Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Incidents Thiel

What incidents do you remember besides that from Thiel? You were there for a few weeks?

Yeah, a few weeks. Probably six weeks, six to eight weeks. Um, there was nothing more significant, uh, that, there was another group of 200 who came, um, and they were separated from us. We had no way and we had no permission of even contacting them. Because that 200 was working on the, on the, on the atomic bomb.

On the bomb?

Yeah, in that--yeah, in that area, yeah.

So, was there an underground factory there?

No. They didn't stay there too long. They were only in transit. And how did I know that, uh, many, many years after already here in Canada where I befriended, uh, still a very close friend of mine, you know, he was one of the 200, and his father was in our 500, you know. And, somehow, they got to know that, that each other, that one is here and the other one is with the other group and they were able to communicate. Now, all this came out probably thirty years after, here in the States we were together once and we're talking about places where we were. And I said, ah, I says I was in small little town, Thiel Willerupt. He said, "We were, that's where I was too." This is the way we found out and he is the one who told me that, uh, they were working on the atomic bomb. And, uh, so, after about six weeks or so, six or eight weeks, the Allies were closing in. So, we were transported back to Germany. Um, again, with open cars and, uh, at one time, we got caught in an air raid. And, uh, all the guards from the train, they left, they went into hiding. We were there. But even though they left you, there was no way to go. If you would have gone anywhere, you are right in the midst of a German enclave. So, we just, we were hoping that, uh, something is going to come out of the air raid. But it didn't. Because our train was not damaged. So, we kept going and we came into Kochendorf, what it's a little town close to Stuttgart. It's closer to Heilbronn in that area. And, uh, in, uh, in Kochendorf, there were already other inhabitants and, uh, it was a bigger camp and as the winter came in, our situation started to get a little bit worse. The war was going somewhat against the Germans by that time. It was October, November, December. Food rations were down. We, we weren't getting, uh, the kind of food that it would sustain us. And, um, things became worst by the day. A lot of people were dying - malnutrition, weakness, sickness. And uh, it's, uh, I became ill. I was put in the hospital for, I was there probably a couple of weeks, two to three weeks. And, uh...

Do you know what was wrong with you?

No, no. That's, uh, that's when really hell started, as we say, break loose.

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