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Compilation of writings from the Holocaust Survivors' Group, circa 1998






Bound compilation of four issues of the Holocaust Survivors' Group essays and poems.

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jhp000366. Henry and Anita Schuster Papers, 1941-2011. MS-00580. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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THE HISTORY OF OUR HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR GROUP In January of 1996 Anita and I were asked by Dr. Doris Soroky , then president of The Jewish Community Center of Southern Nevada and Mrs. Edythe Katz Yachever to organize a Holocaust Survivors Group here in Las Vegas. JCC offered to sponsor us. We accepted the challenge and asked Harry and Helen Goldman to Co-chair the organization with us. Our first meeting was at the Federation . Building on February 5, 1996. Thirty-five people attended. We now had a nucleus to start the Survivors Group of Southern Nevada. As of February 1st of 1998 we have over 160 members, and we are still growing. Our great loss was that Helen and Harry passed away at much too young an age. We all miss them, Aside from publishing our Chronicle, periodically we have regular meetings. We are a support group for each other. We are engaged in helping people apply for restitution from Germany with the help of a German attorney. Ms. Adrienne Rosenberg, director of the Jewish Family Service has applied for a grant from the Claims Conference to give financial help to needy survivors. Gina Klonoff heads up our speakers bureau. We have placed 30 speakers in various schools, civic organizations and religious groups last year. We are involved with the Shoah Foundation and distribute their applications. All in all we are.a new found family. The membership consists of people born in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. We urge all second and third generation survivors to come and be involved with us. ACTIVITIES OF OUR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS GROUP We are 1. An advocacy group 2. An educational group 3. A social group 4. A support group Our educational services include 1. A speakers bureau 2. The updating of survivors on all pertinent information We work with 1. German Attorneys 2. Insurance Commissioners 3. Attorneys in Class Actions We are members of 1. American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors 2. World Jewish Congress 3. Wiesenthal Center 4. Holocaust Museum Washington D.C. 5. Museum of Tolerance 6. Holocaust Leadership Council of the West 7. Shoah Foundation (Spielberg Org.) 8. Child Survivors Group of California We receive updates from all of these organizations We have community outreach and joint ventures with the following organization 1. Jewish War Veterans 2. Holocaust Library 3. AdatAri El 4. Nellis Air Force Base 5. Temple Beth Sholom 6. Temple Ner Tamid 7. Committee for Yom Hashoah We publish The Survivors Chronicle and periodic bulletins THIS EDITION IS DEDICATED TO YOM HASHOAH The dictionary defines the word Holocaust as total consumption by fire. This was the tool the Nazis used to destroy an entire people. First came the burning of books of Jewish writers and poets. Second was the burning of the Holy Scriptures and Synagogues and finally the burning of Human Beings. Now the question is asked many times. Who is a Survivor? There are many types, such as Jews, Gypsies, Non- Jews, political activists, homosexuals, the mentally deficient and all those who were forced to leave their homes because their lives were at stake at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Miraculously we have 200 Survivors living here in Las Vegas. Many worked as slave laborers for the Germans. After liberation many Survivors did not fare well. Upon returning to their places of birth, looking for family members and relatives, these Survivors had to flee because their lives were in danger. In many cases Survivors again became victims of new pogroms in their native countries. Those that wanted to emigrate to Palistine to start a new life were interned and put into camps by the British in Cyprus. Othes drowned trying to reach the Jewish Homeland in unfit vessels. Many others would not talk about their horrible experiences. Others are still suffering the aftereffects, We the Survivors living in the United States and Israel have become productive citizens and are proud of who we are. UPON RETURNING TO VIENNA by Gina Klonoff While on a trip to Europe recently, I visited Vienna, my birth place. I had not been back there since 1939 when, along with my parents, I fled for my life from the Nazis. By now my German speaking, Austrian identity had given way to an American one, and the memories of my first life had receded. Nevertheless, after my taxi pulled away from the airport terminal, and we headed toward Vienna's outskirts, recollections of childhood outings, and summer camp vacations began to push forward.. When we entered the city limits, and inched our way along the narrow streets of the Iimer City, I identified such old landmarks as St. Stephen's Cathedral, St. Peter's Church, and the Monument to the Departure of the' Black Death, but I recognized that the previously dominant gothic and baroque profile of the city had been diluted by a great abundance of contemporary constructions. In