Mr. Shlomo Miller (Part xiv)

Can you describe the food rations you received and the sleeping accommodations?

It is impossible to describe what hunger pains are, what lice pains are, what concentration camp pains are. My answer to people who ask me to describe the pain is as follows: “For those people who were there, there is no need to describe it. It was a gehinnom on earth. For those that did not experience it firsthand, there aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe the pain.”

There were two philosophies as to what should be done with our “fortune.” Our “fortune” consisted of black coffee that had no taste, but at least it was warm water; a slice of bread and a piece of liverwurst, which (consisted of) horse meat taken from horses that had died. For lunch and then again in the evening we received a (bowl) of soup.

There were three people by the name of Rosenfeld from the town of Nagyshallow. Their attitude was: “Save for tomorrow.” They amassed their food and they always carried some of it with them. (As an aside: since the Germans associated these Rosenfeld brothers with President Roosevelt, they were happy to report that he had died. That was the only piece of news that filtered through the whole time.)

I did not want to have to worry all night about whether or not my bread was going to be stolen, so my philosophy was: “Eat it now.” Whatever I ate definitely couldn’t be stolen. My thought was: “I will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”

Somehow I was privileged to sleep in the barrack of the blockelteste where the accommodations were a little bit better. The blockelteste was a non-religious Jew. In the middle of the night we heard some noise. Someone had come in, in search of food. A Polish Jew by the name of Moishele got his hands on this poor bachur who was trying to steal some food (in order to) survive. He beat him to no end. Although I knew that this bachur had committed a crime, I just couldn’t watch the sight of him being beaten and I pleaded with Moishele to stop. Because I mixed myself into this fight, I lost my status to sleep in the barrack of the blockelteste. From then on I had to sleep in a pit in the earth like everyone else.

There were some people who were smart enough or daring enough to hide some jewelry. A boy who learned in the Klausenburger yeshivah, Moishe Goldstein, was able to hide a Napoleon, which was a rare gold coin. He was in Block 4 and he gave it to the lagerelteste, Leon. In return he received privileges, including extra bread and soup.