor. I went downstairs to the courtyard, and there I stood and waited for the departure. I already had told myself, 'We are lost. What will happen to everybody will happen to me also. I will go.' So after the small block [the small camp] which was taken on the journey, a German came over and called out that I was to go. The forty-seventh barrack I which I was. It came out that I had to stand in the first 'row of five.' [The formation was made up of rows, five to a row.] Because we were arranged in rows. So I say [to myself], 'No, first of all I do not want to stand in the first five. I will go down. I joined another one and with him I began to edge myself toward the back. In the meantime I lost the other on the way. On the stairs which I wanted to take to the second floor...so I looked for a way up. There were lined up prisoners who were old timers who were supposed to remain, who took care of the block. All people...and they...and they stood with clubs and chased down all the people from upstairs who had hidden themselves.

David Boder

Jewish people?

Mendel Herskovitz

There were...we were with Russians together. There had come a fresh transport of Aryans.

David Boder

But...but the old-timers? The...the...

Mendel Herskovitz

They were Germans.

David Boder

Germans?

Mendel Herskovitz

Gypsies.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

Gypsies.

David Boder

Gypsies?

Mendel Herskovitz

[With irritation] Gyps-...Gyps-...German...Gypsies who had lived in Germany.

David Boder

Hm. Gypsies who had lived in Germany.

Mendel Herskovitz

Who had lived in Germany.

David Boder

So they were helping the...

Mendel Herskovitz

They were helping the SS.

David Boder

Hm. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

Is...I do not know myself how I got upstairs. There was on the opposite side...on the opposite side the moment I got into the entrance of... of the stairs into the corridor....There was a storeroom with ungetuigs. [There follows a rather comic dialogue based on the inability of the interviewer to understand the word or rather the specific enunciation of the Yiddish noun ungetuigs. The word ungetuigs roughly corresponds to the German verb antuen which under some circumstances could be translated to put on, to dress. The English word pull-over is a partial analogue. The word ungetuigs stands for all kinds of clothing.]

David Boder

Of what?

Mendel Herskovitz

Of old ungetuigs. How I got on the stairs, I do not know, but near...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...near me....The moment I saw the door [of the storeroom] with old ungetuigs, I gave a look inside.

David Boder

What is old ungetuigs?

Mendel Herskovitz

[With despair] Oi wei.

David Boder

Yes. Nu, tell me, what is it?

Mendel Herskovitz

[Pointing to his clothes] This here.

David Boder

Oh! Old clothing!

Mendel Herskovitz

What is it called in English?

David Boder

[In German] Clothing.

Mendel Herskovitz

[In German] Clothing.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Insisting] What is it called in English?

David Boder

In English? Shirts. Clothes. Clothing. [The above dialogue was omitted in the first typing due to an oversight by the typist and had to be inserted afterwards.]

Mendel Herskovitz

[In English] Clothing.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Persistently] Clothing.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

[With satisfaction] I have learned already the word.

David Boder

Yes. Nu? So you went upstairs.

Mendel Herskovitz

So I went up the stairs and entered and went to the door where there was the [in English] clothing, where there was the old [in English] clothing which was inside.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Next to me there was standing a Russian. So I say to him, 'I am going inside. You shut me in.' So he says to me, 'Foolish child, you will be found in here.' So I say, 'Want to bet? Either yes or no.'

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And so he shut me in, and I stayed. I remained inside. The whole block was taken away and I myself remained in the block. About this no one knew.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

All those who were...all the caretakers of block who had remained inside did not know about this.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

After three hours I heard steps in the corridor. Somebody is approaching and open the door and throws something in and goes away. When I hear him coming, it beat...my heart began to beat faster than his feet were going.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

When he opened the door, one can imagine what kind of fright gripped me. I thought, now they will take me. I buried myself in the [in English] clothing that was lying still deeper. And so, he threw in something and went away.

David Boder

Who was it?

Mendel Herskovitz

After five minutes....Who it was I do not know.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

One who took care...who possibly took care of the block. One who had remained. After five minutes I got up, looked for the thing he had thrown in. He had thrown in half a sack of flour. [The next few sentences are spoken in a rather jovial manner.]

David Boder

It was intended for you?

Mendel Herskovitz

Not for me.

David Boder

Ha, ha.

Mendel Herskovitz

It wasn't for me.

David Boder

Ha, ha.

Mendel Herskovitz

It was so. He had a surplus.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

- -He already had too much so he threw it in.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

When I saw flour...nu, at that, flour was also an item [of food]; uncooked flour was also an item [of food].

David Boder

What did you do with it?

