David P. Boder Interviews Benjamin Piskorz; September 1, 1946; Tradate, Italy

var english_translation = { interview: [ David Boder

[In English] Spool number 102, Benjamin Piskorz from Warsaw reporting. We are making an experiment now to pick up special episodes rather than to take the whole story. He was a participant in the fights of the Warsaw Ghetto, and that he has chosen to relate [to] us. We . . . we started a spool which . . . eh, went wrong, and we are . . . the first twenty minutes will be repetition which, possibly, will influence the fluency or the details of his story.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] And so, Mr. Piskorz, you saw what happened with the spool. Please start. Tell us your name, and tell us please the story of the entire uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, the way you personally have experienced it.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

All right.

Benjamin Piskorz

My name is Piskorz, Benjamin. I was born in Warsaw, and that which I am going to tell you I have lived through and seen with [my] own eyes and felt with my own body. The first happenings, the ones I want to tell you, because the whole story will take a little too long . . . I will begin right away with the transportations, when a few transports of Jews had already been sent away, and we began to organize the Young Fighters. We began organizing the Jewish Fighter Troops. These Jewish Fighter Troops were called Z.P.B. In Polish these initials stand for Jewish Fighter Organization, and which . . . and which had as its aim the fight against the exterminations of the Jews which were going on in Poland till . . . till . . . till the Judenrein [operation Jew-clean, a locality devoid of Jews, a Jew clean-out]. The procurement of weapons from [for?] the party [Polish underground?] was very difficult, because [of] money, the financial position of the organization, was very weak. It was scarcely enough to buy a few pistols for the organization [some words not clear].

David Boder

From whom did one buy them, the pistols [?]?

Benjamin Piskorz

What?

David Boder

From whom did one buy them, the pistols?

Benjamin Piskorz

Oh, yes. The pistols we bought. The comrades who worked in various places of the German troops, for instance, by the SS in the veterans homes, in the ammunition factory. These comrades bought up from the older military men, from the SS, from SS men from the Wehrmacht, from whoever had served in the army in the year '14. These men who were already older people, who remembered that war [1914-17] and what Jews had done for them, these people aided us very much, say with food, with bringing in food to the Ghetto, and with arms. This still wasn't all. For this we needed finances. The procurement of finances was . . . we procured the finances thus, that we went at night, dressed in black, in black rubber boots, black coats, masks on the faces, and with revolvers in the hand. We went from door to door to Jews, to rich Jews, about whom we knew approximately how much money they had, and we demanded from them money. The money we didn't always get. But when we threatened with death or with other things, then we got the money. And we offered . . . we left, every time when we took from anybody a sum of money, we left receipts, such receipts so that after the war that particular person should be able to claim from the . . . the fighters, or from other institutions which would be created after the war. And so not all Jews agreed to this. But against threats there was no way out, and they aided with something. For this money we also bought other . . . the things which we needed for the [fighter] units. But in the meantime the organization was created which also went under the name of Z.P.B. which was composed of thieves and people of the Warsaw underworld, also of Jews who went around to procure money in our name. This money went for them, into their pockets. And the money which we procured went for the things needed for our society, the Jews of our organization. And so it happened, a few days before Pesach, in the year '43 it happened that they prepared for a Judenrein in the Warsaw Ghetto.

David Boder

What is a Judenrein?

Benjamin Piskorz

Judenrein is a . . .

David Boder

Extermination process?

Benjamin Piskorz

An extermination process against the Jews. To remove the Jews from Warsaw. The Jews . . . the Jews were . . . so the panic in the Ghetto was very great. People in the Ghetto went around like poisoned mice, one can say. And they shouldn't . . . people prepared themselves. People made various hideouts. People brought food, edibles. People bought and hid it so that one should be able to have food for at least three years, a year, a year and a half. Because according to what was heard from the Germans, from Hitler's speeches, that at five minutes to twelve . . . should the war end at twelve, [then at] five minutes to twelve all the Jews will be exterminated in . . . in Poland, just like in all the occupied countries that the Germans had envaded. And so people made preparations, that approximately the battle will still take not exactly till twelve, like Hitler said, but it can last half a year, and even a year. So people prepared food for a certain time. The org- . . . the organization also prepared itself, and on the day when the . . . the Judenrein happened, well, on that nightâit was on . . . on the first, the fourth month in the year '43âthe people have . . . and so the organization prepared the step towards battle. The organization numbered about [a] hundred and seventy people, and in the last two days the number came up close to two hundred. All were provided in the way of weapons, ammunition, clothes. In the middle of the battle . . .

David Boder

What kind of clothes?

Benjamin Piskorz

Well, the SS clothing, because even inside the Ghetto, deep inside the Ghetto, there was a shop, a factory of German clothing. The factory was named Brauer. In the factory . . . the factory . . .

David Boder

Wasn't it dangerous to walk around in an SS uniform? Couldn't another Jew take one for a real SS man.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so it was. It was dangerous, but at night when nobody saw, we sneaked out. And that clothing . . . we hid them . . .

David Boder

I mean one Jew shouldn't take the other one for an SS, and he should not . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No, no. That wasn't so, because the people, when it was the . . . when the battle occurred, only Jews were disguised, and those who did know that this is an SS man walking around among Jews, so he is a Jew.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because an SS man didn't dare to walk around among Jews, because he knew what awaited him.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. And . . . and on that night, when it happened, the . . . when it was supposed to . . . when it happened, the Judenrein . . . it happened on Monday morning, the day which is on the first Seder night. It happened . . . at night our comrades have . . . the comrades of the organization have stood around and around the wall. Because there had been erected around and around the Ghetto a brick wall which had on top three tiers of barbed wire, and [words not clear] one shouldn't be able to climb over. Underneath that fence also stood weapons, machine guns and also sentries of Ukrainians, of Polish police and gendarmerie.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

At that night . . . and so when the Judenrein was about to take place, the guard had been doubled. It means it became tripled, not just doubled, but tripled. It was reinforced. And when the . . . our organiz- . . . the comrades from the organization noticed that the guard was reinforced, we prepared ourselves. And we knew that something is happening in the ghetto.

David Boder

Well.

Benjamin Piskorz

The Jews . . . and so the comrades immediately notified, from house to house, notified all Jews who were living [there] that they should hide themselves because tomorrow a Judenrein takes place.

David Boder

A Judenrein means clean-out of Jews.

Benjamin Piskorz

of Jews.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Jews hid themselves, but not all hid themselves. Only young people hid themselves. The older people could not be taken down to the cellar, because for that it was already too late. The people have . . . they went down to the cellars, and one had . . .

David Boder

Cellars?

