Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991


So you're back at Mauthausen now.

Yeah, from Mauthausen we go to Bergen-Belsen and then Bergen-Belsen we was free. Unbelievable, but we was free there.

Did you work at Mauthausen?

Uh, no.

They just kept you there.

No. We, kept--they took, they, they, they was uh, gassing uh, a lot of people there. But uh, I didn't know it. They--just after, when I left, they told me that they had gas. I didn't know that.

When you left Mauthausen was it on foot or in a train again?

On a train. We went on a train. And uh, on a regular train.

A regular train with other...


with non-Jewish prisoners.

Yeah, with uh, Aryans on the train. On the end of the train was Aryans. And you know, and uh, we saw they're fighting. I don't know it was English or so, but uh, they--we saw soldiers with--from far, we couldn't see. And the bombs was falling all over, and they told us to lay down there.

On the train.

And--no, outside, they tell us to go out.

So the train stopped and you got...

Stopped and they was fighting there, and we was laying to the--on the ground. Nobody was killed, just you know, just fell on me like uh, and from--threw dirt all over, so we was covered with dirt. And I thought I'm--my sister was under me, I always protected her. And uh, when I uh, they say uh, "Steh auf," so I was thinking, well I can't get up, I'm dead. So no, they say--scream and scream, so I move. I said--and she says to me, "Why don't you get up?" And I pushed down all that dirt from my back you know, covered with dirt. And went, they took us to another train. And that train then somehow in the fields--I don't know how many days we was going, the train, the end to the train was bombed. And there was all Aryans and there was a lot of 'em killed. And uh, and they come and they beat us. The, the, the German prisoners. They beat us, they say, from now on, where the Jews are sitting, they're going to sit with the Jews, a group. They say, "We was bombed, they wasn't." So uh, we were sitting in the train like ten of us.

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