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USF Libraries Exhibits

Life in Auschwitz

Eva Schloss, Holocaust Survivor

Well, the fear that we would be killed any day. So this was with us really all -- every minute of the day and night. "Are we going to be selected to be killed?" because this is something which happened continuously in the camp.

Certain groups, certain work commandos -- they were called commandos -- where, instead of going to work one morning, marched straight to the gas chambers. We had once a week a shower, and it was in a shower block, and those blocks looked from the outside the same as the gas chamber blocks. And there were many all over the camps, and you didn't go always to the same one; you went to different ones. And so when you marched there, you never knew where you were going to go and where you're going in the next hour or you're going to be killed. So this was always with us. So this fear was the worst terrible thing.

And the second terrible thing was that we were so hungry that we were nearly driven out of our mind. We were very underfed, because we got a very monotonous diet; you know, there was never any sugar or milk or meat, so things which your body really needs, or vitamins. So it was just a basic diet of sort of a tea, and some kind of a bread; it might have been even sawdust in it. It was very difficult to eat and to digest. And this was basically all the food. Occasionally we got some kind of a soup, probably cooked from some leftovers and rotten vegetables and things. But you know, the food -- lack of food nearly drove us mad.