Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981

DP Camp in Austria

After the liberation um, did you think of going back to Krakow?

No, no. Well, in a sense, but we wanted to recuperate first. To get back to our health and at the same time we wanted to find out what happened to our family. That was our first thought. Not Israel, not Poland, not Krakow. Just to find out what happened to our family. And that's how little by little we started looking into all kinds of, there were all kinds of organizations being formed UNRRA, in the United Nations. And uh, of course, the Palestinian uh, group. And they're starting to register people, register the survivors. To find out who survived. That's how we started finding little by little. There were very few people left alive.

Were you sent to a Displaced Persons camp?

Uh, yes.

Where was that?

I was sent to a Displaced Persons camp in uh, near Linz, in Austria. I don't remember the name of that camp. I have some documents from that camp, but I don't remember the--recall the name right now. It was near Linz, Austria. And we spent a few weeks there.

Had you heard from your brother?

No. My brother and I--my brother Nat and I were together all the--for some miraculous reason we spent the whole war together. We were not necessarily always working the same detail, but we slept together in the same camps all the time. We were always--spent the war together. We were very close. And we were lucky to stay together. Now, we spent a few weeks in that camp and also looking for our relatives. And we found no survivors. We were making looking all kinds of lists and talking to different--you know people used to go from one camp to other--survivors would travel all over and whoever we talked to, whoever were our mutual friends or acquaintances. We didn't find anybody that would tell us that any members of our immediate family or even from our distant families survived. Eventually, my youngest brother Bernie found us. He found out that we were alive, that we survived. And we're moving from camp to camp to camp to camp. And we did not some--for some reason find out that he survived. Now we had an interesting experience after the camp. We were in a camp near Linz for a few weeks. Then the Palestinian Brigade, which was sort of in the British Army was looking for people to go on like on an exodus to Israel. Well, we didn't know--my brother and I didn't know what to do, but we decided maybe we will go to Israel.

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