Mrs. Molly Joseph (Part IV)

As told to Mrs. Chaya Feigy Grossman

Please describe ghetto life.

There were two brick factories in Munkatch which they turned into ghettos. They were known as the Kalish ghetto and the Shayowitz ghetto. We were sent to the Kalish ghetto. We were not given too much to eat.

The work we were given was to carry bricks from one end of the factory to the other all day long, just for the sake of torturing us.

Tell us about your arrival in Auschwitz.

Right before Shavuos, we were loaded into cattle cars and taken to Auschwitz. It was summer, it was hot, the children were crying and screaming. The situation was as inhumane as one could possibly imagine. We traveled for three days. We weren’t given any food or water.

We arrived in Auschwitz and were greeted by Dr. Mengele. Quickly, quickly, we were divided up. To the right, to the left, to the right, to the left. Before I knew it, my father and brother were sent in one direction and I, together with one sister, was sent in the other.

We were instructed to undress completely. They shaved all our hair. Each person was given a gray dress and a pair of underwear. We practically didn’t recognize each other. I noticed someone wearing my sister’s shoes and I realized that this must be my sister.

We were placed in a barrack of 1,500 people. We were assigned beds that looked like bookshelves, stacked three stories high, and this is how we slept. There were 18 girls from my hometown.

Twice a day we would gather for Tzeil Appel, to be counted. We lined up five in a row. I was always in the first line because I was big and strong. My sister, who was a sickly girl, came next. I had a cousin and an aunt and a friend all in line together with me.

One day at tzeil appel, numbers were distributed to all but three hundred and fifty people. I was among those three hundred and fifty. We were going to be shipped to the Auschwitz gas chambers.

We joined other girls who were going to be sent to the gas chambers, totaling about two thousand girls. There were Polish girls and Slovakian girls as well. We were sent to the bathrooms, but before we were given a chance to even use the bathrooms, they were whipping us to getout.

We were given a pot of soup. Fifteen, twenty girls were supposed to drink from this one pot. No bowls, no spoons, we lived like animals.

One day, they call tzeil appel in the middle of the day. We knew that this was quite unusual and understood that our turn had finally arrived. Dr. Mengele came and examined each girl. We were taken to an unspecified area and commanded to undress completely — it wasn’t too difficult because we weren’t wearing much. This went on for three days. They took our blood pressure and re-examined us. We were then put onto a transport. We weren’t sure where we were going, but we soon found out. We were divided up. Some girls were taken to an ammunition factory, and we were taken to build a railroad. We had to cut down the trees and even cut out the roots. Then we evened out the tracks and filled the wagons. My sister was too weak to do all this work. But I tried to help her.

We worked there for quite some time. When the war planes came close they would command us to go into the woods and hide. They didn’t want the Russian and American armies to notice us.

The only thing that we knew for sure was about a sign that read arbeit macht dus leiben zeese. We learned quickly what that meant. We came upon piles and piles of human bones. We learned later that they were used to make soap with.

One day they took us for a walk. The walk lasted for six weeks. It is known to all as the Death March.

to be continued


These survivors’ memoirs are being compiled by Project Witness.