Oral History

Ruth Meyerowitz describes her memories of the Auschwitz crematoria

In Frankfurt, Ruth's family faced intensifying anti-Jewish measures; her father's business was taken over and Ruth's Jewish school was closed. In April 1943, Ruth and her family were deported to Auschwitz. Ruth was selected for forced labor and assigned to work on road repairs. She also worked in the "Kanada" unit, sorting possessions brought into the camp. In November 1944, Ruth was transferred to the Ravensbrueck camp system, in Germany. She was liberated in May 1945, during a death march from the Malchow camp.



The crematorium was just a uh few minutes away. We could see the chimneys from uh...uh wherever we were and of course we could smell the uh first the gas when it was left...let out from uh the gas chambers, and, and then we could smell the burning of the bodies, the human flesh burning. And then they cleared the grates and we could hear the grates uh being cleaned, and it's similar to what your own oven would be like when you move the grates around except in a much, it was much noisier that we could hear it all the way in the barracks. And, uh, to this day when I clean my own oven, I am reminded of that noise of the cleaning of the grates in the crematorium.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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