Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997


What, what did you think when that happened?

Nothing. And one, and then, about three days before we got uh, uh, liberated, somebody opened up the uh, the cars, the railroad cars and said, "You're free," so we started walking, you know. About two hours later they hear, you hear shooting and yelling and screaming. Well, they rounded us back up, put us back on the train. A lot of people got killed then too. I g...then later we found out that the uh, Wehrmacht uh, capitulated and the uh, SS didn't, didn't uh, give up yet, so the SS came back and they rounded us up and...

So this was May.

Oh yeah. This, let's see. We, when did we get, May 5, May 5, so this must have been about May the second.

So they put you back on the train where...

Back on the train.

Where were you this time?

I don't think we uh, pardon?

Where were you at this time? Do you know where?

Someplace in a field. I found a, a, a field with some rhubarb and I ate that. It was good. It was nice and sour you know and filled you up. So, for about an hour. And then we got back on a train. But then we got some water already, you know, we, we were and I think by then we knew that things are gonna start to happen.

When the train was going back and forth or was it even stopped, did you see any civilians anywhere?

We couldn't, I was, I was too short to, to look out there anyway. You know, that, that, that window is way up high. I don't think we saw too many civilians. I know I saw, one time, I don't know how we got out of the train. I think they were strafing us and we got out of the train and when we came back, we saw uh, a German soldier, one of the guards got hit in the head and he was laying down bleeding, you know, his blood was running into the gutter. He got killed from the uh, uh, plane machine guns.

Do you remember how you felt when you saw that?


So three days later what happened?

We were stopped and we saw the first, we saw a jeep. We saw a jeep come up with a white star and a black soldier. There was more, but this black soldier jumped out of the jeep and I grabbed him and I showed him, see, we couldn't get rid of the dead, so they had a coal car, an open car, high, high uh, uh, walls and they were puttin' all the dead bodies into there. And that car was almost full when I, he climbed up on the ladder and looked in there. And his eyes were like this. He, I guess he'd never seen so many dead bodies at one time. And said something, I didn't know what. I couldn't understand. But then we were free. We just went wherever we wanted to.

Had you ever seen a black man before?

No. That was the first black man I ever saw.

What did you think was happening?

Well we knew we were liberated.

And where were you then?

In Seeshaupt.

This town of Seeshaupt, which is near Munich.

Eh, yes, it's uh, yeah. Mm-hm. Probably about forty-five, fifty kilometers from Munich.

What did it mean to be free? I mean did you just leave the train and wander around?


Looking for food?


And did you find any?

Uh, yes. We'd uh, see a chicken, we'd kill it, start a fire and, or whatever we found, you know. Uh, then the uh, American soldiers threw food at us. They gave us cans, the C-rations? So we built a fire outside naturally and st... and tried to heat it up, but we didn't open it. You know they had those keys? You ever see those C-rations? The key is on it and you, you, you peel it off and you open it. Well, we, we didn't uh, open it. And they explode.

Did anyone get sick from the food?

Oh yeah. A lot of people died after the war, from overeating.

And in your group?

Yeah. Yeah.

Did you see them die?

Sure. Well by then already they took 'em to hospitals and stuff. That was after the war already, yeah. A lot of 'em died.

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