Oral History

Saul Ingber describes forced labor and brutality in the Gusen subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp

Saul grew up in a religious Jewish family. He was trained as a tailor. In 1939 he was sent to forced labor along with most of the young men of his town. He worked in many different labor camps before being deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp system in 1944. While working there, Saul's hand was broken by an SS guard. He eventually ended up in the hospital in the Dachau camp. He was liberated by US troops in May 1945. After the war he returned to his hometown and was reunited with his sister. They lived in a displaced persons camp in Austria, where Saul met and married his wife, Miriam. Saul, his wife, and their two children settled in the United States in 1957.

Transcript

We was digging, digging other, other, making Schuetzengraben, I don't know how they say, uh, trenches. And between us were, uh, a German. He had a very bad habit. He were a, had a, a habit, he used to go to pick up somebody and take him out and beat him for no reasons. And, uh, too one time I fall, I fall in his category, and working so in the Schuetzengraben he, he start screaming, "Hey, you there, stinker, you there, come here," uh, you know. When I approached him, you know, and he took me on the side, this wall, you know, on uh, on the side from the house, we was in the back, you know, where the bombs had falled, and we, we worked. And he, he put me, me near the, near the wall, my...myself. And he come to me and he asked me, you know, in a nice way, nice talking, and then he come and he lift up mine chin. When he lift up mine chin, he said to me in, uh, his words in German but I, because I speak Yiddish I understood the German, he said, "Where is your God?" And I raised my right hand--I remember it exactly--I raised my right hand...and face it to the sky. As soon as I lift up my hand to the sky, he pushed me to my stomach. He give me such a punch, because I was near the wall, I was thinking I'll faint, and, and then he raised again my chin, you know, and he asked me again, and, uh, again I raised my hand and I told, "That's my God. I believe in Him." And he knocked me, but now, he knocked me again...he knocked me in the front in mine nose. I have a broken nose and he knocked those, mine first three teeth what I have up to today false teeth, he broke them, I took out my teeth and threw them away in the front of him, and I was bleeding, very much. And that, the same minute, when I took out mine teeth, he asked me again, something come in my mind. It's like announced from God and I say, when he asked me, "Who's your God?" I say, "You my God." I point with the finger and with the same hand, with the right hand what I point to God, I point to him and I say, "You mine God," and he asked me, "How come I'm your God?" I said, "When you don't beat me, you mine God."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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