addition, the smartly dressed pedestrians along the sidewalk, the shop windows bursting with luxuries, and the endless stream of late model autos and commercial vehicles whizzing around the Ringstrasse, all testified to a booming economy. Clearly, the Anschluss, World War n, and the postwar Russian occupation had become history here. Nevertheless, as my taxi moved along the winding streets, I found them out of kilter somehow with my recollections of them. While my cab waited at a traffic light, phantom images began to insert themselves between my window and the sidewalk store fronts. A shadowy woman wearing a sheitel (wig) appeared, and so did a couple of boys wearing kippas, Some bearded men in black kaftans and wide-rimmed hats hovered over the sidewalk. Their side curls bounced jauntily as they accompanied their animated conversation with gesturing hands. The boys were hitting the ball against the building, and attached to the wall were signs: TEITELBAUM DRY GOODS," "HOROWITZ KOSHER MEAT", "SELIGMAN MEN'S CLOTHING." Then . the light changed, and my taxi jerked forward across the intersection. When I glanced back over my shoulder, the scene was no longer there. The women, the Chassidim, the boys and the store signs - all had vanished. I rubbed my eyes in amazement, and then I realized that my memory had played a trick on me - had conjured up for me scenes from my childhood - scenes which I well knew, had been obliterated many years ago. Nevertheless, "How strange," I thought, with a stubborn incredulity." Vienna without Jews? Wasn't it the Jews who had given Vienna its distinction? Without a Sigmund Freud, Theodore Herzl, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler, Stefan Zweig, and a host of other geniuses in the arts'and sciences, what would Vienna have been? Why, even Johann Strauss' baptismal record had to be removed from St. Stephen's Cathedral by the Nazis, because it testified to a Jewish ancestor. What creative output, even close to its former abundance, had come out of Vienna in the decades since the Jews departed?" None, that I could recall. When my taxi stopped before another traffic light, I studied the pedestrians crossing in front of me: young mothers pushing strollers, clerks on lunch hour errands, several priests in robes. None of them had been bom yet when my train to safety began to move that long ago spring day. Did they know or care, I asked myself, about an entire segment of its previous population having been decimated and/or catapulted into exile because of their religion? Or about the atrocities, murders and expulsions which took place right here among their gemuetliche coffee houses? And how did they feel about their present resulting religious homogeneity? Did they regard it as a well-deserved plum, or merely as a happenstance, like the climate? What had happened to the euphoria and frenzy with which I saw the Viennese greet Hitler on the Heldenplatz that 13th of March, 1938? Had it really dissipated, or merely gone underground to sprout later from another generation? Or had the influence of those few good Samaritans who, even during the darkest hours performed acts of compassion here, triumphed in the end? And could those citizens, who cheered so wildly at the signing of the 1955 treaty restoring Austria's democratic rights, have turned the tide of bigotry and hate? Didn't the Parliament recently pass legislation to compensate former victims, and aren't they enclosing letters of contrition and apology with the payments? But what compensation is there for crimes of such magnitude? Such questions tumbled all over each other in my mind, until my taxi's arrival at the Hotel Europa. There, after a quick check-in, and breakfast on the terrace, I took the underground train to the Schottenring. I emerged in bright sunlight, and before me lay the Augarten Bridge, which spanned the Danube Canal, and which would bring me back to my old neighborhood, the Second District. Crossing the bridge along the railing, I noticed the towers of the Rossauer Caserne reflected in the bluish green waves below me. I remembered that that armory, draped with swastika banners, had been used by the Nazis as a holding place for Vienna's Jews, before they were shipped off to the various concentration camps. And an image flashed before my eyes. My pious Opapa was being thrust by two SS men into a truck already crammed with Jewish men. It was Kristallnight, and all around me tall flames from burning synagogues' were shooting toward the sky. Pressed around the truck were sobbing women, and in the distance the intermittent loud crashing of glass from broken windows carried with it a sense of doom for me. I had never before seen terror in my mother's face. She was still holding on to her father's coat sleeve, when one of the SS man stepped on the gas pedal and the truck sped away over the Augarten Bridge toward the Rossauer Caserne. My grandfather jammed in between two other old men, continued to look back at us and nod his head as if in reassurance, until the truck disappeared. I never saw him again. The image lasted only a moment, but when I continued on my way, the sun had lost its brilliance. When I reached the end of the bridge, I was back in my first world. As if fermented by a hidden current, a torrent of memories and associations with this neighborhood deluged me. Yet the scenes of those memories