Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Evacuation to Bergen-Belsen

So what happened next?

They took us to Bergen-Belsen.

On a train?


Did you get on a train?

Train. Six days on the train. They gave us a bread and a, a can of uh, some meat, whatever was in there and a bread. From--and then the, we were walking on a train.

Why do you think it took so long to get there?

Nothing. They were going back and forth. We went to Leipzig. Saw Leipzig. All half of 'em was bombed out. They took us to Hamburg. They were just going back and forth. They didn't know what to do with us. Actually, as far as I knew, they were planning to bring all the prisoners to the tunnel. And then blow it up. To blow up the whole thing with the prisoners there.

How did you hear that? Did you...

That's what I heard. The--right when we were there that that's what they planning to do. That's what I heard. I don't know if it was a rumor or if it was true. But that's what I heard.


But the Kommandant, the one you mentioned before. He was injured in Nordhausen a day or before. From an airplane, he was uh, strafed with a bullet or something. He was injured there. He was in Nordhausen. And uh, so then, this guy ??? made the decision. This Dr. ???...

The doctor. Mm-hm.

He said, because he, he knew what nobody knew. You know, he was an SS-man. And uh, so he says, "Let's uh, evacuate." Like you know, he, he--to get rid of them, let's evacuate the camp. That's what I heard. And then they took uh, us there, to the--the railroad was right there, you see. This--the tunnel in Dora was a city underground. There was a railroad inside there. And they were loading the, the rackets on it. You could get lost in that, in tunnel. That's how big this tunnel was. I understand they started this tunnel in the First World War. To, to, to work on it. This area was all stone. The whole area was stone. Stone, the whole area. So that's what they were digging there, the, the tunnel. And they were u...with dynamite. They used to open up and a lotta people were killed there. So that's what I understand they do. They started in the First World War and they finished it in the Second World War, the tunnel. This was a city underground. And this was the, the thick from the tunnel, the roof like was about twenty, twenty stories high. Because when we walked in, in the tunnel and we saw the SS were walking on top. And on top of the tunnel, they had grass growing. A little grass on the stones. And the SS--so when you looked up, they looked like little worms. That how high this was, thick was. They were, they knew, the Allies knew and they were, came in there with, with uh, airplanes, they were bombing. But they couldn't do nothing. This was too uh, thick, too heavy from stones. So uh, when--so they evacuated us and they were going. We were going from there back and forth, back and forth. Went to Hamburg and we went to Leipzig and they were, were back I believe in Hamburg. Finally, he gave an order to stop, that ??? to unload us Bergen-Belsen. Hamburg from Bergen-Belsen were about uh, fifty miles.

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