Benjamin Piskorz

To the cellars, yes. And people have . . . people hid themselves. People went into hiding. And it was indeed true. Right on the next morning, at six o'clock at dawn, immediately arriv- . . . entered German troops, SS with tanks, arti- . . . artillery, cannons, machine guns. And the first attack that the Jews started . . . There was a Jewish . . . a [woman] comrade of our organization who immediately . . . She lived near the entrance gate to the Ghetto. Near the . . . near the wall was a gate through which one could enter the Ghetto and she . . . she had a box with grenades. She had the gendarmerie and the German troops. They were pelted. When the Germans noticed that they were being attacked by the Jews, they surrounded the house in which the [woman] comrade was. The comrade, as she had heroically begun [the attack], so she heroically died. Her . . . her heroism is in this, in the fact that the [woman] comrade once was wounded in the hand from a machine gun bullet, because the Germans made use of dum-dum bullets. These are bullets which tear up the body of the person.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . altogether. Whatever substance they hit they explode. And this girl was hit by such a bullet in the hand. She became, here in the arm, torn up so that she couldn't move her arm any more. When she saw that these are her last moments, she decided . . . she took a revolver and she shot herself.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Herself. She took her own life. And indeed later, the same thing . . . it happened that the comrades, who were supposed to go on a patrol to see where the . . . the Germans were, what they were doing, and when they were doing . . . one did . . . not everyone had the desire to go, because they knew they are going for certain death, but when the name of this [woman] comrade was mentioned he went. And . . . and the . . . the time passed. The Ghetto was bombarded with incendiary bombs, with the gas bombs, with tear gas, in order to get the people out of the hideouts. The Ghetto was completely burned. People saw that the battle will not last longer, we won't be able to carry out the fight any longer. And so it was decided . . . a proposal was put forth that one should escape from the Ghetto. But how should one escape? It was decided to blow up one wall of the Ghetto, and a few hundred people should pass through and only at the end should the organization . . . the comrades escape. And this plan was indeed executed. A wall was blown up. This is on Platz Muranow where there was the . . . the . . . main square of the small . . . of the Ghetto, that later on also was destroyed [?] in a certain part, was . . . was blown up. A few hundred people, women with children and older people, were thrown through, sent through that . . . through that wall, through that blown up one. A part of these people were killed by the Ukrainians who were standing near the fences, and so on, and were shot. Whoever had luck saved his life, he remained alive. And also, after a certain timeâthis was already in the fourth month of the battle . . . [correction] in the fourth week of the battleâthe comrades decided that one cannot go on fighting any more, that the rest of the comrades who are here should escape. I had in the hideout . . . I had a mother with a cousin. And this mother with the cousin I couldn't leave behind. So I proposed [that] all the comrades should escape and I will remain with the mother, because, all in all [?], the mother looked like a Jewish child [person belonging to the Jewish 'race'], a dark, Jewish woman. She had a Semitic face. And so it wasn't possible with the mother to escape to the Aryan side, because it would surely be detected. And one heard even about the people who did escape. They are caught. They look like Jews. They don't have any documents, so they are killed in the Gestapo. So death . . . death is either way. So I proposed that I will remain with the mother. How long I can make the food last? There in the cellar, so we shouldn't be discovered, so I will remain. After this the comrades escaped, about thirty, forty people, through the canals. Through the sewers they escaped to the Aryan side and there to Lublin, the center of the partisans. I remained with the mother. On the seventh of May . . . from the sixth to the seventh of May the people have . . . You see, people walked around at night and searched [for food and friends?] I, too, went out at night with my mother, with the people with whom I was hidden there. With distant relatives I was hidden. And the people have . . . the people asked around, 'Where is my mother? Where is my father? Where are my brothers and sisters?' So as to be able to find out. And later it did come out, right the next morning. It was about six, seven in the morning. It was already dawn. There came the gendarmerie, and also among them was a Jew who asked about a father who had been searching at night. That . . . and that same young man denounced us. That is, he showed them where we were hidden.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

The Jews . . . the Jews . . . these who were hidden together with me, all had to come out. And so I want to mention here that all my things had been burned. While in the battle I had been dressed [disguised] in SS clothes. During the battle . . .

David Boder

Why?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because various fights had been going on. And so the fights consisted of, for the most part, fights with ambushed patrols. The fight with patrols was thus. At night we went out and ambushed from a few paces the real German patrols. And when we killed them we took off their weapons and their uniforms, and the comrades would put them on. When all my things were burned I didn't have any other means than . . .

David Boder

Where had all your things been burned? At what time?

Benjamin Piskorz

At home. And so it was burned. And it happened that I remained completely naked [without my regular clothes], and I was in German clothes and didn't have a change. And at dawn when I was exposed by that Jewâwe were pointed out where we were hiddenâbut I was dressed still in German clothes.

David Boder

What did you say before on the other spool that was spoiled, that it was very hot downstairs?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, yes.

David Boder

How . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, it is so. At nightâI have forgotten to mention itâat night when we went out to catch a little fresh air . . . it was because we were lying in the cellars.

David Boder

In the cellars.

Benjamin Piskorz

We lay in the cellars where we were covered by an entire house. By a five story house we were covered. And the heat . . . the . . . the bricks became heated from the fire what was burning, so that the . . . the ceiling of the cellar had become very hat. And the . . . the heat of the cellar went up to forty, fifty, to sixty degrees [Centigrade?], because the 'breath' that we exhaled also thickened the air, and we couldn't breathe. So that at night we had to get out a little to catch fresh air. And indeed, on the night when we went out we met a young man who asked about a [his] father, about an entire family.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And he mentioned the name. We said that we didn't know him, and that same 'comrade' noticed where we were hiding, and next morning he come in again with gendarmerie and betrayed us. When I came out of the cellar the gendarmerie immediately had me.

David Boder

Have you know him? Did you know who he was?

Benjamin Piskorz

I didn't know him, because he was not a Jew from Warsaw. And even from Warsaw one can't know all the Jews.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And this really was . . . from his pronunciation one recognized that he was a Galitian.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because the Galitian Jews have such . . . such a . . . a [peculiar] pronunciation in . . . in Jewish.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And the Jews that . . . that Jew persuaded us. We should come out. We are going to work [he told us]. He was caught at night. He found an excuse that he was caught this night and he had to show where the Jews were hidden. If not, he was going to be shot. But as we knew from before, all these people who talked that way were the real Gestapo work . . . employees. That Jew promised us that we were going to go to work and nothing would be done to us. When I came out of the cellar I hid the gun that I had and the ammunition in a . . . in a barrel, in a real barrel with water, thrown in. When I came out, I was immediately taken to the side and my hands were manacled. After that . . .

David Boder

You were in the SS uniform.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, because I was in the SS uniform.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Then the Ukrainians built a huge fire of charcoal. They gathered charcoal. They built a huge fire and began asking questions. Where is my family? I didn't want to disclose that I have family here, [claiming] that the mother is a stranger to me. But my mother spoke up. She thought that I would be . . . that I would be . . . that with this she would save me, if she says that I still have a mother they won't do anything to me. And so the mother was tied with another few people, among [them] also that cousin, and they were burned alive. I was standing before the fire, approximately twelve to fifteen meters away. Afterwards I was . . . while I was standing my nerves, my whole consciousness became as if entirely lost. What does lost mean? I didn't know what to do. Around and around have . . . near me stood SS men and guarded me with their weapons. If I take one step forward I will be immediately shot. Should I throw myself on the fire? I am also a dead one, so I have . . . the . . . the . . . I was so . . . I grew into the ground, I can say. I couldn't [take] one step forwards or one step backwards. I remained standing. Afterwards . . . so when . . . when I saw that the mother was fainting already in the fire, she does not know already what she is doing, and the last cry from my mother, 'My child, stay alive. I will watch over you. I will keep you in my hand,' after that, when the mother already began to burn, I was . . . I was thrown by the SS men on a truck and was driven away to headquarters. At the headquarters I was tortured so that I should . . . should tell how many comrades . . . where the comrades were, the comrades from the uprising, the rebells. Where are the comrades? Where are the arms that we had bought? Where are the ammunition magazines? Where are the foodstuffs, and where are the partisans hidden? In what region? I didn't want to disclose. The tortures . . . the first tortures were . . . where these . . . that a few times a day I was hung on a hook in a wall. My hands were tied in the back and I was hung up on the hands. And so I hung fifteen to twenty minutes. Afterwards I was taken out . . . taken down unconscious from the hook. I was doused with water and hung up again. At night when they were . . . I was kept there for six days. When the . . . the Germans saw they couldn't do a thing with me, they decided that maybe I will tell if they will torture me differently. The tortures were: They took me into a room, into a tiny room with a tiny window. When I came in, it made a very bad [frightening] impression on me.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

It made a very bad [frightening] impression on me. Finding . . . I found on the table hammers, pliers, pieces of flesh with hair torn off from the head, nails torn off fingers, a whole, such a whole pile on the table, and a lot of blood on the floor. It made a very bad impression on me. On the table also lay very large steel nails. With such a nail the SS man told me, while drunk, to stick out the tongue, and my tongue was pierced.

David Boder

Your . . .

David Boder

[In English] He shows . . . his whole tongue is in scars because a . . . as he says, a drunk SS man has been driving nails with a hammer through his tongue.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] Show it again.

Benjamin Piskorz

Ah.

David Boder

[In English] His whole tongue is lacer- . . . is all cut up.

Benjamin Piskorz

[In Yiddish] And also the nose was torn up with the hand which later on, in the lager, was sewn together by a doctor whom I knew.

David Boder

Aha. Did they drive a nail through . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No. That had been hung up with the hand [word not clear].

David Boder

Yes. [In English] He also shows a broken nose which afterwards has been patched up by a doctor, but he still shows the scar. Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

[In Yiddish] After the . . . after the beatings that I had received, I was released. They saw that I indeed don't tell a thing after such things. They decided to send me away to the distribution depot. This was the place where there were lying already thousands of people, about six thousand people. About six thousand people were lying there without food, without water, in such terrible conditions. It was very dirty, because all the transports which had been sent out from Warsaw went through there, went through the distribution depot. And the whole manure that the people had left there had been accumulating for four, five months.

David Boder

Of all the transports?

David Boder

Tell me, what was this distribution depot? Was it a . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No. The distribution depot [Umschlagsplatz] . . .

David Boder

. . . a building?

Benjamin Piskorz

No. This is a distribution depot, a place from which a railroad would leave, a transport railroad.

