Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Transport to Dachau

...so there were forty-five persons on one side of the, in one third, and forty-five in the other third of the car. We were sitting in each other's lap uh, squatting on, on those blankets. Uh, after uh, just about three and a half days of traveling in the train also, when we got out of the train, our flesh was literally in pieces and our uh, seats from that damp, hard blanket, we were not allowed to get up, we had to avoid sitting down. Uh, we were so hungry. Once, they fed us uh, canned meat, salted meat.

Salted meat?

Salted meat. No bread--once, I'm sorry, once we got bread also. We got no water whatsoever. There were uh, urine was passed around in cans for drinking. I myself tasted urine, which I guess luckily I didn't drink enough of it to hurt me. By the time we arrived in Dachau we were totally flattened by the trip, we were at the end of our physical strength, we were starving uh, we were in good condition yet because in Warsaw the food we got was relatively nutritious. Uh, we uh, got a good reception in Dachau, we were told to stay on a big Appellplatz, on a big uh, um, open field and they put out the metal drums for our personal needs and uh, we were told to try to, we were told by, by uh, inmates who came--medical inmate--who came among us, try to void and pass your bowels. They gave us coffee uh, what they called coffee, first to drink and then they started feeding us bread and soup. Uh, it was only--we arrived in Dachau early in the morning about maybe eight o'clock in the morning. It wasn't 'til the evening that they took us into barracks. They put us up and those barracks were old, worn, but relatively uh, clean and they gave us, they line us up for food, they gave us a regular evening meal, which consisted of food, of soup, with meat in it, thick soup, gave us a good ration of bread, margarine, again that jam. Uh, uh, somewhere along the line we even got some fruit. Breakfast was again a very light soup uh, they even gave us sometimes choice of either a soup or, or coffee, a couple slices of bread. Uh, lunch they gave us again a heavier one dish meal and again evening meal repeated itself. Uh, there was a lot of conscription going on uh, by trades, by conditions, if somebody complained that uh, they didn't feel good or had uh, problems or had open wounds, we were treated. And, uh...

It sounds like that the prisoners then were covered with their own excrement and urine and told to use group latrines, barrels of some sort. Was there any illness from all this that people...

Yes uh, there were, there were people who had to be hospitalized as a result of the trip, as a result of their reaction to the conditions we were going through. Uh, as for myself, I literally had to dig my uh, bowels out with my fingers, that's how bad it was. Um, I got out of it relatively easy. I was in good physical condition, so was my brother. I know of people who uh, I never saw after Dachau, they went into hospital and they never made it. They were older people. Uh, I saw people who were in bad shape with open wounds uh, there were people who were uh, they accumulated water uh, they had to be treated for that. We were taken away from Dachau in one of the first transports and we were brought to Mühldorf where we were assigned uh, labor at a, at a post where they were building an underground factory.

This is Mühldorf?


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