Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - May 11, 1982


Where were you when you were liberated?

I was liberated in Theresienstadt.

How did you get to Theresienstadt?

I was...they, they took us before things really started to get bad and uh, they uh, they uh, first of all they ordered us out from Schlieben and we were going around for eight days, for eight days we were traveling on, on these boxcars. And every time, and every time, I mean, the...there used, there used to be uh, oh what is it called? The uh, the planes used to come. The SS and the guards used to runaway and they used to leave us there right in the middle of the railroad uh, in the open and, and we just hoped and prayed that, that these, these planes are not going to hit us. And I guess I was lucky, I survived this for ten days. You know something? I remember finding that...what is it? I saw some pits. I don't remember what sort of pits they were because it was...they were dried-up pits and next to it was a piece of manure. I picked up those pits, I cleaned them up and I ate them. They tasted good. I'll never forget it.

You were in locked boxcars again?

Oh yes, we were locked in. You know something? There we were together with a lot of people. There was one man...I understand he survived...he did not eat traife during that whole time he was in concentration camp. He told us how to take grass and make a soup out of it. He survived it.

He was...

He was a temperamental ??? was very temperamental but he survived it. God bless him, he's still alive. Oh God, and he told us, "Eat the grass. You'll survive it. Eat it." And we did. It tasted good.

What was it like in Theresienstadt?

Well, that was already before the end and then we got so sick they finally gave us a little bit of a meal and we got...we all got sick and we, we, we got typhus and everything.

Did you have typhus?

Yes, I had typhus. And then the Russians came in and liberated and then the first thing this son of a bitch asked, "Why didn't you go partisan?" I happen to have learned a little bit of Russian. "Why didn't you go partisan?" I didn't stay there very long. I went the hell out of there and that's when I got together with my brothers.

Where had they been?

They had been Schlieben. Remember I told you...not in Schlieben, in Zeitz. Remember I told you when, when I went to Buchenwald, I left my brothers...two brothers. And we were lucky, that's when I met my brothers and we all got sick. We got so sick by the time I wa...I got out of the hospital I had 80 pounds. I weighed at 80 pounds. I didn't have a bottom to sit on. But then slowly, slowly I recovered and then I uh, they were not very nice, the Russians, to us. That's why we didn't stay there very long.

And where did you go...

They weren't nice at all.

From Theresienstadt, where did you go?

I went home and then I didn't stay there for very long and then I came back to be in...to, to Germany and I came to the United States.

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