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A British Holocaust survivor says: Auschwitz concentration camp left me so “de-humanized”

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 06:45 GMT, May 14, 2015 |
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A British Holocaust survivor yesterday (Wednesday) told a German court how her time in Auschwitz left her so “de-humanized” she couldn’t even cry when she learnt of her mother’s death in the gas chambers. Susan Pollack was giving evidence in the trial of Oskar Gröning, a former SS guard known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”. “Terror seized my soul when we arrived at Auschwitz,” the 84-year-old Mrs Pollack told the court.

She described how she was separated from her mother and brother on arrival at the concentration camp, and sent to a section where Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor known as the “Angel of Death”, chose prisoners to experiment on. The then 13-year-old Mrs Pollack was made to parade naked in front of Mengele each day with hundreds of other girls.

“He had a stick in his hand and was using it to say you would go this way or that way,” she said. “I knew by then that one way led to a gas chamber, and that my mother had been gassed on arrival. But I wasn’t crying. All normal and natural feelings had left me.

“We were dehumanised completely. I just wanted to recede into myself and not be seen. That was my experience in Auschwitz.” Pausing at times to hold back her tears, Mrs Pollack gave around an hour of harrowing testimony to the trial.