Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

David Burdowski - May 13, 1982

Testifying Against an SS Guard II

And uh, I said, "This is the man." So finally they said, "Now turn around, and go through the courtroom and see if you will identify this man." Now this is thirty years later. I said, "That's--is impossible." Thirty years later a man change so much. So fine, he said, "Go ahead try it." So I turn around and I walk in the back and I go from row to row and finally I see this man. He had a beard and it was very gray--old--and I said, "This is the man." And he couldn't believe it, "How could you recognize him?" I said, "How could I not recognize him? He had a gun on my head and he said, 'Get up, otherwise I'm going to kill you.' So with all my strength I did get up and I started walking again." But his face--his eyes I could never forget, and that's how I recognized him. So finally every lawyer, six lawyers, every lawyer asked me separately, "How did you recognize him?" and again, every one, same thing, same thing. And uh, they uh, they just couldn't believe it that I could recognize him after such a long time. And the trial was going on already for at least uh, two years before and it's still going on. And even today, I don't know if he was convicted or not.

Oh, he's, he's still...

I still didn't hear anything.

Did he protest at all when you identified...

Nothing. He was just sitting there talking little notes and that's all. After the trial was over--first--it was a two day trial--after the first day, he walked out from the courtroom and I was face to face with him, which uh, I really didn't know what to do and nothing. He was just an old beat up man. He wasn't the SS man he, he was, you know, thirty years ago. So I just didn't do nothing. I couldn't do nothing.

You said your daughter came with you?

Yeah, my uh, at, at that particular time my wife had back surgery, which also comes from beating in the camp and uh, she couldn't go. So I took my oldest daughter with me. And uh, she uh, she was right there. I couldn't go alone anyway. What would I do?

What were her feelings about the trial?

She was very uh, very surprised also, things that uh, she didn't know. She knew a lot--she knows a lot. We always talked about uh, the camps. But actually being at the trial was a, a big experience for her. An experience that she'll never forget, that she'll probably pass on to her kids and, and, and grandkids.

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