David Boder

It was an open place?

Benjamin Piskorz

An open place.

David Boder

Under the open sky?

Benjamin Piskorz

On [that place stood] a building . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . in which at one time was lodged . . . was located . . . has been a military armory.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

In this armory the people were kept. They didn't give any water, didn't give any food. Six, seven days the people were kept in there till the train arrived for the people. I was lying there. I met [there] also many friends. And with a swollen tongue and a beaten nose which already was a little . . . as if not . . . already not bleeding, because it had been tied up with a kerchief . . . with a handkerchief, I had . . . I remained there two days. On the second day a freight train arrived with a few . . . three . . . with a . . . with a few wagÃns [RR-cars], and they packed us in, hundred and thirty, hundred and forty people in one freight car. The wagÃn was . . .

David Boder

How did you know how many there were?

Benjamin Piskorz

Well, it was counted.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Every . . . at each wagon stood three SS men, and people were carried into . . . and the people were thrown into the cars [?]. And also between the living, they threw in dead [people] so as not to leave dead people in the distribution depot, and that afterwards the SS . . . the SS men should not have to deal with the dead people.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

So they threw in also the dead people. In . . . in the wagÃn I was still feeling very bad. And also during the ride I was terribly thirsty. So there was there an acquaintance, a comrade of mine whom I begged, from the terrible thirst, [that] he should for me even . . . nu . . . I don't know how to say it, because . . . urine.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

He made urine into my mouth.

David Boder

How? Directly?

Benjamin Piskorz

In the wagon, directly.

David Boder

What does it mean, he made directly into . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

He made into my . . . directly.

David Boder

He urinated . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Urinated.

David Boder

From his . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

From his . . . yes.

David Boder

From his body?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

Into your mouth?

Benjamin Piskorz

Straight into the mouth, because of the terrible thirst. This wasn't the first case, because all the people drank this way.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And also . . . the . . . the . . . the relief was for me very great, because the urine absorbed the heat of the tongue . . . the heat of the tongue, and the tongue became . . . the swelling of the tongue went down. I arrived . . . sent out . . . I was sent out to Treblinka. I have already mentioned before that this was one of the large extermination camps. In Treblinka a selection was made. They looked for people who could speak German. Having learned German at home, because I went to a trade school . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . in a school of business [there were such schools at the high school level], I had learned the German language.

David Boder

[In Russian] A commercial school . . .

David Boder

[In German] a commercial school . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

[In Yiddish] Ja.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so I decided . . . I reported as one who could speak German.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so from six thousand people who were there, approximately, one may say, six or seven [thousand] . . . But there was a great mass, a crowd of people.

Benjamin Piskorz

The people were selected [sorted out], and from all these people three hundred and twenty people were picked out, I was among them.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

The people have . . . and so the people . . . all these [other] people went, surely, to be burned. But the three hundred and twenty people, among whom . . .

David Boder

Three hundred?

Benjamin Piskorz

Three hundred and twenty people, among whom I was, were sent to Majdanek.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

In Majdanek [it] was very bad. People were beaten, tormented. There was one of the authorities, the lager leader Tuman [the name appears Russian or Ukrainian] who could demonstrate that he could ride on a horse within a crowd of people and trample the people with the horse [Footnote: From experience with the Russian Kazaks it appears that in riding at a slow pace horses step aside from people whether they are standing or lying on the ground. It took special and diligent training to make them trample or push people in a crowd. âD.P.B.]. And also in the morning while going to work, if he would meet a group of workers, he would order them to line up in two rows, and let go with the auto at great speed, and with the auto run over the people so that he all . . . the whole . . . the whole group of people . . . the two rows of people were run over to death. This was his pleasure. Without this it seems he was unable to sit down to eat.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

After this, when it also appears . . .

David Boder

Did you see that yourself?

Benjamin Piskorz

Saw it myself.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because in Majdanek I had a job in street care.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

Street cleaning. My work was after the horses which worked in the lager, to clean up the manure after them, clean up the . . . the streets of the straw which was strewn around, or such other things. This was my work. So that all the events . . .

David Boder

The streets of the lager.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. And all these events that I saw . . . I had the possibility to see all these events, because I was on the street. I saw everything.

David Boder

Nu.

Benjamin Piskorz

After that, after having been two and a half months in Majdanek, I was sent up . . . sent away to Auschwitz. In Auschwitz I was immediately sent away as a locksmith. I was sent away to the Buna works. That is about three kilometers from Auschwitz. In the Buna works I worked as locksmith, and there also I met a certain Bronislaw Staszak, an orchestra conductor of our lager.

David Boder

Staszak?

Benjamin Piskorz

Staszak, Bronislaw, a Warsovian. He was also from Warsaw, a Pole who had already been six or seven years . . . eight years he was in Eretz Yisroeil [Land of Israel], in Palestine. And he could speak a perfect Yiddish, so that he only associated with Jews. And thanks to him I went up to . . .

David Boder

Was he a Jew?

Benjamin Piskorz

No, a Pole.

David Boder

A Pole who could speak Yiddish?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yiddish and Hebrew. He was in Eretz Yisroeil eight years.

David Boder

How does a Pole come to Eretz Yisroeil?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because he had been an orchestra conductor of music.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And he had traveled on a ship. He was an orchestra conductor on a ship.

David Boder

Oh.

Benjamin Piskorz

And afterwards he remained in Eretz Yisroeil as an orchestra conductor, and there he was eight years. And later on he returned to Poland.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so in Auschwitz I was two . . . around two years, and from Auschwitz on the eighteenth of June . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Towards the end I didn't have it so bad in camp, because I had enough to eat, because that orchestra conductor supplied me well. He always received a bigger program [menu] to eat than an ordinary worker.

David Boder

And what did he do there?

Benjamin Piskorz

He was an orchestra conductor. In our lager there was music [a band] composed of a few hundred . . .

David Boder

Was he also a prisoner?

Benjamin Piskorz

A prisoner.

David Boder

For what reason?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because . . . a political prisoner.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

He was one of the first people who came to Auschwitz. He had a number five thousand, three hundred and something. I don't remember exactly.

David Boder

[Apparently a question about the tattoo]

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. And [unclear whisper].

David Boder

Yes. What is your number?

Benjamin Piskorz

My number is hundred twenty-eight [thousand], hundred eighty-one from Auschwitz.

David Boder

Hundred . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . twenty-eight . . .

David Boder

. . . twenty-eight . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . hundred eighty-one from Auschwitz.

David Boder

. . . Auschwitz.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu.

Benjamin Piskorz

And in Majdanek, yes.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

In Majdanek I had fourteen thousand, five hundred and fifty-five.

David Boder

Were you tattooed in the other [a second time?] . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

In Majdanek I was not tattoed, but I carried a metal number around the neck.

David Boder

Nu.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so when I was . . . on the 18th of June, yes, June . . . [correction] the first month [obviously January], we were evacuated from Auschwitz, because the Russians had . . . had taken Warsaw, and they were expected to come any day to that region. So we were evacuated. The journey took fourteen days. We marched on foot in the severest frosts, because that region is a mountainous region. We marched in the snow without food, without a little warm coffee or water. And people ate snow from thirst, and people ate grass that was lying on the . . . on the road. People did various things. Also the horse . . . the . . . the horse manure people dried in the pocket, and people smoked [it] in a paper.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because we needed cigarettes, and one didn't have any cigarettes.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so . . . another thing about these cigarettes. They took away my appetite 'of hunger.' And on the fourteenth day we arrived in Gleiwitz. From Gleiwitz we were sent away by train.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

The journey was as follows.

David Boder

How many people were you?

Benjamin Piskorz

Fourteen thousand people.

David Boder

Nu.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because the lager consisted of fourteen thousand people, also a lot . . .

David Boder

And how many days did you march?

Benjamin Piskorz

Fourteen.

David Boder

Fourteen days . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

. . . you marched on foot?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

How can one endure it?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so one endured it in that way, that people . . . it is . . . I really don't know. The people who did endure it are to be marvelled at, because one marched in hunger, in the frosts. And I don't know whether just the . . . the will to live . . . whether also the . . . the . . . the . . . the . . . the will to take revenge, to remain alive and be united with . . . with families and with relatives, and marching together with friends with whom one had left one's home town is . . . kept there a man alive. Also very many died out on the way, but the majority did endure it. On the train we were driven also, approximately about five days. We were driven thus: Dachau, Buchenwald, and from Buchenwald we were driven away to Dora. Dora is a transit lager, and also near the lager was built a factory of 'V. 1' and 'V. 2' [flying missiles].

