Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

John Mandel - May 26, 1981

DP Camp

Yeah. You dressed it up. Uh, did you ever go on to a Displaced Persons camp?

Yes. After I came back uh, from uh, from uh, my home town, we went back to Germany and we wound up in a Displaced Person camp near Munchen, and in uh, in Gabersee. That's also in a, in... That's, that's in Germany or in Austria? Gabersee. No, that's Germany. Gabersee That was uh, not too far from, from Munchen. And uh, we stayed there, we got back there almost immediately and we stayed there, I think from... No, first I went back to, to Czechoslovakia to, to Prague. And then we went to Germany sometimes in the spring of 1946. Early spring of, or maybe late winter or early spring, 1946. And uh, we uh, we got an affidavit from an aunt who lived at that time in Pennsylvania. And uh, we migrated to, we came to this country. We left Germany on uh, July the 15th. We uh, boarded our ship, The Mariner Flasher, which happened to be the second ship that uh, came here to this country uh, with, with refugees. And uh, we landed in New York on July the 25th, 1946.

Can I go back to the Displaced Persons camp? Can you describe it and your reaction to it?

Oh, I'm sorry! Maybe I'm making it too short.

No, you just aren't giving enough descriptions...

Yeah, all right.

for the, um...

Um, in the Displaced Person camp, of course, we were uh, controlled by the American authorities. This was uh, under American occupation at the time. We had uh, um, this must have been a military camp at one time. Uh, we were living in barracks. Uh, the uh, uh, we were beginning to live a normal uh, civilian life. People were getting married and uh, some people were getting pregnant. Life was beginning anew. And uh, actually uh, we just tried to uh, really uh, pick up our lives again. We uh, we started sport clubs. We played soccer, I played soccer there and uh, basically we really didn't have much to do. We just waiting, everybody was waiting to go someplace, to, to find a place to go to. Some of us uh, wanted to go to uh, uh, to the States. Some of us wanted to go to Israel. And some wound, wound up in South America. And we, we got dispersed. Some went to Canada. But everybody was there waiting to go someplace to start life anew. Um, basically that, that's all there was to the Displaced Persons camp.

What was your reaction to it?

I thought it was a big improvement to what I had before. Actually uh, it uh, it was uh, really not bad and under those circumstances it was really terrific.


It was a, a great change for the better. [

Wife: How long were you there?]I was there probably uh, four months, five months, something like that. Some of the people that had to stay there longer, of course uh, uh, probably changed their opinions about the place, but I didn't have to stay there very long.

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