Oral History

Abraham Lewent recalls how, while ill with typhoid, he persuaded the Skarzysko doctor that he was fit to work

Like other Jews, the Lewents were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, as Abraham hid in a crawl space, the Germans seized his mother and sisters in a raid. They perished. He was deployed for forced labor nearby, but escaped to return to his father in the ghetto. In 1943, the two were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. US troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners.


I came from work, I lay down. One guy came over to me and says, "You have a high fever. You burning up." I didn't know what it is. He says to me, "Why don't you go in...in the...into the hospital." It was not a hospital. It was like a...a pigsty. People were laying on straw. I walked in inside. There's a doctor (cough). He used to be a doctor before the war, but here he didn't practice doctor. And he looked at me, he says to me, "You got yphoid" (sigh). He laid me right down. He didn't let me go back in the barracks. But I know that every third day a truck came to that thing and cleaned them, all the people out, and take them out. Because they have no medicine to heal typhoid. I was laying about two days and my fever must have dropped. And I didn't eat. I didn't...they didn't give me anything for two days. The third day I got up and I was dizzy and I said to the doctor, "I feel alright. I'm gonna go back to work." He says to me, "What do you mean you're gonna go back to work? You can't even walk on your feet." And he started to laugh, you know, like, "Who cares?" I says, "I feel good. I like to go back to work." He says to me, "You know what? You see that long table staying here?" Table about twelve feet long, maybe more. "If you can walk around that table three times and you not gonna fell down, I let you walk out." You know. And do you think I didn't do it? I walked around three times, and I walked out. And he told me, "You can go back in your barracks."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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