Reporting Susie Jones
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mary Neuman still has nightmares about living in Auschwitz.
“In one minute you can be dead, and in one minutes you can be sent to the gas chambers…it was unpredictable,” she said.
She was 15 or 16 when she was taken to the camp. Her arm still bears the tattoo she was given at the camp (pictured below).
“We slept five of us to a cot,” she said.
She remembers the knock at the door early in the morning.
“Aufstehen aufstehen, which means get up, get up,” she said.
Neuman described the conditions.
“It was cold, it was muddy, we didn’t have clothes,” she said.
Every night, there are nightmares.
“I wake up in a sweat,” she said.
Neuman remembers living in Poland and the time when Germany invaded. She said they were hiding at a farmer’s house, and she had dressed up like a peasant and went to the village.
She had a little money, and loved ice cream, and had stopped to buy some.
She noticed a Ukrainian soldier watching her, and tried to get away.
“‘You are Jewish, and I know you from school.’ And I said, You must be mistaken. He said, Where are your papers? And of course I didn’t have papers,” she said.
She was then taken to Auschwitz.
Neuman remembers one time that she and six other girls were working, and starving, when they saw a farmer come in with a load of cabbage. She says they decided to steal a cabbage, and hide it in their bucket.
“A loud voice coming from the front, ‘Stop’ it was Josef Mengele,” Neuman said.
He demanded to know who had stolen the cabbage.
“And I just closed my eyes, because I didn’t want to see how he was going to shoot me. Instead, he slapped my face and said, ‘Get away,’” Neuman said.
She recalls it was a good day for her.
Neuman is shocked to hear news of a possible Nazi commander living in Northeast Minneapolis.
“Furious,” she said. “I can not understand that they were allowed to have such a wonderful chance in life.”