The Prison Uniform by Sergio Pavon

QCC Student Sergio Pavon writes from the perspective of an actual prison uniform worn by Walter Loebner:

I was but a simple garment worn by Jewish men, women and children whom were imprisoned in the death camps that the Nazis utilized during the final solution. Solution to what? What is the Jewish question this so called Furher said needed to be answered? Why was I, a part of this? What was my purpose? I am merely a set of clothes with white and blue stripes from top to bottom, along with my hat who matched me also. I can only remember the cries of these people who were called Juden by these men with menacing military uniform with rifles slung over their shoulders. Wait what is this on me? A star? two triangles making a star, one up right the other up-side down, I remembered this was the star of David, a symbol used to identify these so called ‘Jews’ or ‘bad people’. Why were they bad? They are all human but what do I know? I am just a piece of cloth that was worn by these people, yet I feel almost as human as them, I felt their suffering, pain, agony, misfortune. Yet I am not alone in this museum, other objects also reside here with me some are milk cans, old diaries, toys from children but I feel the most human of them all. I have a story to tell also, it’s a story of survival of not just the man but me, who through my wear and tear can tell anyone I went through hell along with my ‘owner’.

I was given off from a tall German officer who said ‘hier’ in his sharp German tongue, I now belonged to a man named Walter Loebner. From what I hear he is quite a well man, educated since he is a Surgeon, but why was he here? I wish I could ask him but later on I heard him talk about where he came and why he was here with me an all of these other men who were musicians, shopkeepers, salesmen, carpenters, from all walks of life. I myself this piece of cloth have ears yet it doesn’t seem to be true but it is. Sir Loebner was saying how he never liked the fascist regime that this man Adolf Hitler imposed onto Germany, many people supported him seeing as how he is able to do this to me and everyone else. He keeps telling me about his story, and how he will survive but not just him I hear the same question form all of the prisoners here in the Prison. As time went one I kept getting dirty, when one’s clothes gets dirty one cleans them right? But Sir Loebner didn’t wash me, now that I noticed it no one else was washing their clothes, not even that the prisoners themselves haven’t bathe in so long. The condition of the camp was not good at all, no matter what I always saw me being worn no other clothing was approved to be worn. No matter how cold it gets I was the only thing to keep the prisoners warm, or no matter how hot I always was worn.

My owner and I have been in Auschwitz since October 1942, but on January 18th 1945 my owner and I were sent on this march to another camp. But not just us all the other prisoners also, all I can remember was hearing the Germans saying how the Russians were coming. Little by little on the march, the Germans executed the prisoners just for fun, how is that fun? I see the fear in this men seeing their brothers, uncles, fathers die of starvation and of overwork and to


those who survived they have to fear being shot? This isn’t fair but I cannot say anything to stop this, but mark my words and physical appearance I will show the world what atrocities were committed.

We finally reached this camp in Western Poland named Gross-Rosen. I cannot believe my owner and I have survived so long, I am covered in dirt and blood from the other prisoners yet my owner cannot do anything about this or else he dies. All this talk of the advancing Red Army strikes fear into even the most fiercest German soldier out there, apparently hell has nothing compared to the Eastern front of this war. My time in Gross-Rosen was short lived being here for four short days, I and my owner was then put on a train, the same one my owner said he was in when he went to Auschwitz. We then arrived at another camp in Germany named Dora-Mittelbau. By this time most of the prisoners have been killed either by the hands of these Nazis killers, or starvation or overworking too much, I hoped this war ends soon I cannot stand seeing my owner suffer so much for something he hasn’t done.

Later on in April of 1945 we went to another camp near Berlin the capital of Germany called Oranienburg, the 21st of this month my owner kept talking and thinking to himself about hiding in the nearby woods. I want him to hide so we can survive and tell our stories. It’s been a week since my owner escaped from the prison with only me on his back, wait who is that? It looks like a soldier but this one’s different. I can feel my owner’s heart beating so fast I can tell he is anxious and worried, of course who wouldn’t be? I hope we haven’t been found because if we did then it’s all over for me and him. I have been extremely dirty full of dirt and bugs and blood all over which at first showed this men we weren’t part of the regular German army or anything German, they looked confused when they pointed their guns at us. My owner explained to them how he was a prisoner, they were shocked to find us all alone in the wild with no food for a week. They called themselves the ‘Red Army’ the same guys the Germans feared for some time already, they were nice well compared to the Germans of course.

All I can remember from them was how they pointed at this star I had on my stitches, my owner explained to them how everyone was at the camp and were all Jewish and other ‘inferior’ races the Nazis wanted to eliminate. Sometime later my owner got word that the Russians (Red Army) had captured the Reichstag, causing the war to finally end. All I can hear my owner say is “Yes, finally this war is over. The suffering ends for everyone.” But I then hear these audio tapes in the museum saying how six million Jews were killed during the time of the war, I guess my owner was lucky and I too was lucky enough not to get ditched or be completely destroyed, I can finally tell and show my story as evidence as my owner gives his. I a simple prison garb have never been so meaningful despite being labeled as a prisoner outfit, none of these I’ve met were evil or cruel or a criminal, only criminals wear clothes like this but I found out. Being a Jew was a crime, and I criminal for being worn? Or a criminal for not being able to stop this atrocity?