Mendel Herskovitz

I took it in my mouth. More or less mixed with what one has in his mouth...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and swallowed. This quieted the hunger a little. After two more hours....There were cauldrons from the coffee which was given in the morning.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They wanted to put them in there. Someone came and opened the door, with the cauldrons, and went to put them inside. All of a sudden he noticed something. He closed the door and went away. My heart began to beat a little faster. I...I expected something. What I expected really did come: he called together all who were in the block and he wanted to show them. In spite of having watched, watched so faithfully for the Germans, in spite of that, one is found...in spite of that one has been found who had hidden himself! They came over. I was wrapped in a [in French] blanket. I mean in a [in Polish] blanket. He began go pull on the blanket, but I held on strongly on the other end. I didn't let myself be uncovered. In the end I saw that I had no way out. Ten men were already standing around...around me, so I uncovered myself, and I began to cry and beg to let me go, 'I was left by myself. Nobody is here. Nobody will know about it. The Russians are coming any day now. Will it do you any harm?' They didn't want to know anything. They led me out. They took me by the collar properly...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and they led me out on the road where everybody was going 'on the road.' Where everybody was going out.

David Boder

Were they SS men? Germans?

Mendel Herskovitz

What?

David Boder

These people?

Mendel Herskovitz

These people were those faithful henchmen of the Germans...

David Boder

But, yes...

Mendel Herskovitz

...who were also prisoners.

David Boder

...didn't they have guns?

Mendel Herskovitz

They didn't have guns.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Weapons they didn't have.

David Boder

They simply led you out.

Mendel Herskovitz

Simply led [me] out on the road where people were going. And there already stood other prisoners who were called 'lager police.' They were organized by the SS.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They guarded inside the lager. I am coming out on the road. So I stop and look over what sort to sick people I am going with. I wasn't especially...especially weakened I wans't. The nerves still carried me, which made me strong. I am standing thus and look over. Quickly I contemplated, 'Am I going to the road? No! I'll see not to go!' I had a blanket over me, a plate and pot. These I threw away. I wore the overcoat [?]. All of a sudden I began to walk with a firm step into the sirst street between two blocks. I walked in like...as if it does not mean me. I only walked about ten steps. I thought that I have already succeeded, that I am not going to be notice, and suddenly someone calls after me, 'Hey! Come back!' I saw that I am 'in the package.' [I am cornered].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I had to get [back] and [in Hebrew] to my shame. Oh, you understand what 'to my shame' means, and so I go back. I was led out on the road again. I came out on the appell square which had...which had three hundred meters in length, one hundred meters in width. There, every evening, when the lager was still in shape, there the prisoners were counted...if everything checks, whether someone didn't escape. This square everybody had to cross. They went to the gate and went out on the journey. I came to this square. I stopped with folded arms and began to think, 'What does one do further?' I go over to someone who was standing there who led... who guarded the road so nobody should straggle away. He should go out on this road, I go over to him and tell him, 'I am fifteen years old. How can I go on the road? I have no strength.' Say he, 'That is none of my business. If you were brought out here you have to go.'

David Boder

How old were you?

Mendel Herskovitz

I was fifteen years old at that time.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I was pushed from one to the next one. I was pushed till I came half way....I was already half way across the square. I stopped and said, 'No! I am not going any farther!' And I looked around. I saw there were sick people lying. Whether they were really sick or were doing the same trick that I was going to do, I do not know. Suddenly, I threw myself down! I threw myself on the ground.

David Boder

And so?

Mendel Herskovitz

I threw myself down. I am dead. I have died. This is the end. I can't go any farther. Suddenly, I hear that they are beginning to gather the sick, the dead.

David Boder

Where? On the road or on the square?

Mendel Herskovitz

On the square where one was lying...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...where one was [word not clear].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Suddenly a German comes over to me and gives me a kick. 'Damn you. Will you get up?' I didn't say anything. I pretended that I had...I had died, but yet, with one eye I looked at him like this. With one hand I had covered the face and with one eye I looked out at him. He gives me another kick, 'Are you getting up or not" If not I pop you.' I didn't say nothing again, but I saw he is taking out the pistol and points at me. 'For the last time, I am telling you,' says he, 'if you don't get up I will pop you.' In this moment comes over to him...come over another SS man and grabs him by the hand...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and tells him, "But, man, it is a waste of the bullet that you are going to give him. You can see that he is already dead.' Then he gave a stronger kick so that I was...that...I was lying...so that I should be lying without...without, without...as if fainted.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

If I should be picked up, the hand and the feet should hang down as if...as if I were dead.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And he gives me a kick. I take such a fall...