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

At this work the people were left who had been, well, registerd as locksmiths, registered as carpenters. Skilled peole were left, and the rest of the people were sent away to coal mines and other such lagers.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

I had also been assigned to a Lager Nordhausen. The work in this lager was that every day at dawn we drove away by train, an hour and a half, to Dora.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because it was about five, sixâwho knows?âfive kilometers approximately. We were sent away to work by train. And one time, when we were returning at night, there was an air raid alarm so that we had to stand in the train a whole night in the middle of the way. And in the morning again the train turned around and again to work, so that one didn't sleep, didn't eat, and again worked. The suffering in this lager was terrible. And so in this short time a bombardment of the lager happened.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

During the bombing I decided that I must escape. And so I had prepared myself beforehand. As the first clothing, I had procured old, torn, civilian clothing, because towards the end in Germany one didn't wear the striped uniforms, but one wore civilian clothing, and in the back was cut out a little window in which had been sewn a striped patch.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

With red stripes. This was the badge of a prisoner, and there was inscribed 'K.L.' That means Konzentrations-Lager [concentration camp].

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

The . . . and so on the day of the bombing raid I escaped in these clothes. In these clothes I escaped. Later on, after having escaped, at night when I had to find a place to sleep, I went into a wagon [RR-car]. I had not noticed what kind of wagon this was, and when this wagon was. And so when I got up in the morning I saw that I was lying in a Red Cross wagon, a Red Cross wagon. And in it were lying old, bloody clothes, SS clothes.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And also bandages.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And I put on these clothes and with the bandages, because I was without hair. My hair was cut off. I took the bandages and tied [them] around my head so that my head was wider than my shoulders. Because only my eyes could be seen, the nose, the mouth, and the left ear. The rest was covered with the bandages. Like this I traveled around three months.

David Boder

Where?

Benjamin Piskorz

In Germany.

David Boder

Rode on the trains?

Benjamin Piskorz

Rode on the trains as a soldier.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I still have documents with me as born an Austrian.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And the . . . like this I traveled around through all Germany.

David Boder

Weren't you interrogated? Did they not . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No, nothing. As a military, one could travel without tickets and without such things.

David Boder

And to where did you travel?

Benjamin Piskorz

I wanted to go to Czechia, because I had heard that there the Russians had already occupied.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so I made for Czechia, for Prague. I rode around about three months, so that I had traveled from about Nordhausen . . . this is a few . . . three . . . forty-odd kilometers from Berlin. From around Berlin I traveled through Leipzig, Halle, all the major cities.

David Boder

What did you eat?

Benjamin Piskorz

EatingâI ate whatever I found, skins of sausages, rotten potatoes that could be found on the field, various things like these. Sometimes I begged for such things.

David Boder

How can one go around begging in an SS uniform?

Benjamin Piskorz

Well, one could beg. When I was going through a city, there were standing carts from which things were sold on [ration] cards.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Things were sold on ration coupons. And so there were sold vegetables such as carrots, potatoes.

David Boder

But a man in uniform, how can a uniformed man go around begging?

Benjamin Piskorz

Doesn't matter. It was . . . this wasn't the only case, because all the people who were in field hospitals and the war-wounded went around in the city, and they all begged for something to eat. Because life in Germany was entirely on [ration] cards. And a military man who was all . . . all the time on the road didn't always have cards on him, so that he could go over and ask for something to eat. Even . . . even go into a house [and] ask for a little coffee or tea, or such things, or even partake of a dinner together with the Germans.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

So that there was a possibility for one to hold out a bit. Later on, when I went down to Leipzig in the city, I met Poles, Polish soldiers who had been serving with the English, and they got into a . . . in . . . inâHow does one say it?âinto a lager. They had been arrested . . . arrested . . .

David Boder

They had been taken prisoners of war.

Benjamin Piskorz

Prisoners of war. Of course, prisoners of war. And afterwards these prisoners of war . . . to these prisoners of war I admitted who I was, so I . . .

David Boder

Polish soldiers who had been with the English.

Benjamin Piskorz

With the English.

David Boder

And were taken prisoners of war.

Benjamin Piskorz

As prisoners of war.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And to these Poles I admitted, still not that I am a Jew, but that I am a Pole, and that I have escaped from a lager and am asking for something to eat. From them I received tobacco.

David Boder

Did you tell them that you are a Jew?

Benjamin Piskorz

No, I said that I was a Pole and had escaped from a lager. They also helped me a lot. They gave me to eat. They gave me clothes. They gave me underwear, overwear, socks, handkerchiefs, tobacco. And later on I remained there for two weeks. I was able to earn. they gave me a place [job] where I could earn. The earning was as follows.

David Boder

Where was that? In a lager?

Benjamin Piskorz

They were in a prisoner of war camp.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

But when they went out to work they were very lightly guarded, so that one could communicate with them.

David Boder

Nu, one was able to earn?

Benjamin Piskorz

One could earn. One earned this way, that they gave me English tobacco, because not all of them smoked. I went over to the railroad station, and with the German youth who were there I sold [traded]. They had very little bread, but they had a lot of tobacco [the Polish prisoners].

David Boder

What kind of uniform did you wear?

Benjamin Piskorz

Still the military uniform.

David Boder

An SS uniform?

Benjamin Piskorz

An SS uniform.

David Boder

How can an SS man be in a . . . with prisoners?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so this is . . . what does with prisoners mean? As a man, as a war-wounded, I could walk around to all points, wherever I only could or wanted in the city, because I was as one already discharged. And these people . . . these . . . all these . . . the prisoners of war, when they went out to work, who did agricultural work, they were under a very light guard. When one wanted, one could talk to them. One could talk [it] over with them.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so when I had talked it over with them I told them who I was, and I was helped. I was given to eat. Later on the earning was as follows: I produced bread for tobacco, for the English cigarettes. I bartered. And this way there remained for me, too, a bit of tobacco. They gave me a few cigarettes. And there remained for me a little bread. This way I . . .

David Boder

Where did you find English cigarettes?

Benjamin Piskorz

From the English . . . from the prisoners of war who were there, because not all of them smoked. So that I was able to exchange.

David Boder

[In English] This concludes . . . this concludes Spool 102. Benjamin Piskorz reporting, and we are going over to Spool 103. This is Tradate.

David Boder

This is Spool 102, eh . . . 103. Ben Piskorz continues his report from Spool 102. September the 1st, 1946, in . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Tradate.

David Boder

. . . Tradate, between Milan and Como.

David Boder

[In Yiddish] And so what happened further? I . . . I . . . I don't understand it clearly. You attached yourself to a group of Polish prisoners of war who had come from England . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

. . . [who were] in a German prisoner of war lager. And you yourself wore a German uniform, although you had your head bandaged?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

How can one walk out in a German uniform and do black market business and the kind?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so towards the end things in Germany had gone so far that the control of the city was very weak. The houses had been bombed out. People lived wherever . . .

David Boder

In what city was that?

Benjamin Piskorz

Leipzig.

David Boder

Oh!

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu, Leipzig is a big city.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. And the people lived as if under the plain sky in a field. And all night and day there were these bombing raids and alarms so that the people had to be always in the . . . in the field [in the open]. When the prisoners of war worked in the field they could communicate, because there was a mass of people. On could converse with them.

David Boder

Yes What was the work in the field?

Benjamin Piskorz

In the field? Various agricultural labors.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

They dug . . .

David Boder

Which month was it in?

Benjamin Piskorz

About . . . it can be . . . the third month.

David Boder

March.

Benjamin Piskorz

March.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu, go on.

Benjamin Piskorz

And the Germans . . . the English . . . the Poles, these in the English uniforms, had helped me very much. They gave me to eat. And, as I have already mentioned, I could exchange cigarettes for bread, so that I had enough bread, and I had enough cigarettes.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Later on I made up my mind that the English should give me some sort of route, because I didn't know Germany too well. But the Englishmen had maps with them.

David Boder

Englishmen or Poles?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Poles, these . . . these . . .

David Boder

Yes, the military prisoners.

Benjamin Piskorz

These military had with them maps of Germany. So I asked for such a map. They provided me with one. And according to this map I traveled to Czechia. I traveled through very many . . .

David Boder

By train?

Benjamin Piskorz

On the train, yes. I arrived . . .

David Boder

Weren't you asked for tickets?

Benjamin Piskorz

No, nothing. In Germany there were no tickets.

David Boder

No?

Benjamin Piskorz

Then . . . No control. All the controllers had been drafted into the army towards the end, because it was already shortly before the end of the war, before the capitulation, so that it [order] was already very weak.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

When I arrived in the border town Aussigâthis is Sudetengau [?]

