Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983


Let me ask you again, what kinds of things went through your mind when you saw such, such events?

At that point, at that point, I started developing this attitude already in Warsaw, particularly the trip from Warsaw into, into Dachau. I developed an, an attitude of saving myself at any cost. In any given situation, there was only one going thought in my mind, save yourself. Whether it was getting a bigger portion of food or getting a better warmer coat or better shoes or getting out of a bad Kommando into a better Kommando uh, instinctively avoiding selections into bad transports. Uh, that was the uh, superior thought in my mind. And so was it in my brother's mind and, and other fellows that I knew.

And that's how you coped with what was going on around you?

I just shut the world out of my mind. I had an invisible uh, thing around me, a protective field around me and I was watching out for myself, help my brother as much as I could, help other prisoners if I could. And that wasn't my own, it wasn't peculiar to me only, other prisoners did the same thing. Some uh, succumbed to inhuman behavior but pretty much in, in Mühldorf we were uh, out to save ourselves. We sort of felt that the end must be nearby. Uh, we were the--we got away from the Auschwitz treatment naturally when we got out of Auschwitz. In Warsaw, they handled us relatively easy because I guess they wanted to have uh, production out of us. It was in Mühldorf where they subjected us to this condition with the cement, there were some Kommandos, some satellite, satellite Kommandos that were related to the construction uh, I got into a, an electrician Kommando at one point uh, there were carpenters, there were other related Kommandos that were better, they didn't have anything to do with cement and that they were not exposed to that danger. But uh, it was sort of a death factory of its own uh, new transports came uh, replacements, man, man material came uh, arrived, the only way out of there was through death. People were taken away, they died, and they were taken away. Uh, there was, there were two transports, two major death transports out of the camp uh, while I was well. Uh, one of them was a selection out of the blue sky, Mengele came into camp and he just selected people out and they took them to a Dachau area extermination camp and another one was uh, they selected out people who were not in that good uh, physical condition, took 'em away and they brought in new replacement, I guess that was just about the time when Auschwitz was liquidated out of there and they were squeezing in the prisoners into, into central Germany.

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