David Boder

What does it mean...

Mendel Herskovitz

A kick with the foot.

David Boder

Who?

Mendel Herskovitz

A second SS man.

David Boder

Yes, but where did he...

Mendel Herskovitz

He gave me a kick wherever it happened.

David Boder

Yes, Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

I gave such a fall over, with the head...the head down, and he says to him, 'Now see, he is already dead.' And they picked themselves up and went away. They went away and me....Everybody was already gathered...

David Boder

Where was that? On the road or on the square?

Mendel Herskovitz

This was on the square.

David Boder

Hm. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

They had already gathered nearly everybody. I got up and go over to one of those who guarded the road. I go over to him and tell him, 'I am fifteen years old,' I tell him again the same story, to another one, 'and how can I go on the road?' Suddenly, I noticed on the sides...on the side are sitting youths of twelve, thirteen, fourteen,fifteen, sixteen years.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Up to eighteen years the youths were sitting there. There was a block which was especially for youths.

David Boder

What kind of youth?

Mendel Herskovitz

Youth, who had...

David Boder

Young people.

Mendel Herskovitz

Young people!

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

Young...children.

David Boder

How did you say it? Youth...

Mendel Herskovitz

Youth. Youth.

David Boder

Yes. Nu? And?

Mendel Herskovitz

And I noticed it from the side,...from far away, that there was a block especially for youth. They didn't work, and I saw that if I won't work the hunger will be bigger, and when I did work I had more to eat. I say...I say with my mouth and not with my heart, as the saying goes. And I was not in this block, but I was in a block of older people who were going to work. I reported that I was over eighteen.

David Boder

But you were fifteen.

Mendel Herskovitz

I was fifteen, but I reported that I was over eighteen.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I go over to him. So I went over to him and spoke a few words with him, and in the meantime someone else came over and also spoke with him that he should let him pass to the side. And while he was standing with him, I do not know from where I got the strenght to run over....And I quickly ran over...ran over to the others.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

To the children. And I sat down in a way that I was not noticed. In the meantime people were going on the road. One block after another was led through, hundred and thousands [of people]. And so it continued until about one or two [o'clock]. There was an air-raid.

David Boder

An air-raid.

Mendel Herskovitz

Planes arrived, American [planes].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And everybody was ordered to return to the blocks. These who were on the road...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...near the gate...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...were also told to return to the blocks. We picked ourselves up and went back to the barracks. I went into the barrack which was on hand, mine or not mine, and in the meantime we talked things over, whether there will again be...whether one will be led out again or one will not be led out. We ourselves did not know which it would be. That day nobody was led out any more. A whole night it lasted. We slept through....It is self-understood that sleep we did not. We only lay in deathly fear that one should not in the middle of the night....They will set up machines guns and start shooting, or we should not be led out at night. This lasted...this lying and thinking, till around...till around eight o'clock in the morning. At eight we got up. Food, we received no food. It had already been a day and a half till two days that we had not eaten. And we waited for further word, what our fate would be. Around eleven o'clock there was an alarm. To know exactly what the alarm was about, we did not know.

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

Later, half an hour later, we found out that it had been an air-raid, an enemy alarm.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

An enemy alarm.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

That meant, a half an hour before the enemy enters...

David Boder

Hm. Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...before the enemy enters there was a five minute...a five minute alarm of one [protracted] tone.

David Boder

Of one tone?

Mendel Herskovitz

Of one tone.

David Boder

What was the meaning of that?

Mendel Herskovitz

That denoted that the enemy was arriving.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

That Germany's enemy was arriving.

David Boder

The enemy army.

Mendel Herskovitz

The whistling denoted this.

David Boder

Yes. Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

That all the Germans, the SS men should prepare themselves to take to the road, that in half an hour will come...will arrive the Americans.

David Boder

Hm. So?

Mendel Herskovitz

Our joy became very great, but we could not believe ourselves, that this was possible, that there will be...that in another hour we will be free.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

But yet we waited. We said that...something...something was sure. Believe it for sure, we couldn't, but factually it really meant something.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

It lasted an hour's time. We already heard...we already heard shooting from the Americans, and the Germans returned it. We began to stream out on the road from which we heard the American tanks, the assault tanks. We heard rumbling. We heard rolling. At first, the first few minutes, we thought that they are...that they are German...

David Boder

Yes.

Mendel Herskovitz

...but we had the lorgnettes. What is a lorgnette called?

David Boder

The...the...the...field glasses.

Mendel Herskovitz

Field Glasses.

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

We had...one had it, a block elder. We looked. From far away we could already see the American star, the white one.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So that we already knew...