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . I was stopped. 'Where are you coming from and where are you going?'

David Boder

The Germans?

Benjamin Piskorz

This was the border town. The Germans, 'Where are you going?' So I said, 'I am coming from Lazarett [a military hospital]. I was in . . . in a Lazarett in Nordhausen. I have been injured in the head. I am not fit any more militarily. By trade I am a farmer, a farm owner, so that I would like to journey to Czechoslovakia to recuperate a little, and if it be necessary to serve again for the Vaterland. I have to . . . I can serve with work in the field.' And so the gendarmerie of the border sent me over to Leitmeritz. There was an occupational bureau for Reich-Germans. And so this is what [I] was thinking, 'When I come to the occupational bureau willy nill, I will have to show what I have on the head, and so I avoided this. How? I went to the pharmacy . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . and asked [them] to give me a Nelkopflast [this seems a makeshift or mispronounced word designating some kind of a medicated plaster], because all the soldiers . . .

David Boder

What is that?

Benjamin Piskorz

Nelkpoflast. This is such a plaster that is put on wounds . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . when a wound is dressed. Such a Nelkopflast is put on the wound.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so I asked for such a Nelkopflast, and I went into the pharmacy. Every soldier received such a thing without prescription [or purchase permit], because for prescriptions [and] medicines one needed a proper prescription, and soldiers got it free [?] of charge.

David Boder

Did you have money?

Benjamin Piskorz

Got it [free of charge].

David Boder

What?

Benjamin Piskorz

Soldiers got it. That means . . .

David Boder

Free of charge.

Benjamin Piskorz

Free of charge.

David Boder

Nu.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so when I went into a courtyard [doorway], I cut off all the bandages and stuck the Nelkopflast on the head.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

When I arrived in the employment bureau, there was sitting a Czech Voksdeutch [folk-German] . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . who knew a little Czech, and he had a conversation with me in the German language. He didn't want to show that he knows Czech.

David Boder

Can you speak Czech?

Benjamin Piskorz

Czech? Polish I know, but I understand Czech.

David Boder

Hm, nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And he talked over [things] with me, where I wanted to work and what I wanted to do. He took out a kind of catalog in which was written where people were needed for work, and sent me to such a . . . he registered me in the employment bureau. I got immediately a ration card in the hand.

David Boder

He didn't ask about your documents?

Benjamin Piskorz

He . . . because when I was still on the gendarmerie [military police officer] in that border town, I was asked whether I have documents.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

So I told them on the last night, when the attack troups of the English . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . the English army entered the town, I was just able, one, two [in haste], to dress and escape from the Lazarett so that all the documents had remained in the office of the . . .

David Boder

Lazarett.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . of the Lazarett.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And this was just my only way out. I was sent for work from that Leitz- . . . Leitmeritz, from that employment bureau, to Neuland, two kilometers from Auscha [Aussig]. It is a village . . .

David Boder

Near where?

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . near Auscha.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Auscha is a town, and near it is Neuland, a village. In that village was a large estate with seventeen people. And so I was sent out there as an overseer over the seventeen people. These seventeen . . .

David Boder

Who were these seven people?

Benjamin Piskorz

These seventeen people were Ukrainians and Poles.

David Boder

Prisoners?

Benjamin Piskorz

Not prisoners, but civilian workers who had reported in Poland . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . as volunteers for labor in Germany.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And these people had been sent there. Later on I became the overseer over the work. That means not so much to oversee, but that I should be able to convalesce during the time that I was there.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

And also to oversee the work, that the work should be properly done, everything to be all right.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

After that, when I was . . . I worked there for a month. I harassed the Poles terribly because of . . . just out of hate still from Warsaw, which I had for them. Because they are big anti-Semites, and [so are] the Ukrainians. So they suffered a lot at work. I . . . I didn't allow them to have a free hour there or such. The dinner [hour] I shortened to half an hour. And the German woman . . . the . . . the . . . the peasant woman . . . the peasant woman was on my side, because I was a military man. And there also I made the acquaintance of a German girl. I went around with her, had fun, carried on with her a kind of love affair.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Afterwards, on the 3rd of May, it was said that Hitler had died. People hung out black flags. People cried. They said that when the Jews will return now they will all be killed, will be sent away. The Russians will send them away to Siberia. And so they were terribly afraid. I wasn't paying any attention.

David Boder

Who was afraid, the Jews?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Germans. There were no Jews there, only . . .

David Boder

In Leitmeritz people said that they will be sent to Siberia?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so the . . . the . . . the Germans said among themselves that when the Russians will enter they will be sent to Siberia.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

There they will be killed out, shot. And so on the 8th of May . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . the Russians entered Aussig. There to . . . into the town in which I was . . . the Pol- . . . the Poles, for [with?] whom I worked . . .

David Boder

What did you wear, an SS uniform?

Benjamin Piskorz

Still a uniform . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . when they had entered, because to take it off, to change, I was afraid so that the Poles shouldn't give me away.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so what did I do? I waited. When the Russians will enter I will report who I am.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

Later on, on the 8th of May, the Russians . . . the Russian troops entered. The Russian troops entered. So these people, the seventeen people, a few people, went down into the town from the village, and they brought Russian soldiers to me. And among them was a lieutenant.

David Boder

Who?

Benjamin Piskorz

Russian soldiers they brought.

David Boder

Soldiers.

Benjamin Piskorz

Soldiers.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And among them was a lieutenant, he who was leading the detail. He was a Jew from Baranowicz, from Poland, who in 1939 had escaped to Russia . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . and had volunteered for the [Red] army.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And he arrived. And to him was given the honor to shoot the SS man. He came in, told me to go out in the yard . . . in the yard, and wanted to shoot me in the yard. And so when he came in, he began talking to me in Yiddish so I should understand [it as] German.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

So I said, 'Listen, brother, I am your brother. I am a Jew the same as you.' He was very surprised, and . . . and he . . . I showed him the number on the hand. I showed him the tongue. I began to . . . He had with him such a little 'Sidder' [a Jewish prayer book] in town. He specially sent down a Russian soldier to fetch such a 'Sidder' . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . to pray, and I prayed from this 'Sidder.'

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I spoke to him Hebrew words, and I spoke to him in Yiddish, Polish, and a little Ukrainian that I had learned in camp, and German, and I also showed him on the body [his circumcision?] that . . . that I am a Jew.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so he couldn't believe it. He compared me [the circumcision] with a Russian, with a gentile . . . with me, and so in the end he saw that I am a Jew.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And afterwards we spent . . . I was there two weeks. I lived well. I became an interpreter, from German into Russian.

David Boder

After he believed you already, didn't he ask what is [the meaning of] the SS uniform?

Benjamin Piskorz

I have . . . I told him everything. I told him all the experiences which I had lived through [an interrupted word].

David Boder

And the Poles who worked under you . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

. . . had fetched the Russian soldiers.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, yes, the Russian gendarme.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so after liberation I put on civilian clothes, and also I became an interpreter from the German language into the Russian language.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because I knew well, I understood and spoke German well, and so there I took a bit of revenge on the Germans, and later on I left.

David Boder

What does it mean took revenge [he had used a Hebrew word]?

Benjamin Piskorz

What does 'took revenge' mean? I did the same thing as they did with us.

David Boder

For instance?

Benjamin Piskorz

For instance, I struck down a few people. I, too, tortured.

David Boder

Killed dead?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, killed dead. I, too, tortured a few people. And I also did the same things with the German children as the SS men did in Majdanek with the Po- . . . with the Jewish children.

David Boder

For instance?

Benjamin Piskorz

For instance, they took small . . . small children by the little legs and beat the head against the wall so long until the head cracked and [the child] was killed.

David Boder

Did you do the same thing?

Benjamin Piskorz

I did the same to the German children, because the hate in me was so great, but only . . . maybe I would have in time forgotten all of this, if not [for the fact] that the Germans themselves had reminded me that when the Russians will enter they will be killed and they will be sent to Siberia and the same things will be done to them as [they did] to the Jews. And the Germans still worried at the same time why Hitler didn't exterminate all the Jews so there shouldn't be anybody left to take revenge on them.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I took revenge. And later, in two weeks, I received two pairs of horses.

David Boder

Two what?

Benjamin Piskorz

Two horses . . .

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . and a shining little carriage.

David Boder

What does it mean, you received two horses?

Benjamin Piskorz

So, form that Jew I received two horses.

David Boder

From which Jew? From the officer?

Benjamin Piskorz

From that officer I received two horses and a little carriage and left for home.

