Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Krystal - September 19, 1996

DP Camps


Well, I did, I was really not in a, in a position emotionally or mentally to make plans. I, I, I didn't think of it at the time just that way, but I, I had to recover. And so first the British uh, came and took us to another place in Lübeck because the city of Schwerin was taken over by the Russians. And uh, we were there in a camp uh, in a DP camp, the first DP camp. We started uh, eating there and regularly and then looking for other people, loo...finding other people in the DP camp. And I was not one of the most active people l...looking for other people. Uh, one woman found me and, no that was later, but uh, it uh, we were there for, for some time uh, and we started getting in touch with, with uh, United Nations lists, things like that. And then we heard that there was a camp not far called Neustadt which was a kind of an army barracks. And so the whole group of us which we assembled, a group of uh, Holocaust survivors that were in Bobrek. I have some pictures of them. Uh, there were the three of us, there were the Piltz and I and then there was one other adult. Uh, the one that is uh, the first one at this table. And then there were some of the useful fellows, they, I think they were apprentices on this last table. And so we...

Okay, this is a picture of the factory Bobrek.

Yes. Uh, and um, the uh, so we went there and it turned out that it was a kind of a small camp and that you could meet some people there and start talking a little bit. We started walking and thinking, uh. Also I was able to get a, a self-study book from somewhere and we started to study English again. I started to study English. And there were, the British were in a barrack next to us and I went to them and I, there was loudspeaker, loudspeaker in our barrack and I got connected to their radio. So we had radio. And then I wrote a letter uh, one letter to my aunt in Detroit, whose address I remembered because my father used to write to her and one letter to my uncle in Israel, because his address was simple, I also remembered it. And uh, I told them that I was uh, the son of Herschel and, and, and Dora and that I had survived the war but I don't know about my family and maybe they have heard about someone, you know things like that. And eventually I got an answer from my aunt. And uh, also I started studying there. Accidentally I found out that back in the city of Lübeck uh, there was a, an accelerated, accelerated high school program for Polish ex-prisoners of war. And I went there and uh, they accepted me. So I just took my bundle of stuff and went there. And that may have been in um, August or September of 1945. And then I got lost, I lost my contact with these other friends with whom I became liberated and eventually, somehow, they made contact or the, the uh, people from Israel made contact with them and they all ended up in Israel. And uh, I went to the school uh, which they did not expect that I would, that I would be a Jew and come to a Polish school, which was taught by Polish army officers that had been prisoners of war and the students were also Polish prisoners of war. And there were some men and women there, there were two colleges. Uh, and uh, I finished high school. I graduated, I took the, the matriculation exam by June 1946. In the meantime uh, a uh, my aunt wrote me that uh, my cousin uh, my, who is, was her son-in-law who lives in Toronto, that he was coming to Hannover, that he was going to be in charge of the HIAS in uh, in the British zone. Uh, so I went to Hannover and I found him. And uh, as soon as I fini...soon as I got my graduation from high school and before they even had the celebration, I left before the celebration, I felt in such and hurry. And I, I, with his help uh, I was able to get to Frankfurt in the American zone uh, where at first I was in the DP Camp Zielsheim and I was working. I got a job at the HIAS in Frankfurt through my cousin's connection. Uh, and after hanging around for awhile they put me in charge of family tracing bureau. And I was helping people to find relatives in, find relatives in this country and, and uh, so on. In the meantime, I went to the university and applied to medical school and I was accepted for the fall.

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