Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Being Ill

You said when you were well?

When I was well. There was a third one and I fell ill. I uh, everybody was infected with, with lice. And in spite of uh, efforts put up by prisoners to keep clean uh, we were defenseless to lice and they carried uh, Flecktyphus with them and people got infected and developed high temperature and uh, died. Uh, I fell ill...

With typhus.

With typhus in uh, April nineteen forty uh, forty-five. Uh, my brother literally saved me. He was in the kitchen and he--first uh, I was put up in my barrack. The uh, Blockälteste was a Hungarian older Jew and he tolerated me staying in there. He didn't report me that I didn't go to work for a few days but then they had to take me. They would not take me into the hospital but they took me to the area of the camp that was reserved for uh, for the typhus infected inmates and I was there and my brother kept bringing coffee and aspirin. We had no uh, other medications and that kept me going uh, until one night uh, they apparently decided to evacuate that part of the camp and my brother found out, somehow. He went after the, one of the SS officers who he knew through a kitchen and he begged him, literally begged him, to save his brother. He came in, called my name, and the name of another fellow who was uh, from an area not far from our hometown, who also had a brother in the kitchen. Uh, somehow they had an affinity for kids, these bastards, the SS, and uh, two kids came up to them and begged for their brother. It was my lucky moment. He came in and he got us out of there. There was a third fellow who actually came over to my bunk and shook my conscious. Uh, at that point, they stole my clothes off me. I wasn't aware of it, I was in my shirt. Uh, he woke me up and said, "They're calling your name. Come on, let's go up there." And he dragged me out front to the door and the SS told me to sit down there and told the other boy sit down and wait for me. He marched us out of the camp into the hospital barrack. The third boy hid in the latrine under the boards uh, until they emptied the camp, they loaded the whole camp onto, on the train, that's the last, nobody came back from those people. Uh, they treated me, I don't even know how, what they did with me in the hospital, but I recovered sufficiently to be released into the uh, barracks and uh, I made it out of there. So did this other fellow and this third boy, he came, he told us the story what happened, we kept quiet about it and he's alive, he made it all the way home. Uh, uh, I slowly, through the help of my brother again thanks to rations and whatever he could give me, he got me some more potatoes and bread, I recovered. Uh, very shortly after about two, three weeks later they evacuated the whole camp. They put us on a train again and we were traveling back and forth uh, it was only really central and upper Bavaria that was un-occupied by that point by the, either by the Allies or the Russians on the east. And uh, ultimately, we were liberated by the American forces.

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