David Boder

From where did he get the two horses?

Benjamin Piskorz

So, they were being requisitioned there, the German horses.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I received two pair of horses . . . two horses, and in this manner I left for Poland. Thus, the road which I had taken was the wrong way. Why? Because instead of going to Germany and across into Poland through the German border, I went through the Czech border.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And when I arrived on the Czech border, in Morawska Ostrava, in Czechoslovakia, the Czech partisans took away the horses and with a car they took me to Cracow.

David Boder

Cracow. Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. In Cracow I went to a Committee [a philanthropic organization] . . . to a Polish Committee, and there I received help and aid, but first of all I wanted to return to Auschwitz.

David Boder

What did you do there?

Benjamin Piskorz

In Auschwitz? I was there as a lager . . . an ex-lager inmate, and I kept an eye on the people who where there, on the SS men.

David Boder

Were there any who had known you?

Benjamin Piskorz

There were very many. I knew very many, because . . . because all, all of them during the time when I was in the orchestra in the music . . .

David Boder

You were in the orchestra?

Benjamin Piskorz

In the orchestra. Not as a musician . . .

David Boder

Oh.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . but cleaned up there.

David Boder

Where?

Benjamin Piskorz

There in the music block. Such things . . . so that they always dropped in to listen to the music playing.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

So that I knew them all well, and they knew me.

David Boder

Well, did you talk with them?

Benjamin Piskorz

I talked, and I also harassed them a little. Because the Russians already in the lager didn't permit that they be killed or beaten, but at work one was able to harass them. The work was as follows: The Buna factory that the Germans had once constructed the Russians dismantled.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

Thus, the rails . . . the . . . the railroad tracks had to be carried away. And this which once three people, four people of the prisoners had to carry, now two had to carry.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

So that the work was very hard. Returning after a day's work, there were very few of them who could make it home, the two or three kilometers home.

David Boder

What did they say? Did they try to talk to you?

Benjamin Piskorz

What could they say to me? They knew that I hated them, because once they had harassed me, too. So that to me they didn't talk at all. They were without speech.

David Boder

Didn't they try to explain to you that . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No, nothing.

David Boder

. . . they had to obey orders?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because they knew that they did it on their own. Nobody told them to do it.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And after three weeks I returned home, to Warsaw. In Warsaw I was . . . arriving in Warsaw I met very many friends from the lager who, on the road when we walked for fourteen days, had escaped in the middle of the journey. These I met.

David Boder

You said many. How many?

Benjamin Piskorz

How many? I met there perhaps twenty-odd people.

David Boder

Nu? And?

Benjamin Piskorz

And also among them there were about ten people . . . maybe ten people worked in the [community] council, in the Warsaw Council. They knew me very well. They did help me. They gave me money. They gave me a room in which to stay. They gave me enough to eat, and some clothes, too. So that after the . . . I was there for some time, a week, in Warsaw. I looked around. I saw the place where the mother was burned. I reminded myself of the old times so that it was driving me out of Poland. So I decided to take to the road, to leave. All of a sudden there had arrived in Warsaw, in the Council, eight Rumanian girls . . .

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . who were from Rumania, born there. And they had escaped from a work lager in which the Russians had kept them in order to work for them there, to clean up, do the washing. For such things Jewish girls were caught, for work.

David Boder

The Russians?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Russians.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. And the girls had left all their belongings and run away from that lager. They arrived in Warsaw and begged to be sent back to Rumania. They were sent . . . they could not be sent back. It had to take a certain amount of time, because the borders had not yet been defined. People could not be sent back. There was no one to give the funds necessary for the journey, to send away the transports. And so I talked to the chairman of the Warsaw Council, that he should give me a certain amount of money, and I should take these people away. He says, 'You must surely be mad. You are only a week's time in Warsaw. Maybe somebody will come. Maybe your father is alive. Perhaps some member . . . perhaps you will meet some member of the family.' I said, 'I have no family. If the father lives . . . it drives me . . . something drives me out of Warsaw. I cannot stay here in the place where the mother was burned, and the cousin and other people. I looked on. I want to run away from here, go away to Rumania, and from there I will perhaps know what to do.' And so I took the girls and left. I went back to Cracow, because in Cracow I had heard [there] is a railroad for Rumania. And so, from Cracow I was sent to Lemberg. Before . . . before coming to Lemberg I had . . .

David Boder

With the eight girls.

Benjamin Piskorz

With the eight girls. And I have here still the documents that I escorted them then, that I had received from the Warsaw Council.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And later on I left for Lemberg. I could not get into Lemberg, because the Russians had occupied the territory as a Russian territory and didn't allow anyone to enter. And so I had to turn back. I simply went back to Przemysl, and there slept over for two days in an orphanage . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . for small children who had been in hiding, Jewish children who had hidden themselves out with the Ukrainian peasant as shepherd . . . shepherds. They cleaned . . . worked at horses . . . at . . . as peasants . . . peasant work. Later on, during the two days, the children pleaded, four little boys, that I should take them with me. So that [now] we were thirteen people. Thirteen people we were. After the . . . after [a] certain time that I spent there, the two days, I returned to Cracow. I talked with one who worked on the railroad. I inquired how I could get to Rumania. So he told me, 'You have to go through Czechia, Hungary, so you will reach Rumania.' Certain funds I had that had been given to me by the Council. I purchased food. I purchased some underwear for the girls who were there. The boys had alrady received [it] form the orphanage. That had come there from America, from the Joint. There had arrived clothing for the children, to that orphanage. And so the children were given these things. They were supplied, but I purchased some underwear for the girls for the journey, and we left for home. I arrived in Rumania. I had it very good there, because the Rumanian girls found relatives. I had it very good. I lived there for a certain time.

David Boder

Did they find their families, the girls?

Benjamin Piskorz

They found their families because . . . mostly they found the brothers and the fathers, because in Hungary [?] the men, the Jewish men, were taken for labor service, so that they all survived in the work lagers.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

These were not extermination camps, concentration camps, but work lagers. They worked at construction of raid shelters. They worked . . .

David Boder

But you were talking about Rumanians.

Benjamin Piskorz

Rumania during the war was occupied by Hungary.

David Boder

Nu, nu, go on. And?

Benjamin Piskorz

And I was there two months. After the two months I left Rumania. I became bored. I went via Bucharest to Constanz. There I wanted to enlist voluntarily in the Russian navy, the fleet. And they wanted to take me, but on one condition, that first I shall serve for six years in the army.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

So I said [to myself], rather than serve with you for six years and later again go on, I will rather walk on my own two feet than on your ships. And so I went into the world. I went to Hungary, to Budapest. From Budapest I came to Austria. In Austria I was . . . in Austria I was eight months. In Austria I worked in a kitchen. Yes . . .

David Boder

What is the name of the country?

Benjamin Piskorz

Austria.

David Boder

Austria.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. In Judenburg [possibly a lager for Jews].

David Boder

In Judenburg.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

Nu, and?

Benjamin Piskorz

And there before I even came into the lager, I spent [time] in pris- . . . prison.

David Boder

Why?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because I am a very nervous person, almost crazy-nervous. And I had received there from a distribution center in Willa [?] . . . I had received dry provisions. And in the room was a little oven, stove. And I wanted to cook something. I went down to the carpentry shop, and I gathered the wood shavings that were discarded, and wanted to make a fire. In the meantime came in a Ukrainian policeman, a lager policeman, and he said it was not permitted to build a fire. I said that I will soon put it out. He did not listen to me, but brought up an Englishman. The Englishman turned out to be a very great anti-Semite, but not such a great . . . such a real Englishman. And he began to beat me.

David Boder

The Englishman?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Englishman. And so I was taken to the major, and the major ordered me arrested. I was taken down to a cellar. But I did not submit. I began to fight with them . . .

David Boder

Oh.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . to fight with them. I beat the Englishman up really good. I nearly beat him bloody. He came out in this state. The major saw this. He ordered to call for two more Austrian policemen with guns, and chains [word peculiarly pronounced] were brought. I was chained and led away to prison.

David Boder

What are chains?

Benjamin Piskorz

Chains, handcuffs.

David Boder

Oh, chains.

Benjamin Piskorz

Chains.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I was taken away to prison. I sat there thirteen days.

David Boder

To where were you led away?

Benjamin Piskorz

To jail.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

To prison, to jail.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

And there, in jail, I was thirteen days, and then I had a trial, a military trial.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And here I still have the trial document that . . . written in English, that . . . why I am imprisoned and what happened. And so the judge was an English general.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

And also a reporter was there. I don't know his name.

