Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - June 22, 1983

Death March from Dachau


'Cause they put us on the train in Munich. Was it in Munich? No, it wasn't in Munich. It was just outside of Dachau, you know. Dachau's not far from Munich--may have been one of the substations or something. And we are going--we didn't know again where we are going. As later turned out we were going towards Austria--the Austrian border--into the mountains. There, at the station, they just told us to get out, evacuate the trains. We did. And we were marching for a little while. And we came to a river and at that river bank sort of camped out. The guards were still with us. This was maybe second or third day of May, may have been. And we were staying right at...

Did you get anything to eat?

No, no, no. The only, the only thing what we ate was what we could grab from the, from the ground or anything--grass! You name it. And we were staying there sleeping, but by that time already we were so weak that you--let, let alone that you could hardly walk, you couldn't even talk. And we were just lying down--lying. And for one morning--snow--there in May snow is very common, you know. We were covered in snow up to our--and we looked around and don't see any guards--disappeared. This may have been I would say the third of the fourth day of May. We get up. My uncle gets up, you know, shakes loose the snow. Look around and people were just lying around--they were just dead and lying around. We walked into a little town. First of all, we didn't know the name--who it was--what it was. We snuck into a house. We went up on the roof--on the attic actually and there was hay--it was a farming town in Germany in the mountains. At least one thing, it was warm, you know. Covered ourselves up to head. We remained there for about one day. Still didn't have what to eat. And...

The house was unoccupied?

We didn't know if the house was unoccupied. We were observing it for a day. We didn't hear any noise, any noise--anything. So we dare to come down. We looked around; the house was empty. We found some food. Nevertheless we still went back to the attic now and we stayed there about three days. One given day towards the end of the three days we heard some gunshots right next to the, next to the house. We opened a little bit up the door, we looked down and we were able to see there still some Germans. We heard the German language. We speak German--we spoke German and we still speak some. We heard it so we just went back and kept quiet over there and uh, we were staying. The following day we heard noises again. The gunshots had subdued, we didn't hear anything. We heard some foreign language. We still didn't dare to come down. We waited one more day, you know. And again we heard some noises and some foreign language. And that time we opened up the attic. And we saw the unif...what was an American uniform already. We waited until they went away because we didn't know--we still didn't dare to come down, you know. Waited one more day, you know, 'til we came down and we never left the house. We just stayed in the house for a couple of days or so, you know. But by that time, observing through the windows, we saw that the Americans occupied the town. So this, this was actually our, our freeing.

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