Gripping Testimonies

Holocaust survivors tell stories that speak of human courage


The huge complex of Auschwitz was set on fire, including the building which housed the sick and dying. Russians were coming and evidence of atrocities were being destroyed.
Relatively few of us wonder when we see photos or news reels of survivors being liberated at camps, what happened to the people in the camps which were on fire. What happened to them?
Steven Spielberg, in his documentary, Broken Silence, Voices from the Past, and the soon-to-be-released International Tracing Society book, tell us about Death Marches, in which people from the camps being burned were hustled down the road and through villages, dropping dead along the way, the SS guards disappearing, too, into the unknown.
In Spielberg’s film, one story told by an amazing woman, relates, “We were marched to trains and when the train stopped in the middle of a rural area and rockets were being fired overhead fired by Russians and Germans. the train doors opened and as many of us who could ran into the fields. I ran to a farm house in the distance. No one was there. The rockets destroyed all the rooms in the house except the one in which I was standing.”
The horrors of the camps and the Death Marches are, in the words of survivors, “incomprehensible,” and “You had to have been there to understand what happened.”
Survivors cried as they talked, one man in particular who had been a Jewish camp guard, as he described taking the standing dead out of the gas chambers to the crematoriums.
Another man told his incredible story. “I escaped many times from the ghetto in Warsaw to seek sanctuary with a Polish friend on the Aryan side, but I soon learned that the Aryan side had more terror, so I always went back to the ghetto where it was more peaceful.”
That man also escaped from a train heading to Auschwitz through a hole in the wood floor as the train was moving. Where did he go when he escaped that time? Back once again to his Polish friend’s house in Warsaw.
Shots of young people listening to survivors tell their stories were captured by Spielberg and used between segments. These were a portion of the young people who come every every year to Auschwitz to honor the dead.
Broken Silence is not to be missed.

Author: lebensbornnovel

There at the base of a mountain, I live in a rustic cabin with my engineer/writer husband and loving cat, Alfie. I am a former journalist and pr consultant. In my blog I attempt to capture a sliver of WW history, the Lebensborn program to create a Master Race, and to add newsworthy tidbits which are 'somewhat' relevant to this subject.

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