AuschwitzPage 1234 BirkenauPage 123 Other Plaszów

<< Back
Next >>

"Something happened one day that I'll never forget. One of the young girls who was in the group, one of the ten of us, just stood up on that little stool that was around and sang her song, at which time the Kapo came and gave her a big slap in the face. The young girl just flew off this little stool. We were just horrified! Here they seemed to have enjoyed this session. And she, the Kapo, said, "Where do you think you are, in a resort place? This is a death camp! You see the smoke stack over there? That's where your loved ones have been gassed and burned and the smoke is the smoke from their bodies!"

"We just stared at her. We just couldn't believe what she was saying. How cruel she is! There's no such a thing in our minds, we just couldn't understand that there would be such a thing. Slowly the realization came came to us about all of these little bits of information that some of the old timers were trying to tell us. We thought it was because they were jealous of us, because we had just came from home four weeks before and we still looked quite good, even though we thought we were filthy. It turned out that they were trying to gently break the news to us that this is a death camp, this is a death factory. Indeed our families had been gassed and cremated. The smoke in those chimneys were our families' smoke. This was one of the things that set us back. Obviously we didn't sing after that."
The testimony of Gloria Hollander Lyon - Czechoslovakian survivor of 7 camps including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Beendorf and Ravensbrück. Used with kind permission of The Oral History Archives Project