Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

David Kahan - August 14, 1995

Transport to Mühldorf

And then what happened?

Well uh, one day we were uh, they told us all, well, I think it was right after the morning Appell. We stood in line and uh, a German SS came along and started to count people. There I, I don't recall if our lines were five or six. Started counting people and, and, when they had enough they said, "You stand here." You stood there of course and they told us in German that, "You have been chosen to go to a labor camp and you will be going to the train. Stand by here." I don't recall if it was five, ten minutes, a half-hour later, we marched to the train. We uh, it was the same place where we arrived. They gave us a loaf of bread, it was fantastic. Every, every one of us got a loaf of bread. And water I think was in the cattle car. It wasn't as crowded as it was when we came. It was, was, was more bearable. They gave us a loaf of bread and, and uh, I, I recall the German guards. One guard was sitting there, in, in the front, with his feet hanging down and he said, "Yeah," he said, "You guys are going to Mühldorf." and, that, that was, that was it, I think. We were glad to get out of Auschwitz.

The German guard, was it a Wehrmacht...

Soldier, a soldier, yeah, a soldier, yeah. And, and uh...

Had you ever heard of Mühldorf?

No, I never heard of Mühldorf, no. I, I knew very little about Germany and I don't even remember how long it took. Since they gave us a loaf of bread, it took a few days uh, maybe three days or so. I can't remember. Maybe more. And, and uh, that's when we arrived to Mühldorf. Uh, other Jews, other concentration camp inmates before us has built a camp. It was brand new. You could see the barracks, spanking new, but it was mostly Hungarian Jews. I think uh, maybe the guys who built our barracks were Polish Jews. And uh, we arrived to Mühldorf uh, the barracks were smaller than Auschwitz and, and, uh.

And you got off at the train station in Mühldorf.


Which is in the town.

In the town, yeah.

And then what, when you got off the train?

We marched. They marched us in.

Through the streets of Mühldorf?

We stood all in line and they marched us into, to the camp.

To the camp. Well, did you walk through the town?

Yes, we walked through the town.

Did, were people lining the streets? Did they watch you?

No. There were no people lining the streets, but the people could see us. We saw people and the people could see us. Their life was going on normally. Cars driving, bicycles, people coming and going, doing their daily business and nobody paid much attention to us. Nobody. We were just being marched in by the, by the German SS. You know, they had guards. I don't recall exactly, but every twenty, thirty feet there was a guard posted all around us and they marched us from the railroad station to, to the camp, which was in the outskirts. I don't recall exactly how many miles it was. Perhaps you can tell me, since you were there last time. A few miles from town? Four or five miles?

Less I think.

Something like that. Yeah, yeah.

So you marched through the town. What did you think of the town? What was your impression?

Uh, well, a...again, it's, it's difficult to remember everything. Somehow, I believe that I thought that my fate will be better than it was in Auschwitz. Obviously, I felt relieved. And, and I believe that we, most of us thought that we are here amongst Germans, civilians, that maybe, maybe our life will be better. Maybe they won't kill us. I mean, we, we knew that we were not in an extermination camp. So of course uh, of course, of course later I found out that the labor was so hard that, that's where I saw the people dying. I saw more people dying in the labor camp than I did in Auschwitz, because in Auschwitz we were segregated from the gas chambers, you know, we just saw the smoke, the chimneys. But I think it, it was a sigh of relief, in the eternal hope that, that this will be over one day. But see, seeing a normal life, they are civilians, somehow I think we felt and I, I, I am sure that I felt that, that maybe this will be better for us and that we'll survive. We, we had an idea about the war. Rumors were going around that, that the Russians are you know, we were still at home of course in 1942 when Stalingrad was lost so we realized that this is going to end one day, just depending how fast the Russian army and the American, the Allies are going to destroy Germany.

Now the camp centers on the outskirts of town, was it, was it, was it hidden in any way?

Uh. [pause] These are excellent questions. I wish I would, I would have made note. I, I think it was woods. It was built in a wooded area. It was built in a wooded area. I would say that you would have to know where you are going. The, the trees were larger, much taller than the barracks and yes, you wouldn't find the camp unless you knew where it was. It was in a wooded area out of town.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn