"They came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a communist; They came for the socialists, and I did not speak up because I was not a socialist; They came for the union leaders, and I didnot speak up because I wasn't a union leader; They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me." Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984
Cattle Car • 31’6” long, 14’ wide, 13’2” high • 20-25 cars/trip • 100-200 people/car • No food, no water, no toilet, no ventilation. The average trip took 4.5 days. The longest took 18; when the cars were opened, everyone inside was already dead. • Two buckets: one contains water, the other is for a toilet. • Arms often had to be raised to leave maximum space for all passengers.
Arriving at the Camps… • After getting off the cattle cars and before entering the camps, men, women, and children had to remove everything of value and turn it over. • Those who did not quickly or willingly turn over their possessions were beaten.
Josef Mengele A line measuring between 5’-5’2” was drawn on the wall. If children did not reach the line, they were sent to the gas chamber.
Birthday Present • On the twentieth of April, one prisoner was shot every two minutes for an hour and a half as a birthday gift to Hitler.
Between some of the buildings in the camps, there was a trough into which prisoners urinated. As some prisoners were almost-dead, the living prisoners had to place them in the trough, where they were then urinated on.
If prisoners could not get up from the barracks to report for role, they were taken away, undoubtedly to be killed.
Prisoners were asked to do ridiculous, painful tasks. • One survivor remembers: During the day sometimes, German guards on trucks ran back and forth telling prisoners to jump on. One time I was taken to do a little work carrying steel beams. It was winter time, very cold. Fifteen or twenty guys were lifting each side of the beam because it was a wide beam. Eventually they told us to place it somewhere. But when we tried we couldn't tear away our hands from the steel because they were frozen to the beam. The skin came off and started bleeding. They didn't permit us to put any kind of cloth over our hands. We had to carry it bare. The next day we put this same beam back in the original spot.
The Selection • Every few months we had what they called a selection. They came into the barracks and picked out the people who looked very skinny and couldn't work anymore. They looked you over, and if they didn't see much fat on you, they put down your number. The next morning they came with trucks, picked up these people and put them right in the crematorium. It was heartbreaking.
The Little Mouse • One young soldier called me over to him. There he was, wearing rubber gloves, holding a mouse by its tail. He brought it straight to me, and asked if I saw the live mouse. He then continued to ask me to open my dress. I did not want to let him. I thought I was stronger than him. I did not want him to take advantage of me. I thought for a moment. I bent down and I said, "This is such a nice, beautiful, gorgeous mouse". And I slowly opened my dress, and said, "Here little mouse, come and play." • The young soldier was surprised by my comments. Obviously, he was not satisfied with my reaction because most women screamed and hollered in fright over the little mouse. But I didn't. Since he knew that I was not afraid, or rather it seemed like I was not afraid of the mouse, he took the mouse and with all of his frustration, he threw it away. He then looked back at me and slapped my face. He was not satisfied with my surprising behavior but he felt he had to do something to punish me. After this incident, he left me alone.
Hiding to Survive • At Treblinka, Freida and I were always together, never separated. She was smart and quick-minded. We used to hide in the toilets, which were big, deep, filthy holes near walls. If SS men wanted girls to go to work, they would chase them. So instead of being caught, we hid. The only way you could hide is if you crawled in and held onto the boards in the toilets. We stayed there until they found enough girls to go to work. When we crawled out, we had dirt and other people's feces all over our feet. This feces-hole was our hiding place. It was our way of survival.