contrasted sharply with the setting which now lay in front of me. The most noticeable change was the silence and the emptiness. Streets, once abuzz with street vendors, vehicles, foot traffic, and children's voices, now stretched deserted and lifeless before me. I saw a man with a dog, and they both eyed me with curiosity. As I passed by former neighbors' apartments, shops, synagogue sites, and Jewish learning centers, most of them in disrepair, and converted beyond recognition, my footsteps actually echoed on the cobblestones. Where are you, Fraulein Korngold, who used to cany your cholent across this street to the corner bakery in high heels every Friday afternoon? And where is the bakery? Where are you, Reb Uscher, waving your etrog so vigorously on the way home from the synagogue to your Sukkah? Where is the synagogue and where is the Sukkah? And you, Frau Sonnenschein, bending over to tie your shoe on this very spot, whenever you walked home from the mikvah? Where is the mikvah? Or you, Fraulein Reisman, always stopping by that lamp post to flirt with Leib, the greengrocer's son? And where is Leib? What happened to the once so boisterous Karmelitta Market down the block? Its formal peaceful facade today gives no hint of its erstwhile hubbub, teeming before the Sabbath with Jewish housewives, truck farmers hawking their pungent fruit and vegetables, and cackling chickens and geese, their wings flapping wildly as they were being pulled out of their cages for inspection. Where are you, Frau Bergman, who buried your face in your hands while the fishmonger dealt the fatal blow to the carp you chose out of the barrel for Sabbath? Who buried their faces when it was your turn for the gas chamber? I know where you all are -- in Yad Vashem, each of you just one more name in the Hall of Names. And as for you, little surrogate white hen, your feet grasped tightly by my Omama, who circled you around my head every Yom Kippur Eve, while she committed all my childish sins upon your head -- how you cackled and carried on! -- But you've stopped cackling forever. I passed a doorway which I recognized, and I stopped. Behind that building in the courtyard had stood our synagogue - the old splendid Schiffschul. With renewed eagerness I went inside, and walked through the dark hallway out the back door. The courtyard was deserted, except for an old man holding a prayer book. "Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?" he asked me. "I'm just passing by, I told him. "Wasn't it here that the Schiffschul once stood?" "Yes, here." he pointed to a mound of dirt, covered with moss and twigs, in the middle of the empty courtyard "Here was the Schiffschul." "Do you still pray here in this building?" I asked. He nodded. "We have a prayer room upstairs. Today is Thursday so we had enough men for a minyon" "Are there many Jews living in Vienna?" "A few" he said. They're mostly from Russia... from Israel...a few came back after the war, like me." He paused for a moment. "They're scattered across the whole city. Most of them don't register themselves, so we don't really know... His voice trailed off. He turned and shuffled back into the building. I did not linger either, and went back outside to resume my wanderings. My footsteps continued to echo down the vacant streets of a dead neighborhood. I envisioned thousands of other such communities, once hubs for a vibrant Judaism, now lying wasted and abandoned throughout Europe. And I understood for the first time the full meaning of the judgment, "Europe has become a Jewish graveyard " Even though in my mind I acknowledge that a different Jewish identity, with new national and religious well springs had emerged from the ashes, I was convinced that nothing could eclipse the richness and beauty, the unique essence, of the previous one, or erase the unspeakable barbarity and evil which had been perpetrated upon it. Flying home soon afterward, I peered down though the dirt-streaked window of my Boeing 747 jet, upon the rooftops of my birth city, Vienna, now stripped of its Jewishness. Again I wondered. Had humanity learned anything from this era's descent into bestiality by a "civilized" power structure? Would such horror happen again, in some other place, at some future time? Was such evil intrinsic to human nature? Breakfast was being served. The flight attendants rolled their carts down the aisle of the immense metal flying machine. I remembered that the genius, Leonardo Da Vinci, had made countless fruitless efforts to defy gravity in this way, but not until four centuries later did science accomplish his goal. I thought about Florence and the Renaissance, bursting forth with magnificent creations only after centuries of darkness, of the symphonies of Mozart, of the architectural and engineering marvels of the mega cities, and of the modern triumphs in medicine and the arts. All of them were not only culminations of previous efforts, but also stepping stones to new achievements. Above all, I thought about the individuals, whose courage, compassion and self endangerment, shone like beacons from some of the same black pits in which our people were being demoniacally annihilated by other people. If only there had been more beacons, but those which shone, were all held by human hands. I acknowledged that progress had always been painstakingly slow, but I could not bring myself to accept total