After emptying the cement bags, we were supposed to bring them back down to an empty hut. One day it was extremely windy and cold and I did not think about what the consequence would be. Instead of bringing the empty bag back down to the hut, I wrapped it around my body to keep me warm. We also used the empty bags as toilet paper; the cement ate away at our flesh.
One day I decided to hide in one of the huts. Of course it did not take long before I was discovered. The first thing they did was to pick up my cap, and of course they immediately saw the mark. The German officer said, “Now you will march back to camp, but that is the last march you ever will march — you are finished!” He was enjoying himself immensely. I said Shema, I said Viduy, I knew that it was over. I don’t remember exactly why, but for some reason, although he was a rotzei’ach and SS, he had rachmanus, he did not kill me. Instead, I received severe punishments.
In Mildorf there weren’t any hospitals. Sick people who couldn’t work were eliminated, either with a bullet or in the gas chambers. I was run down and weak. There was one doctor for seven or eight thousand people. The doctor, Dr. Greenberg, happened to be from Dubova. Since I knew him, I approached him in this weak state I was in, ready to give up. Sick people were given passes to rest in the shonung — open pits. One could stay there for a few days. If he recuperated, fine, but if not, he was sent to the gas chambers. Dr. Greenberg gave me permission to remain in the shonung for two weeks.
After two or three days of lying in the shonung, I noticed a delegation consisting of an SS doctor (they were the worst!), an SS officer and the lagerschreiber. The lagerschreiber was a man by the name of Eisner; he was a Jewish prisoner from Pressburg, who knew German. They were approaching fast. The schreiber came straight to me, grabbed me by the collar and said, “You’re not sick! What are you doing here?” I tried to explain to him that Dr. Greenberg had given me permission. I tried very hard to convince him. I pleaded, I begged, all in vain. He wouldn’t hear of it. I had to get out and go back to work. The next day I saw that they had emptied the pit and everyone was taken to the gas chambers. I didn’t realize at the time that this man actually saved my life.
In addition, he saw that the work was too hard for me and assigned me a better job than I originally had. The Germans had a warehouse a little further down, past the concentration camps. From this warehouse they distributed the food. He sent me on a truck that delivered bread (sawdust would be more accurate) from this warehouse; this gave me the opportunity to steal some extra bread crumbs. In this warehouse there was a kitchen where they cooked for the SS officers. Here I was able to get hold of some bones that were left over and thrown to the dogs. I sucked on these bones until they were bare; I had such a good taste in my mouth. Then he transferred me to another job in a potato field. Here again I was able to steal some potatoes. However, on the way back into the camp the guards would examine each worker to make sure they were not hiding any potatoes.
I had a friend, Yankel, who came from the city of Lodz. He resembled me very much. We agreed to help each other get the potatoes into the barracks and then we shared them.