David Boder

A what? A reporter?

Benjamin Piskorz

A reporter.

David Boder

A journalist.

Benjamin Piskorz

A newspaper reporter.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And afterwards, after the trial, he also asked me . . . he freed me. The fine that he was supposed to fine, a penalty of either two hundred and fifty shillings or another three weeks in jail . . .

David Boder

So how did he free you?

Benjamin Piskorz

And he freed me, the general.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because I told him that I am nervous. I told him the whole story at the trial. I showed him the tongue. I showed him the number. I . . . I presented various facts, that how I can be normal in such a moment when I have only been liberated for five months, that I should again fall in a . . .

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . in a jail. And so he judged me right, and he freed me.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And so during the trial six people testified against me, the lager leader, the major, the lager leader, a Greek, the Englishmen [?] who had beaten me, the Englishman, a Negro who was the interpreter . . .

David Boder

Hm. A Negro an interpreter?

Benjamin Piskorz

A Negro an interpreter. From German into English for that major.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

By that lager leader and the . . . a Ukrai- . . . two, three Ukrainian policemen . . .

David Boder

What did they testify?

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . two Ukrainian policemen. That I broke a bed.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

That I broke a bed. And for that I beat up an Englishman, and such things. And so I was . . . he freed me, the general.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

The general freed me, and also he asked that I should come to him privately to his house, that he would give a report, a report of everything I went through. He took everything down, and he also photographed me. He attached the photograph to the papers that I had reported. He made a little newspaper article of this . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . of everything that I had told him. The same [things] that I am telling now is about what I told him.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And later on I left. I still worked in an English kitchen there. The major later on found me a job in the kitchen.

David Boder

The same major?

Benjamin Piskorz

The same major. We became the best of friends. Afterwards he helped me. And he also fixed me up with a wedding. I got married in Judenburg.

David Boder

To whom?

Benjamin Piskorz

To a woman . . . to a girl from Poland, from Upper Silesia.

David Boder

Where did you meet her?

Benjamin Piskorz

In Budapest, in Hungary.

David Boder

Not one of the eight girls?

Benjamin Piskorz

No, no, the Rumanian girls remained . . .

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . in Rumania.

David Boder

Then your girl right away left with you?

Benjamin Piskorz

The girl . . . I have known this girl five months before the wedding.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so we like a girl and a boy we got acquainted. We fell in love. And so it was decided to remain. The fact remains that we got married, and we remained with one another. We left later on.

David Boder

Where to?

Benjamin Piskorz

From Austria to Italy.

David Boder

Wait a moment. Did the girl come afterwards to look for you in . . . in the lager, or was she with you all the time?

Benjamin Piskorz

The girl was in Budapest in the lager.

David Boder

Oh, nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And I met this girl, and together we came to the lager in Austria.

David Boder

Yes. Oh, you came together.

Benjamin Piskorz

Came together.

David Boder

When you had that affair with the . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Then she was in the lager, and she also brought a change of clothes and food to the prison.

David Boder

Nu, nu, and?

Benjamin Piskorz

And afterwards I came out, and I really saw that she worries about me, that she indeed loves me, and after a certain time we got married.

David Boder

Did you get married there in the lager?

Benjamin Piskorz

In the lager, yes. The major himself arranged the wedding.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

A very nice wedding, and we both got married.

David Boder

What does it mean, a nice wedding?

Benjamin Piskorz

Nu. So what does it mean, a wedding? The way things were in the lager there was nothing to eat.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And on my wedding there was enough to eat.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

I received cigarettes for the wedding. I received clothing from the UNRRA.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

So that the wedding was called a really nice wedding according to conditions after the war.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

And for such a boy like me without funds, without anything . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . this wedding was a nice wedding.

David Boder

Where are the parents of the girl?

Benjamin Piskorz

The parents of the girl have . . . have been killed in the lager, in Auschwitz.

David Boder

Oh. She was alone?

Benjamin Piskorz

Alone, yes.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

And she is now up in the hospital. We have a little baby.

David Boder

Now?

Benjamin Piskorz

Newly born, yes.

David Boder

How old is the baby [?]?

Benjamin Piskorz

The baby is now five days old.

David Boder

Five days old? A boy or a girl?

Benjamin Piskorz

A girl.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I have also given her a name after the mother.

David Boder

Aha. What is the name of the baby?

Benjamin Piskorz

Sara.

David Boder

Aha. Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And now I am in Italy, and thus I am living here in Italy.

David Boder

How did you come over to Italy? When did you attach yourself to a Kibbutz?

Benjamin Piskorz

To a Kibbutz. All the time while I was in Austria . . . twelve months I was in a Kibbutz.

David Boder

What was the . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Kibbutz Dror Habonim.

David Boder

Oh, that is the . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

[Words not clear]

David Boder

That man who is sitting there at the doorway, did he come together with you?

Benjamin Piskorz

He came with me, but he wasn't with me . . .

David Boder

That is Mr . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Isaac Wolf.

David Boder

Wolf, yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, Wolf.

David Boder

Isaac came together with you?

Benjamin Piskorz

Together with me, yes.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And Wolf was in another lager. Wolf was in Traffaya [?].

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And I was in Judenburg. It is a hundred [?] eighty-odd kilometers from here [?]?

David Boder

Yes. And when did you get together? Where?

Benjamin Piskorz

We got together in Judenburg.

David Boder

In Judenburg?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

And . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Because the lager there was liquidated for certain reasons. They made investigations. Englishmen came with Austrian police. Raids were carried out. People were stealing there. The Austrians came to search if we didn't have many English cigarettes or such things, whether people didn't do business. In the meantime they took away for themselves felt boots, gloves, that we had received from the UNRRA. The Austrian police took away . . .

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . for themselves. They said this is forbidden to own. They took it away. And so after a certain time I arrived in Italy.

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

And thus I am now in Italy and am waiting till I will be able to go to Eretz Israel.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And I have also family in Argentina, in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. I have received from them a few letters lately. Now for nine weeks I did not receive any letters from them, and I do not know what to . . . I have a grandmother there . . .

David Boder

Oh.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . and brothers and sisters of my father.

David Boder

A grandmother?

Benjamin Piskorz

A grandmother, yes.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And brothers and sisters of my father.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, and so I do not know what is . . .

David Boder

What did you say happened to your father?

Benjamin Piskorz

What? The father was taken away still in the year '41. [We are] without any word from him. I don't know what happened to him.

David Boder

He was taken alone. The family . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Alone.

David Boder

. . . remained.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, yes. The whole family was in Argentina.

David Boder

No, I mean your family. The father was taken away . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

My . . . my father was taken away. The mother was burned and the cousin . . .

David Boder

The cousin, yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . and . . . and another brother. There was another brother of the father, an upholsterer, who worked in Poland, escaped to Russia, and from him I have lately received words that he is alive in Russia.

David Boder

He is alive in Russia.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

A brother.

Benjamin Piskorz

A brother of my father.

David Boder

Oh. And did the Argentine people [relatives] send you something?

Benjamin Piskorz

They sent me something like . . . ten pounds they sent me through a bank, but . . .

David Boder

Ten pounds in money.

Benjamin Piskorz

Ten pounds in money, but through a bank. But here it is very hard even with the ten pounds.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because we have to buy additionally [to the provisions of the camp]. And now we have a baby. And we don't received enough aid for the baby, and coming . . . I came without clothes. I had to buy [?] myself something from the UNRRA. I hardly received anything. The clothes that I had received there on the wedding are torn in the meantime, and they got soiled, because I did not have any other clothes for work, because I arrived with only a handbag, a piece of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, things that one needs for the road. So I did not have what to wear. They had torn. When I received the ten pounds I had to buy a suit.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

And I had to buy myself a shirt. I had to buy for the wife some clothes.

David Boder

Did you have to exchange it through the bank, the ten pounds?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, through the bank.

David Boder

How many liras did you receive for it?

Benjamin Piskorz

I received nine thousand liras [the official exchange was very low].

David Boder

For each pound.

Benjamin Piskorz

No, nine hundred liras for a pound.

David Boder

Nine hundred liras.

Benjamin Piskorz

Nine hundred liras for a pound.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

And also it was deducted . . . three hundred and thirty-odd liras were deducted by the bank for the exchange.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

So that I received eight hundred and sixty-odd . . . six hundred and a few liras. And for this I bought myself . . . I had to buy a suit, for four thousand liras a suit. I am wearing the suit now.