despair. I had seen for myself too many examples of man's ultimate possibilities for creative and moral achievement, and I wanted those examples to be promises, rather than anomalies. Perhaps, I thought, if mankind, is given repeated reminders and graphic warnings in every generation of the bitter harvest it reaped from the seeds of hate and bigotry in our time, it would at last recoil. Perhaps the Holocaust would serve as a watershed, and the catastrophe which happened to us would indeed happen "never again." I wanted to believe that desperately. Two hundred years ago, Alexis De Tocqueville, during his travels through America, echoed our nation's conviction that "the diffusion of knowledge will bring about the perfectibility of man." Should not that truism still be our prophecy and our goal? Otherwise, how can we march with enthusiasm and confidence into the next century? A Storv I Wrote Thirty Years Ago by Betty Kale Since the end of World War II hundreds of articles and books have been written about the torture and slaughter of the millions of Jews in Germany-millions were killed-however, some survived the indescribable physical and mental pain that was inflicted upon them. I am one of the survivors. In great measure, I owe my life to the courage and humanity of a few people who helped me and the handful of other girls I was imprisoned with, at the risk of their own lives. Whatever happened to our benefactors I do not know, since I, nor anyone else, knew their names nor their identities. However; I do know that through their tremendous sacrifice the one year we spent in prison in the town of Reval (now called Tallinn, capitol city of Estonia) was at least made bearable to us. The other two years I spent in assorted concentration camps, and the horrors I saw and experienced there, I would much rather not even think about. In September of 1942 my mother, my sister and I were among twelve hundred Jews the Germans assembled and loaded into cattle trains. Fortunately, our destination and fate were a complete mystery to us. After being shuttled about, under the worst sanitary conditions, for approximately one week, (we assumed that we had traveled north most of the time) our train was stoned and we were ordered to get off. While doing so, we were assorted into two categories. I was among one hundred young women selected to stay alive. The other eleven hundred men, women and children were loaded into buses, never to be seen nor heard from again. That afternoon we entered Jagala~the first of eight concentration and labor camps in which we were destined to spend almost three years. Jagala was a relatively small concentration camp. While we were there, our main task was to unpack and assort the rucksacks (knapsacks), bundles and bags of clothing which had been taken away from our loved ones before boarding the buses. After being held for about three months at Jagala, most of the original group, plus other young girls from the camp, were shipped to the town of Reval. Estonia is about the same latitude as the central part of Alaska. It gets very cold there during the long winter months. Therefore, we were very happy when we traded the wooden barracks of Jagala for the prison cells in the stone penitentiary building in Reval. Little did we know then that we were to work outdoors in the cold and windy harbor of Reval where it was not unusual for the mercury to drop to thirty degrees below zero. After spending the night in our cells (ten girls, were housed in each cell originally built to accommodate three inhabitants) our breakfast was served to us through the little window in the iron cell door. We received our very meager daily bread ration, some black liquid-which we called coffee, and a bowl of fish eyes. However, none of us, no matter how hungry we were, ate the fish eyes. For the next year, each morning we were led through endless corridors and passageways to a gate where armed guards were waiting to escort us to the harbor of-Reval. Although a large percentage of the buildings in this once busy, industrial seaport were demolished, we saw dozens of small factories and iron works in operation. Estonian men were working in these places. We were sent into the ruins, which represented the remains of one and two-story brick buildings, to do preliminary cleanup work until the weather would permit us to start the actual job of brick laying. Naturally, there was a tremendous shortage of building materials and every last stone had to be salvaged for reconstruction. Our first task was to remove the old dried-up mortar from the heaps of bricks. Since it was now the middle of December and the sub-zero temperatures seemed to be getting colder, one could hardly lift up those cold stones, much less clean them. The food we received during our workday was naturally not enough to supply us with the energy we needed to fight the bitter cold. Personally, I started feeling very depressed and began to indulge in self-pity. Fortunately, a girl I had become very fond of helped me snap out of this frame of mind. Meanwhile, we were getting a little more familiar with our surroundings and although we were constantly being watched, we were able to exchange a smile, or a wave of a hand, with the Estonians, who were working only a few hundred feet away from us. While they were fully aware that getting into contact with us could result in severe