Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Travels Home

The DP camp? A DP camp?

It wasn't even a camp. It was more like a place of assembly. Because everybody was wandering. I mean, people had no places that this is where I'm going to stay. It was like, uh, wandering, uh, like in a forest, you know, where there are some foxes and rabbits, and everybody is going wherever they can find. But, they told us where to go, where is an assembly and from that point on, we went into a camp.



Where was the camp?

Well, we, it was not far from Mittenwald. They had some military barracks. It was full with all kind of scientific equipment, you know. And over there they were assembling the people. It wasn't a permanent camp. It was just where they were gathering and from that point on, people were going in different areas. Like, we took a train back to, uh, Munich. It was roughly about a hundred kilometer, a hundred to 120 kilometer. Mittenwald is not far from Innsbruck, between Salzburg and Innsbruck, closer to Innsbruck. And went into Munich, because were just going without any goal, without any zeal. We didn't know where we are going. Um, we--at first thinking to go back to Hungary, to do. There was nothing definite. And we were standing at the platform in Munich. There was a lot of activities, trains, coming, going. Not necessarily, uh, passenger. I think there was, this one passenger train who came by, and there were some liberated people and we started to talk to them. And says, "Where, where are you going"? "We don't know where we're going." He says, "Well, hop on the train." He says, "Where are you going?" We said, "We're going to Israel." This was the word. So, we got on the train. The train actually went back towards where Mittenwald was, went to Innsbruck. From Innsbruck, went down to Italy and we were disembarked in Modena, northern Italian city. We were placed into a military barrack. And, uh, we were there for a couple of weeks and that was sort of a sorting point for going further south to Bari.


Bari, yeah. Bari. To go from where there was some freighters what was taking people to Israel. Mind you, this was still during the English occupation.

It was still Palestine?

It was still Palestine, yeah. And we didn't say it to, I don't even know if he called it Israel or Palestine at the time, either way. And some of those freighters were actually illegal transport freighters. So we were in Modena for, I said for a few days, a few, probably a few weeks and we started to talk. We got back a little bit more to our faculties that we could start in thinking a little better realistically and so forth. We gained back a little weight, a little energy. And we didn't know at that time, anybody may have or may have not survived. So we started to talk to among each other and we said you know we should go back to Hungary and see, maybe, somebody survived and came back. But, it wasn't so easy to get out from that barrack either because the Bricha at that time, what it was the Jewish organization, they wouldn't let you because they wanted to take, for the people to go to Palestine and because that was already the ground breaking for, uh, for the independence. So, one morning, whatever we had, I think we were on the third floor, and we dropped it, to the street, we had a couple of luggages, something for our clothes and we had in that. And we walked out because you could go out to the city without luggage. We picked it up. We went to the train station and we got on it and we went to Venice. We stopped in Venice for a day or two and went to Trieste. And from Trieste, we went to Lubliana and back up to Budapest. And to the Jewish organization where they had the headquarters.

Is this the Joint?

Uh, yes, uh, they didn't call it the Joint because the Joint was really an American organization.

But was it HIAS?

Yeah, it's, at that time in Budapest, it was, now it was one area where they governed where they were taking the administrative building. The Joint and HIAS at that time, I don't recall whether it was effectively in operation already or not. But, anyway, in this administrative building, they already had names posted who they knew of that is alive. Who is, you know, exchanging of information. And, uh, there we found out that one of my mother's sister, who was my uncle's sister, was alive. And she is back in Hungary and my father was posted that he is on his way back from the Urals, from Russia. And, uh, and, uh, this is the--this is sort of where it ended, that episode, before it started the second phase of our life.

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