"When we arrived in Auschwitz, it was four in the morning and we piled out of cattle cars. There were big empty barrels and we had to throw in watches, rings, anything we were saving. They searched the mouth, the rectum, to see maybe you were hiding something . . . . The work we did was unnecessary, just to make us crazy. 'Take your coat off, put it on backwards, put rocks in the pockets, walk three miles.' We were hungry, dirty, used coffee to wash our faces. Lice was eating us alive. The Germans said, 'If I kill 15 Jews I get a surplus of five kilos of sugar.' We were animals on the floor."
--Leo Cwilich, 68, semiretired furrier in Cincinnati. Born in Lodz, Poland; imprisoned at Auschwitz.
"At 12 o'clock noon one day we lined up to get hot water to warm up. It was our soup. We lined up to the cans of soup. This German copa term for German camp guard, often a common criminal , this short fella, he maybe a gangster or something in Germany, he takes these cans of soup and starts spilling them. He says being that we didn't work, we didn't deserve it. I had my pick in my hands and I jump out of line. I grab him and before I was going to hit him I said, 'German officers have the right to do this. You don't have right.' The German commandant rode up on his horse then. He slapped me in the face with his gloves. He said, 'You got saved by saying a German officer can do it.' "
--Joseph Gordon, 57, Silver Spring businessman. Born in Lithuania; imprisoned in Auschwitz and Muldorf.
"I was picked out by Dr. Josef Mengele, along with about 200 other children. We were sent to Birkenau Camp D, where the experiments were. I was experimented twice through injections and twice with chemicals. We were children, we didn't know what the drugs were. It made you very sick, make you vomit. I was passed out eight hours, I think. Some of the children died."
--Alex Dekel, 51, of New York, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society worker. Born in Cluj, Romania; sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau when he was 12.
"Every once in a while an international delegation from the Red Cross would come in to camp . When the Nazis knew they were coming, they would give out linens for the beds. They gave the inmates new uniforms and hid the sick and emaciated. We all wore wooden shoes that killed your feet, but when the delegation was coming, they gave out leather shoes. When the delegation left, you had to give them back. They told people if they said anything about camp conditions to the Red Cross, they would be killed the next day. So when someone asked, 'How are they treating you?' the inmates would say, 'Fine.' And when they asked 'How's the work?' they would say, 'Satisfactory.' "
--Fred Diament, 59, Los Angeles garment manufacturer. Born in Gelsenkirchen-Buer, Germany; imprisoned at Sachsenhausen.