punishment for all of us, many of these wonderful, brave men eventually found a way to ease the pains of hunger for us. Most of these natives were wearing dark brown coveralls and fur hats, and from afar they all looked alike to me. However, I could not help but notice this one man standing in the distance and gesturing to the same spot whenever he could attract my attention. I finally realized that he was trying to tell me something. From then on I focused my attention on him as often as I could without being conspicuous. Finally, I understood what he had been trying to convey to me for the past few days. Right there, buried under a board, was a package of food for me. As I started to unpack this precious gift, I realized that most of the girls were receiving similar favors. Estonia had been occupied by the Germans for almost two years now. The food shortage was very much prevalent in every home. Yet these fine men and their families were willing to share the little they had with us. This miraculous supplement to our otherwise starvation food ration, plus the knowledge that some people in this hostile world had the courage to care, made prison life a little easier for us. During all this time we had no actual contact with the outside world. No matter how hard we tried to figure out what had happened to our families we could not find an answer. Our own lives were dependent largely on the whims and wishes of a few Nazi officials. We always expected the worst to happen and became suspicious of the slightest variation in routine. One day we had the usual breakfast in our cells and waited for the iron doors to open and to be escorted to our work center. But we waited in vain. Hours went by and the doors did not open. The suspense of this started to prey on our nerves. In the evening we were still in our cells. Finally, we received a most delicious dish of sweetened oatmeal instead of the usual tasteless gray mess called soup. We now realized that we had miscalculated our mental calendar. It was Christmas and we too had received a holiday treat! Any person sentenced to a prison term can look forward to the time of release, Each day spent behind bars is a day closer to freedom. However, ours was a sentence of doom, doom for the Jewish population of any country the Nazis had invaded, Freedom, for us could only come with the conquest of Hitler's Germany. With the disappearance of snow and ice, it was possible to mix the mortar necessary for teaching us the art of bricklaying. After a few weeks of practice we became quite proficient at our new skill and we started the reconstruction of the buildings we had cleared from rubble. It had taken all my physical and mental strength to survive the brutal winter; yet the knowledge that at long last the season of spring was nearing, helped let me dream and reminisce past prison walls. Within the next few weeks Jews, in their respective free countries, would be celebrating the festival of Passover, the holiday to commemorate the escape of the Israelites from Egypt. As the Bible tells us, while preparing to leave Egypt, the children of Israel did not have time for the usual process of baking bread, therefore they ate unleavened bread called matzo. Not even in my wildest dreams did I hope to see, much less taste, matzo while being imprisoned. Yet I was to learn that through courage and dedication the seemingly impossible can be made a reality. Spring had come, and it felt wonderful not to shiver from the bitter cold. The usual miserable march from the penitentiary to the harbor seemed so much shorter in the warming morning sunshine. Still, this pleasant spring day did not change the grim faces of the armed guards marching alongside our column. Natives, while going about their business, kept their usual distance from us. One man had been following us for some time. We realized that he was trying to attract our attention, but, being so closely guarded, one would not dare to step out of line and help establish contact. It suddenly all happened so fast?the stranger had disappeared?and we were trying to hide the package he had slipped into our column, When at our place of work we were finally able to open the package, the unbelievable sight of a few pieces of matzo gave me so much to think about. It was Passover. A man had risked his freedom, perhaps even his life, to bring this matzo to us, matzo baked by people who had the courage to defy the ban on baking unleavened bread, matzo, symbolic of the Exodus from Egypt, symbolic of freedom itself. Here I was in bondage, just like my forefathers had been several thousand years ago, I ate matzo as they had done while being freed from bondage. Would I ever be liberated and live in a free country again? Liberation and freedom were to be two long hopeless years away. By the end of 1943 the Germans finally started to lose ground and began to retreat. Even while they were losing, they found ways and means to drag us back into Germany again. There, after surviving a succession of concentration and labor camps, I was liberated at the end of the war in the Bergen Bel sen Concentration Camp. Liberation had come for me at the end of the war in Germany. Freedom, however I first experienced when I saw the Statue of Liberty in New York while approaching the Harbor. For the past eighteen years I have enjoyed the freedom and the plenty of my new country, the