David Boder

That they were American.

Mendel Herskovitz

...That they were American. We surged out on the road with our last strengths, which after two days, one can say already after two and a half of not eating, we surged out. We ran three, four kilometers through a forest, a field, broke the wires, which were electrified.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We brought wooden beams and with the beams we tore up the wires. We got out. We came our on the road. The Americans didn't know who we were.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

They started to point the machine guns at us. They didn't shoot.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We put our hands up.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And there...there drove over a tank...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...with a machine gun in the hand ready to shoot.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And he asked us who we were.

David Boder

And what did you say?

Mendel Herskovitz

In English....We couldn't answer him so we asked him if he doesn't speak German, so he said, 'Yes,' he speaks German. We began to talk to him in German. We said, 'Here is Buchenwald.' He put up a pair of eyes. He did not know where he was. Yet, we saw that his joy was great, that...that...that a lager has been liberated. And so, he started to question us, and first was...there were older people...so he gave us cigarettes and chocolate and other things, with which one really...really could gladden his heart. I had another experience yet. I ran on farther. I had...I ran...I ran on another way.

David Boder

Why?

Mendel Herskovitz

Why? Because I had a yen to go on another road. 'Let me be by myself near a tank. Let me see how...let me talk to one by myself.... How it will come out.'

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

So I chanced upon a tank on which was...only later on I found out that he was a Jew. In the meantime it came out so he pointed the machine gun at me. He didn't know who I was.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

And I went over to him. I told him that I was from Buchenwald. He gave...he gave such a shudder. He himself did not know...he didn't know what to think about this. And asks me in German whether any Jews are here. 'I say, 'Jews? I too am a Jew!' His machine gun fell down...fell down, down from the tank as he was holding it, and he jumped down to me and began to kiss me so that I have...that I didn't have the strength to hold out from the kisses that he gave me! And he altogether...his ears couldn't comprehend the words that I spoke to him! And he began...he began to give me different things. He had inside American...American clothes [ungetuigs] he gave me. And he took from me...he said in a few days he will come here to see me. And it really was so. In a few days he was here with me.

David Boder

[Question not clear.]

Mendel Herskovitz

The American. That soldier who was on the tank.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

He came to me into the lager driving the tank.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

And purposely searched me out.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

And I didn't...he has...he has treated me...I have no words! And after that time I didn't see him any more because, naturally, he went on.

David Boder

What is his name?

Mendel Herskovitz

What?

David Boder

What is the name?

Mendel Herskovitz

The name I don't know.

David Boder

Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

I went back to the lager I had...hungry I wasn't any more. I already had stuffed myself with chocolate, with other things. I came into the lager. There were lot of sick people who couldn't...couldn't, alas, walk by themselves, who waited for somebody to bring them something. So there I...I had a lot of things. I distributed to them cigarettes- -This in our lager was an especially important article which...it was very seldom that one came across cigarettes. If one did come across cigarettes... If one did come across...they were dried leaves from trees; And this, one smoked. And then came...the American began to come into the camp. After two days we began to receive dinner. This was still a day before. I got up, and I knew that bread I didn't receive from the American when I met the tank, but I knew that bread I will receive somewhere else, from a German who is in the lager. So I went up to the one who pulled me out from that...out from the storeroom upstairs [?].

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I had already seen him...

David Boder

How was that?

Mendel Herskovitz

He was a prisoner too.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

I go up to him and stopped before him, and begin to look at him so. I ask him, 'Do you recognize me, or don't you recognize me?' He said, 'No, I do not recognize you.'

David Boder

He was a German?

Mendel Herskovitz

A German. That gypsy who...

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

...had pulled me out of the storeroom. So I say, 'You don't know me? Now I am going to settle with you. Wait!' And say to him, 'I am the one whom you have taken out from the storeroom.' He became shocked and pale, and he did not know what to answer. He was just in the middle of eating, so he gave me bread. So I say, 'No, not the bread I mean. Now I want to settle with you for that, because you took me out from the store- room. I begged you like a child a year old, that you should let me go. I am one, left by myself.' He says, 'What do you want to do to me? Do what you want with me.' And so, first of all I am hungry, so I took from him the bread.

David Boder

Why? The Americans were already there.

Mendel Herskovitz

For bread I was hungry. The Americans were not yet in the lager.

David Boder

Oh.

Mendel Herskovitz

They couldn't come into the camp because, the...the...the soldiers who walked on foot...

David Boder

Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...that means, they who made the...who began to make the arrangements were not yet there.

David Boder

But you said the tank came in.

