Home

See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada

Before the War
The Holocaust
Liberation
Displaced Persons Camps
Where Can We Go?
The Journey
Welcome to Canada
New Lives
Canadian Immigration Overview
III. The Concentration Camps
My living quarters were Block 18A, and there was a kapo who looked-after the barracks. I was issued striped clothing, a spoon and a plate. That's it. In the morning my work detail received coffee and the daily rations since we would not be back in the camp until evening. Everyday we would be marched from the camp to work, and from work back to the camp, always under close watch. Sometimes we went by the gas chambers. You could smell the crematoria. Sometimes they had to burn bodies in open pits. There were gallows in front of my block. I remember when they hung some people who had escaped. We had to stand until three in the morning watching the hanging.

At first I didn't know what happened to the rest of my family. It was from other prisoners who had been in the camp a while that I learned about their fate. It was a terrible experience, especially for a young person like myself who had never experienced anything like this before. I had always been at home and had had a good childhood and everything else. I was very young, one of the youngest who survived out of there. Not many my age survived there.    
more... »    
Kapo
Leaders of a block or barrack, or others who helped with the operation of a concentration camp in return for more rations or other privileges. The term may have been coined by Italian prisoners in Dachau from the Latin word capo for head.
Crematorium / crematoria
Building at concentration camps that housed the ovens that burned the bodies of murdered inmates.
Leslie's Map
I. Childhood in Hungary
II. Into the Ghetto
III. The Concentration Camps
IV. At Liberation
V. Refugee Life
VI. A Home in Canada
VII. Reflections
Gas chamber
Sealed rooms in extermination camps and some concentration camps, often masked to look like shower or delousing facilities. Prisoners were crowded into the chambers where poison gas or carbon monoxide was released. Zyklon B was used at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek. Most of the other killing centres used carbon monoxide. After gassing victims' bodies were cremated or buried in mass graves.