Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Deportation to Mauthausen

Okay, so...

I tried to change my portion, whatever I had for potatoes. So, get your belonging and start marching. Start marching, marching. During the night we... During the night when we march we knew that the Russians are real close because we seen the cannon fires. In the night you could see the lights and going, you know, in the evening in the dark. But we march, march, we march all night. And all... In the next morning, we are already in Austria. And I would say about five, between five and ten thousand people were marching. Because they took all these people who were, who were stationed in that city and the surrounding cities who are, who are building these...


...tank traps. And marching, marching, marching, and then the marching became, we called this the death march. People who left behind, they couldn't march, they shot them on the spot, the Germans. They didn't let them behind it. Now we thought that, I remember we marching up in a small, well, not a small, quite a big hill, steep hill, and coming down a couple of SS, young SS people from that town over there with those, they, they wanted to have some fun. What they did, they barri... they made a barricade, they made a barricade and everybody who could not jump over it, they beat the hell out of them and some of them they shot. You wouldn't believe that. We thought that uh, we lost all our energy from marching all day and all night. And when we came there to that barricade and the damn Nazi says jump or else. I jump so far. And people were, people... And I runned, matter of fact, run because I didn't want to look behind, I didn't know what going on there. And we arrived in a small village which had a big, big, maybe a--I don't want to lie--a block wide deep, like a, hm, in the ground it was square digged out ground, maybe about five feet deep, a square block and they herded all in that ground, all of us, about five thousand people there. I would say it's about a square, wood square, like a block of uh, ground, which was...

A ditch?

...ditched. It's a ditch in about maybe five foot deep or six foot deep. And German SS soldiers surrounded us with machine guns all the way around there in the top of the ditch. We thought this is it. You know, machine gun all around way us. And what could you think it? It's like a Babi Yar right after it. It's uh, like a Babi Yar. I didn't know what a Babi Yar done, but that's what I could as Babi Yar was. And the boys occupied coming, coming, coming. And then we... They tell us the story that they had to stay behind to bury those boys who couldn't jump those di... those barricades what they did. Anyway, we stayed there for about a day. Everybody tried to position themself how to stay in that uh, ditch, because we knew that, we thought that we see the machine guns. I thought there was a massacre, what to do with us. And everybody tried to position themself, which way is the best. Where, where would the bullet miss you? In the center or right on there because it could not go down there? Nevertheless, we stayed there for about one night and we see nothing happen the morning, so we thought that, we, we were sure that this was not going to happen, because otherwise they would shot us at night. They treated nothing happen. They let us, they just, I guess they, they kept us, kept guard over us and that's the way they kept guard on us. And then we start marching again, we went to the train station. All right, the train station they put us in open cars--no not, it wasn't closed up--and the next stop was Mauthausen.

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