Arrival and Selection at Auschwitz-Birkenau II

A survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau expressed her remembrance of the selection process at Auschwitz: “We needed to show that we still had strength left, to, whether it was to work or to live another day. I recall some women…they were beginning to get gray hair, and they would go and take a little piece of coal from one of the pot-bellied stoves that was in a barrack. And they would use this coal to color their hair with so that they would look a little younger. I mean one grayed at the age of maybe eighteen or nineteen under those conditions. And they would run…we would run in front of whoever it was that was doing the selections to show that we could survive one other day. If one had a scar, a pimple, if one didn’t run fast enough, if one didn’t look right for whatever reason to the particular person that was doing the selection—they would stand there with a stick, to the right or to the left, as you ran by them. One never knew if they were in the good line or the bad line. One line would go to the gas chambers, the other line would go back to the camp and to the barracks to live another day.” – Helen Goldkind (survivor)

arrival at auschwitz ii
Arrival and Selection at Auschwitz II. (Oil paiting).