United States of America. I have been trying to forget the nightmares I lived through-yet-there is so much to remember. The Potato Man By David Berkovits This title sounds like a story about a potato farmer but it's not. It is a true story about myself at the age of fourteen in a concentration camp. The camp was Gleiwitz in upper Silesia, Germany then, Poland at the present time. In November of 1944, a small group of us, about twelve in all, marched under the watchful eyes of a German guard, to an empty field with some construction projects in the background where other prisoners worked. When we arrived to the field there was a tool shed nearby. An SS officer stood by, checking us over. A few minutes later, a civilian man arrived on a bicycle. He introduced himself, not by name, but he let us know that he is our foreman. From then on he became our Herr Meister. We got shovels and picks and we were led a few hundred feet away where strings had been pulled out. Our job was digging along the strings. We were digging for the next two months or so. The soil was red clay and very sticky. It was a hard job. About a week after we started this project, Herr Meister called me over to his side and asked for my age. I told him that I was fourteen years old. He looked sadly at me and told me to follow him into the tool shed. As we entered the shed I noticed a wood stove in the middle of the room and a lot of shovels by the walls. He asked me if I know how to make a fire in the wood stove. I said "yes" He pointed to a pile of wood and instructed me "Make a fire! Fill, up with water this pot, put it on top of the stove." He reached into a small sack and took out about a dozen potatoes. I placed the potatoes in the pot. He came with the potatoes every morning for the next six weeks. Cooking the potatoes was my steady job. I placed one potato under each worker's soup bowl and I ate one and sometimes two if he brought an extra one. Herr Meister also told me that if an SS comes to check on me I should pretend to clean the muddy shovels with hot water. Toward the end of December, the SS commander of the guards came into the shed. He did not smell the potatoes, luckily, but he kicked me out of the. shed and ordered me back to the digging. Herr Meister ordered me back to the shed and confronted the SS officer. They had a loud discussion. The SS officer promised to punish us. Herr Meister accused the officer of being a hero with defenseless, sick people but not on the Russian front. Herr Meister had an artificial leg and he pointed to it and said "I fought for my country and I paid for it with my leg." Later that day when we stood in a row for the count, before walking back to the camp, the SS commander wrote down our prison numbers and promised us a good beating at the camp. Apparently he had second thoughts. We never were called for the punishment. In the beginning of January 1945, we left Gleiwitz for the famous death march. A few of us survived. I had enough strength to run from the bullets for miles in the woods in deep snow because of those potatoes. The nameless Herr Meister was a hero. He had taken a chance with his own life to save us from hunger. A man with his courage should be remembered by planting a tree in the righteous gentile section at Yad YaShem. In memory of Herr Meister the potato man, 12/18/97 P.S. If the man is still alive he should be in his late eighties. Memories: By Janos Strauss On the train to Auschwitz June 1944. It was the third day since we were locked up in the train. People of all ages, from tiny babies to the very old. It was terribly hot and smelly, everyone was suffering from thirst. Two weeks ago I was arrested with 27 other 15-16 year old boys on a farm where we were assigned to do field work by the Hungarian authorities. We were taken to the Monor ghetto where all the Jewish people from the surrounding countryside were already collected. Three days ago the ghetto was emptied, all the people had to March through the town of Monor, guarded by Hungarian forces commanded by German officers. They took us to the railroad station The train was already there, box cars with barbed wire windows. Pandemonium broke out at the sight of those railroad cars, but nothing could be done. We were surrounded with German SS guards holding vicious barking dogs forcing us on the train, eighty of us cramped on to each other. Then an empty pail was handed in as a toilet and a filled water container, then we were locked in. On the second day the crying and screaming changed just to an occasional muffled, sound. A woman was holding on to her dead mother rocking and whispering to her as if she was a baby. The pail was over filled with human waste in a few hours, as the train moved, the waste was spilling over I managed to get myself to the locked door where I could see through the cracks. The train stopped, we were someplace in Poland. The locomotive was taking on water. People from the train yelled for water. Suddenly there was a commotion outside. There were loud commands in German and dogs were barking and growling. Then our door slid open and an SS guard with a cane in his hand ordered one man with the water can to get off. Others hesitated so I grabbed the can and jumped off. The SS guard immediately swiped at me with his cane, cursing and hitting me all the way to the water spout from from which the water was gushing out,