The next day my left arm was tattooed with the prisoner number A-12373. Then the Germans asked if anyone was a cabinetmaker, and I raised my hand. That was my very first act of preservation. I should have stayed with my brothers. I should have looked after them, especially my older brother, who was a scholar and had never done any physical labour in his life. This was the last time I saw my brothers. They never made it.
I was totally by myself. I had nobody no family or friends. Every morning I would get up and wash in cold water. It was very important to be neat. I used to put my trousers under my mattress so they were nicely pressed. You had to appear to be in good shape in order to survive. Everyone was given one dish, in which we were given all our food. The dish had a hole in it and you would hang it with a piece of string from your belt. And if you lost it, where were you going to get another plate? You would be lost.