The deportees' huts and hygiene

The deportees' huts

"We had to go to bed and sleep. 'Three per bed' was the order… Men pushed, argued, grouped together by nationality. You kicked out any intruder wanting to use you as a mattress while you yourself were not too uncomfortable with the back of a sleeping pal. So it was three to a bed… It's possible. You could sometimes sleep very well. Let's say it is 9.30. Everyone is in a heap trying to get to sleep; the air is unbreathable on the third level, while those on near the floor are freezing… Loud snoring keeps the light sleepers awake…And the battle begins. The battle of humans under attack… We scratched vigorously and all the time to dislodge the lice, fleas and cockroaches, over-friendly vermin that we carried around with us in their hundreds."

Jacques SONGY, French deportee.


"We used to go (…) to the wash-basins (…). The head of the Block forced us all to wash ourselves wearing just trousers. The water was freezing, and anyone getting too slowly to the wash-basins was immediately bludgeoned (…) We were 140 men [in the block] and it was physically impossible for all of us to wash at the same time".

René FERON, a French deportee, member of the Front National movement, arrested in November 1942, imprisoned in Fresnes prison, then transferred to Romainville. He was deported as an NN prisoner to the Natzweiler-Struthof camp in the convoy of 15 July 1943. In January 1944 he was transfrred to the annex camp at Lichterfelde which took its orders from the KL-Oranienburg.