Mendel Herskovitz

The tank drove in only two days later.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

The tank first drove in two days later.

David Boder

But the tank with whom you...

Mendel Herskovitz

The one I talked with, he drove on...

David Boder

Oh.

Mendel Herskovitz

...and only two days later...

David Boder

Oh, later...

Mendel Herskovitz

...he said he will come to me, and two days later he came.

David Boder

Hm. All right. Nu?

Mendel Herskovitz

So I say, 'Now I am letting you go, but, in a few days I shall find you.' I should have settled with him then and there because I searched for him later. In a few days he was not in the lager any more. That I could not help.

David Boder

One moment...

David Boder

[In English] This is Mendel Herskovitz. [spool has become very noisy.]

David Boder

[In Yiddish] What does this picture remind you of?

Mendel Herskovitz

This picture can remind me of only one thing.

David Boder

What is that?

Mendel Herskovitz

How father was standing near a dying son, or a son was standing near a dying father, or a brother near a brother.

David Boder

And what doe this picture remind you of? [Aside:] This is #18.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Pause.] The moment when we stood up to the knees in snow, shivering from the cold. We could stand like this for five [?] hours, on an appell until the block elder would decide to let us inside.

David Boder

And...

Mendel Herskovitz

And not one [many] perished at such an appell. About [?] women too...

David Boder

[Not clear.] Yes?

Mendel Herskovitz

...because no women were with us in the lager. But I can only imagine, according to what I see here. I can imagine how I was running with a pair of ghostly eyes and stared in front of me...until I was saved [?] by the liberation.

David Boder

And what is this?

Mendel Herskovitz

Here I can only remind myself of childhood years. How I sat at our own table.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

The childhood years. How I sat at our own table.

David Boder

[Aside:] Number one. And what is this?

Mendel Herskovitz

Country place at home where we often went.

David Boder

That was number two. Yes, one moment. Now number three, BM.

Mendel Herskovitz

[Pause.] A sick prisoner and a hungry one, without hope.

David Boder

Hm. Well Mendel...

Mendel Herskovitz

That is all?

David Boder

That was good. We have learned a lot from your story. We have heard some in America during the war, but no matter how much one hears, it is not enough.

Mendel Herskovitz

I do not that much of...I do not have that much in me of the poetical power that I should be able to relate everything.

David Boder

One does not need poetical powers...

Mendel Herskovitz

I cannot...

David Boder

...to tell in simple words.

Mendel Herskovitz

It is....How much one can...a person simply cannot imagine it, and a writer cannot describe it, every moment separately that one...what the one went through and what he saw that others went through. That on an evening a German could come in when we sat and we ate the soup. He could come in, distribute cigarettes, and suddenly take out the pistol and begin shooting those who were sitting. He could [words not clear].

David Boder

Did you yourself see that?

Mendel Herskovitz

I saw that too.

David Boder

Where was that?

Mendel Herskovitz

The bullet by chance did not hit me.

David Boder

What?

Mendel Herskovitz

The bullet by chance did not hit me. Surely I saw it.

David Boder

You saw it. Where was that?

Mendel Herskovitz

This was in the lager. [Pause.] In Dachau.

David Boder

Were you in Dachau?

Mendel Herskovitz

What?

David Boder

Have you been in Dachau?

Mendel Herskovitz

I was in Dachau too, maybe two days, passing through.

David Boder

What did you do? Tell me.

Mendel Herskovitz

To Dachau we were only taken by train. Food we were not given. We were taken out into a barrack which was right near the train, and from here we were taken in the morning to go on.

David Boder

You were telling me . Who gave the cigarettes?

Mendel Herskovitz

I have told you that.

David Boder

Yes. What did he do?

Mendel Herskovitz

We were sitting there in the lager where...there in that barrack we were for two days.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

We received there a soup. It was in the evening.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

Suddenly a German came in and he gave everybody cigarettes. Every body had already finished smoking. He took out the pistol, which was loaded with bullets, and shot at those who were sitting. And ten people...

David Boder

[Not clear.]

Mendel Herskovitz

He was drunk, too, at that instance.

David Boder

Hm.

Mendel Herskovitz

If he was drunk, there was not responsibility. That was just so.

David Boder

[In English] This concludes Spool 10, a continuation of 9. What is the name of this place? Chateau...

Mendel Herskovitz

Chateau Boucicaut.

David Boder

Taken at Chateau de Boucicaut on July 31st, 1946. And the boy is Mendel Herskovitz now, at present, eighteen years of age, studying to be a furrier. He has no intention to go to Palestine, no intention to go to the United States, and intends to remain in the States [correction] remain in France.