Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

American Army

Now this is May 7th.

This is May 7th at night.

And May 8th?

May 8th we leave the camp. Trot, maybe eight or nine of us friends from Poland, from Płaszów. Two or three that I knew closer a little bit. We trot very gently out of the camp. Very slowly, looking around. Eh, wanted to make sure nobody's going to shoo...be shooting at us, uh. As we go down to the main road we see American soldiers, not American soldiers, they were not soldiers. They were trucks passing by with American soldiers and they were throwing down to us chocolate and some other uh, rations which they had. Crackers.

Do you remember the name of the outfit?

No. But I have right now an invitation to go to a reunion in Washington, the outfit, there are some, some soldiers who are still living and I look forward to being there eh, possibly.

Seventy-first Infantry Division.

That's what it was I believe eh,, eh. I just have a letter, the invitation to come to a, a to a reunion of the soldiers who liberated us. Uh, so we were going. We didn't know where we were going, but we were going out of town in some places we still have seen, because it was a group of eight or nine, a German coming out of his farm, out, out of, out of his farm eh, farmhouse eh, with a, with a, a car...car...carbine, with a, with a gun, pointing at us. Eh, maybe he thought we going to go into the house or whatever. They were still protecting their home. And of course we wouldn't dare to do it. We're not going to commit hari kari in our life at that time. We were too weak to fight.

So what did the Americans do?

At that time we didn't see too many Americans, just the trucks passing by going forward.

They didn't stop.

They did not stop. They just threw chocolate our way. Now halfway, maybe it was already one or two o'clock, once again we had that--a little food. We were walking through that village. Now all of a sudden from far away in front of us we see something that we never see in our lives before. We see a group of black people. Soldiers. From far away we didn't know they're soldiers. And they're coming closer to us on the other side of the street of course. They were moving, going on right side of the street. We were going on the right side of the street eh, in a different direction. As they were approaching us, we never seen a black man before, maybe in a circus. To see a few people with machine guns in uniforms, very scary. Very scary. We knew they're Americans, but we did not know if they--we did not know who they are, if, if they're going to harm us or not. So as we continue walking, they continue walking toward us, we toward them on each side of the street. And eh, each one of us was pretty near shaking from fear, but we walked. They passed us by. We passed them by. We said hello, most from fear than from happiness. And that was our first eh, knowledge of, of eh, black American soldiers, black Americans.

Did anybody come back? Did any of them come, did any of the Americans come back?

No. They kept going. Wherever the, the instructions were, I don't know. And uh, we kept going in our direction.

So we...were, were you "liberated" by anybody?

I was liberated by these people, but not actually, no one that came into that camp that I remember. There was no one. We all left that camp. I left that camp and many other people. There may have been soldiers come to the camp. But I'm sure they did. I don't remember that because I went through the fields to the main road.

My, my information is that the so-called Calvary Reconnaissance, the, the, the reconnaissance group, eyes of the 71st Infantry Division they first came to Guns... Gunskirchen and they brought food.

Evidently. I, I wasn't there anymore, so.

You had gone already.

I left first thing on the 8th of May. The first thing in the morning I left.

Where did you go?

We went toward Linz, toward Linz.

Here' s a map of the Gunskirchen is, is right here--here's, here's--that's by Lembach. Linz must be...

No, I think we went over here. That's where we ended up, I believe. There, there was an airport around here too, someplace near...


Near Lembach, right, right, okay, uh. I, I somehow remember that name. It became a little camp over there later on, in Lembach.

A DP camp.

A DP camp. Eh, right, there was kind of a homes, I remember red brick homes that we were allowed to live in. And uh, I happened to live in a home, there was a lot of youth. Kind of fellows my age, maybe two, three years older. Eh, I remember I stayed there for a probably a good month or six weeks. I got sick over there. I got my typhus over there. I became sick.

While you were in this...

Well, a tremendous amount of people got sick before I did. I got sick maybe three weeks later, whatever it was, I don't remember. Eh, I, I was taken to a hospital. I, I believe it was in Linz. And uh, I, I had the standard sickness that all the people from concentration camps had. Uh, typhus.

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