Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Running Away

What else did you try? I mean, what other attempts did you make?

I don't--one day I went in--I was running from Hanover. This was a city, Hanover. From Glei...from Holzen, was another uh, camp I went to Holzen. And, and they took us on the train and I was going for eight days, we was going the train from, from Holzen to Hanover. That is, that is about sixty miles. And we went over there and we saw some Germans anti-missiles--the anti-craft. And I asked him, 'How far from Holzen is from Buchenwald?' They told--they said that is sixty miles. When they said sixty miles I knew that something's happened. Eight days you cannot run, and we was running back and forth, back and forth, because the British and the American was coming. And when I hear this, I said to our friends--he was in, in, in the train. You know what kind of train that was in--like you're taking uh, cows in the, in the trains, we was going in the trains there. And we was talking, he said, "We have to--and we have to run.' And when the train start to move, you know, on the, on the train over there in the--was a little window there--open just a little window. And I was running and I was jumping down from the train, when the train was, when the train was moving and I run, run away and my friend run away. When my friend run away, he got shot. When I came, came to him, I, I jumped and he jumped. They shoot him and when I came to him to help him, he said, "Joe, you run because I'm--I got hit.' I saw blood running all over and I went to the forest--not far was a forest--and I was hiding over there in the forest for eight days. I was walk...

You were alone?

I am by myself, all by myself in the woods. I was walking every day. When I hear the shooting--whole time I was walking closer to the shooting because I believed when I go--what closer I hear the bullets shooting, closer I went and I was eight days. And when I came one day about--after the eight or nine days, I cannot remember really uh, how many days, and how many nights was--I saw the British--a white flag. And I saw a whi...a white flag, I fainted. I couldn't no more walk. I was, I was weighed about forty--about eighty pounds, forty kilos I was weighing. I was so skin, I'll never forget. I couldn't move. The British took me in, uh, took me to a little--in a room. They give me food and everything they give me to eat. And I feeled--I felt a little better. They ask me from where I was born. I couldn't speak English. I, I start to talk Polish because my homeland is Polish. They give me to a Polish camp. When I came in to the Polish camp, I talk to them Polish and I told them that I was a Jew. And they give me food and they want take me to the, to the church. And I said, "Never in life, I don't go to church.' I'm not afraid for the church, I don't want to--I don't know the Jewish people is alive because I, I be...I believed in my heart that no Jews are alive. I think, maybe if Jews is alive, it's like me, because they run away and just lucky to be alive.

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