David Boder

Aha, yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because now again I don't have anything to wear. And I had to buy myself a shirt, because I didn't have any change. For the wife I had to buy clothes. I didn't have anything to wear for the wife. Now again I have a baby so that I will again have to. I have no money. And from the uncles I don't receive any letters for nine weeks. For as long as I am here in . . .

David Boder

Send it by air mail. Send it . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

I send. I have already sent away around fifteen letters. Every week I send away three, four letters, two letters, one letter. I cannot send too many. Every letter has to cost me the minimum, a hundred liras, a hundred and eight liras. And how many such 'hundred and eight liras' do I have?

David Boder

Aha. Tell me this. The . . . when your wife will return . . . She is here in the hospital?

Benjamin Piskorz

In the hospital in Tradate.

David Boder

In Tradate. Do you have a room for yourself?

Benjamin Piskorz

Here I have a room for myself. I have received now a room for myself.

David Boder

Oh. And how were you before?

Benjamin Piskorz

Before we were in Cremona in a lager.

David Boder

With . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

With seventy people together.

David Boder

What does it mean, with seventy people? Men and women?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, men and women together in one room, because there was no possibility of living in any other way. Because it was one Kvutzah [?], one Kibbutz, a group that lived collectively. One did not eat without [?] the other. Whatever we could, whatever we got. None of us had any funds. These were all people who trod the same road of the . . . the . . . the Fighter Groups of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Socialist workers.

David Boder

Tell me this. Why is not the Kibbutz arranged so that the men and women would not be in the same room[Footnote: I remember seeing in Tradate a room housing more than thirty couples, many couples having one bed for the two, without curtains or any separation from the others. The Menonites in Feldafing lived about in the same manner.]?

Benjamin Piskorz

And so in that lager it was impossible. The . . . the captain of a lager leader did not take too much interest in it. Lately the lager leader was changed, and he did take interest.

David Boder

Who is the lager leader?

Benjamin Piskorz

I do not know his name. An Englishman.

David Boder

An Englishman.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

A Jew?

Benjamin Piskorz

No.

David Boder

Nu?

Benjamin Piskorz

And the Englishman lately did take an interest. He procured more rooms there. He changed . . . he made . . . there was a synagogue in that lager, so he took over the synagogue. He did not allow having a synagogue there. Instead, in the synagogue husbands and wives . . .

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . slept together. And so it was made there . . . it was not only husbands and wives. There were girls, unmarried ones, and unmarried boys, and also families. For instance, my wife, a pregnant woman was together with a girl who was not even married.

David Boder

A girl?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. So that the circumstances . . . the conditions were not such as could be wished for.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And the people . . . and so after a period of time the comrades who work in Milan organized a Hachshara, which organizes kvuthot of the organized groups. Such Kibbutzim . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

They transferred us to Tradate. And now we are here in Tradate.

David Boder

And when do you think you will be in Eretz Yisroeil?

Benjamin Piskorz

This . . . this is up to the powers that give the certificates. This is up to the [name of a special bureau].

David Boder

Do not people travel without certificates?

Benjamin Piskorz

People travel without certificates. I don't know how one goes. This is already . . .

David Boder

Oh.

Benjamin Piskorz

. . . a different thing. I do not concern myself with it, with such things. I hear it. I do not know if people travel without certificates, but according to rumors [?], when I read the papers, the Austrian, the Swiss newspapers . . . I read the Italian newspapers, because I have already learned a little Italian during this time. And I have comrades who know Italian well. They translate for me that comrades arrive who were . . . who went illegally. Otherwise I do not know about it. [He seems a bit secretive]

David Boder

Yes, it is understood.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes.

David Boder

And how are the conditions here? How long have you been here?

Benjamin Piskorz

Here I am already three months.

David Boder

And how many people are there here?

Benjamin Piskorz

Here? I do not know so exactly. This I do not know.

David Boder

Nu, yes, but there are many people here?

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes, there are many people here.

David Boder

Yes. People eat in two, three [shifts].

Benjamin Piskorz

Now the conditions demand that people have to eat . . . go to eat two, three times [in shifts], so that sometimes, towards the end [last shift], there is a shortage of food.

David Boder

Not enough food left.

Benjamin Piskorz

Because it is so: With us here in Tradate it is so: It is collective. Collective means this, that everybody comes over to the table and finds his food on the table.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

And when he finishes eating, he leaves and makes room for someone else. And occasionally one who has eaten and is still hungry goes to eat again.

David Boder

Oh, oh. That . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

No. This is . . . nothing can be done about that, because they are hungry. The aid received is perhaps enough, according to the view that is figured out on the . . . the minimum prices, but when they go to buy it, it is sometimes more expensive and sometimes this is cheaper.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

It is possible that it evens up, but the food is very meager.

David Boder

Is not enough.

Benjamin Piskorz

For a man who has returned from the woods, a partisan, or a man who has returned from a lager, from a concentration camp, who for three, four years was in a camp, starved out, without a little fat, he should have to live now on this it is very little.

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

It is very meager.

David Boder

So, nu, so what does one do?

Benjamin Piskorz

And what does one do? Whatever one can to get something. If he has some things that he had brought from Germany, he sells them and eats. So again he has nothing.

David Boder

Where does he sell it?

Benjamin Piskorz

He sells. He goes to Milan. There are people who need such things for themselves, so they buy them.

David Boder

Aha.

Benjamin Piskorz

So for such things one has to . . .

David Boder

Nu, [an unfinished word] . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

So [words not clear].

David Boder

When the baby arrived, did you get anything extra for . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

For the baby I received . . .

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

For the baby I received a package, some underwear.

David Boder

From whom?

Benjamin Piskorz

This was given by the Joint.

David Boder

Yes?

Benjamin Piskorz

The Joint gave a package. And to this package I have to buy another such ten.

David Boder

Why?

Benjamin Piskorz

Because a child uses up. And such things, for instance, diapers for the child to change, one need things to change. One cannot change a child with the same diapers. And secondly, [words not clear]. I do not get help so that I should be able to buy for money. I do not have . . .

David Boder

From Argentina you did not get anything?

Benjamin Piskorz

I received the ten pounds. It is very little. The uncles . . . it is very little, what I received. During all the time that I am in Italy, five months, I received ten pounds. And what is nine thousand liras? How can one live on it?

David Boder

Hm.

Benjamin Piskorz

When we lived in a lager [for DPs] we had to buy additional food. So the major portion that was spent was spent for food. Not for clothes, but for food it went in the lager. Here maybe it is [more] stable. A person gets used [adjusted]. He straightens himself out. He does not go two, three times [to eat the same meal]. These are single cases, that one does go twice to eat [eats in more than one shift so that others get nothing]. You understand? Singe, single cases. A man who has not . . . does not know about that. He does not realize that it is somebody else's food.

David Boder

Now . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

A man who is . . .

David Boder

I do not understand too well the counting in dekas. Last night I ate here, too.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes?

David Boder

How many dekas of bread was it?

Benjamin Piskorz

How much bread do we receive daily?

David Boder

It was in the evening.

Benjamin Piskorz

In the evening, a bun.

David Boder

How much do you . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Eight dekas.

David Boder

I think . . .

Benjamin Piskorz

Eight dekas.

David Boder

And now many dekas of bread do you receive daily?

Benjamin Piskorz

Half a kilo.

David Boder

Oh. That is how much? Fifty dekas?

Benjamin Piskorz

Fifty dekas.

David Boder

And when does one receive the other two dekas [42 dekas]?

Benjamin Piskorz

It is this way. The . . . the . . . we get it this way. In the morning we get a bun.

David Boder

Hm.

David Boder

Oh, per day?

Benjamin Piskorz

Per day.

David Boder

Per day.

Benjamin Piskorz

Yes. Such a bun for a meal is very little, so that one cannot be . . .

David Boder

Yes. I did not want to eat it. It does not taste good.

Benjamin Piskorz

No.

David Boder

When I was in Switzerland I saw that they got more, although not in all places. In some places . . . And those who eat Kosher, do they have more or what?

Benjamin Piskorz

Those who eat Kosher?

David Boder

Yes.

Benjamin Piskorz

I do not know. I did not meet any people yet who eat Kosher.

David Boder

Here . . . . . . is there a separate Kosher group here?

Benjamin Piskorz

I don't know. I do not pay attention to it. First, I am already so that what I am given I eat and I am satisfied, because to get something special is impossible. Because on someone else's money and on someone else's means I cannot live on [a few words not clear].

David Boder

[In English] Alright. This concludes Spool . . . this concludes Spool 103, the second spool of Benjamin Piskorz with the story of the Warsaw Ghetto and the story of liberation. He has no . . . [ends abruptly]