Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Mühldorf III

And how long were you at Mühldorf?

'Til the end, 'til May uh, probably another three months, four months, or something like that.

Were you con...thinking about survival at this point?

We were always thinking about survival. You don't wanna die. You don't much care, let's put it that way, but, you, you try and do the best to survive. You'll steal, you'll rob, you'll do anything to and you don't want to go through the pain of starving to death.

So a, a bullet would be better?

Oh yeah, definitely. It's quick, probably painless. The bullet uh, travels faster than the sound, so you don't even hear it. If it hits you in the right spot you're dead before you know it.

But starvation was...

Yeah, that's tough.

And what about news of the war. Did you hear any news of the war?

Nah. Uh, well we knew it was close to the end, because they used to bomb the heck out the uh, uh, Mühldorf is a big uh, uh, railroad uh, uh, crossing. I guess it's a big, a lot of railroad cross there. And every day they used to come and bomb. And on the other side of our uh, you know, on one side there was this uh, uh, Russian prisoner-of-war camp and on the other side of the fence was a, a small air field. And the American planes used to, I guess, yeah, they must have been Americans, because they had the white uh, star. They used to come down, almost land on the wheels, run on the wheels and, and uh, machine-gun the uh, the uh, airplanes that was sittin' there. And then they took off again. So they didn't have any uh, once in a while you heard some uh, anti-aircraft uh, go off, but very seldom. In Mühldorf they used to come almost every day at noon. We used to love it, used to enjoy just watch 'em come, come around and they'd dive bomb.

You weren't worried that they were going to bomb you?

No. Nah. First of all the, the, the guards used to hide and we, we didn't have to work. We were free. Then when they, they bombed that uh, uh, uh, railroad crossing, so they had a lot of uh, loaded uh, some, some of the trains, well, there were, the trains were loaded. Some of them had food. Well, they, they took us to work and to repair the uh, the uh, uh, tracks. And we, we found a lot of food th...there from the, you know, from the bombed out uh, cars and stuff.

Was food the central thing...

That was the thing. Nothing else mattered. If you had a, if you were in the camp, you had a decent supply of food, you were in a good camp.

So, and Mühldorf was a decent camp?

We got lucky. I didn't have to go to work in the uh, uh, its underground factory. I worked uh, like I told you in this uh, cloister, in this uh, I think it was a hospital with, with it was like and it was taken care of by nuns. And my father was in this uh, potato uh, uh, detail, where they were digging up the potatoes from, you know, the stored, stored potatoes for the winter. So he'd come home with a f...couple potatoes, I'd ,uh, bring home something, you know and it wasn't, Mühldorf wasn't too bad for us. Because we got lucky to get a decent work detail.

And what happened after Mühldorf?

That was it. We got on the, then they put us on trains and God I don't know how many days we were on that train. A long time. But uh, we wound up in uh, Seeshaupt.

Well, what was that train like?

Terrible. Started out 150 of us in, in, in each car, standing up. You, you couldn't even take a deep breath, because one on top of the other. After about three days I think there were thirty-five of us left. We had plenty o' room to lay down. We put the dead bodies down and we laid down on 'em to have some cushioning. Not they were that soft, they were nothing but bones, but a lot of 'em got killed too through uh, from the uh, strafing. See, at one time we were stopped on the railroad, on the, on the train and on the other uh, track there was another train going the other way. Our car was face...was right next to their loco...locomotive. And what they tried to do is hit the locomotive, knock out the trains. And uh, I guess they were strafing the locomotive and a couple of stray bullets came into our car. I was standing up talking to a kid and when we heard them shooting we dropped down to the floor and after the plane went through I tried to wake him up. He caught a bullet in the back of his head. I think that might have been already in Seeshaupt, because we just kept going back and forth. We didn't go anywhere.

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