Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan, Bernard, and Samuel Offen - September 3, 1987

Americans II

Did you know that Bernie was alive at that time?

NO: No. No, I didnt know. Well, we didnt. We spent a few months in the hospital. We got to Italy. We got to Italy uh, we came to Italy because uh, Sam and I didnt want to go back to Poland anymore. We wanted to go somewhere else. So there was occasion for us to go, to get over the Alps, to Italy and we got down there oh, we put our names down. We got new papers with our names and they were registered and people were looking for families and thats how Bernie find, found, found us in Italy, because he looked through the papers who survived. And he followed us into Italy.

BO: I uh, I was li...uh, well uh, from Auschwitz, I was uh, I was transported to this uh, camp uh, near uh, near Munich, actually its Landsberg, where Hitler was imprisoned. It wasnt the same prison, it was in the area though. And I was in the camp there and uh, worked in the blacksmiths shop and uh, then when uh, just before liberation we were on a forced march. And uh, I remember one day uh, we were marching down this road and we were strafed by American planes. They thought we were troops from the area, you know, you cant not easily tell. When there was some people who were killed but uh, then we were put into uh, overnight in some kind of military barracks and by morning the guards were gone. And uh, I was, I was the only able person left so I went back down the road that we came, we had to ford the river, the bridge which was blown out and uh, uh, I remember seeing this town uh, before we got to these barracks. So I headed for that town and uh, I got into the town and a lot of it was uh, damaged and blown up and stuff like this and I hid myself in a cellar and I heard uh, tanks coming. And uh, I didnt know who they were. I had no idea what Americans looked like. I didnt know who, who to expect, to tell you the truth. And uh, then when I saw that it was a white star again like Nathan said, I knew it was not the Germans, because I knew what the Germans looked like. So uh, I uh, jumped out from this bombed out cellar and uh, starting waving. I wanted to be noticed and uh, so the uh, soon they sent a couple of GIs to me and uh, I couldnt talk uh, couldnt speak English.

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