Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Death March

Um, so you were in Sachsenhausen for five weeks?

Yes. Four or five weeks, I remember.

And then where did you go?

And then we were sent to that eh, to ???, where they established the factory, from the, the, eh, powder factory--the gunpowder factory. And there we started working, in the factory.

Do you know the name of the company?

It's the same company that was responsible from Pionki. It was a part of it in Germany. I don't remember.

It wasn't Krupp?

It could be.

Could be Krupp?

Could be Krupp. But there also we didn't manage to do much, 'cause eh, two months or so eh, later, eh, the Western Front was near again, and one day they put us on trucks and sent us back to Sachsenhausen. There, again, we were quite a few weeks, and one day we were eh, taken on the death march. My cousin was eh, already not alive any more, and eh, all the rest of us went who were still--many--some others died also in the camp. We were taken on the death march. And eh, on the death march we--after about four or five days marching, we were stopped in a forest, and kept a few days, and I was trying to--hunger was very severe, and I was trying to see what can we--where can I get out and collect, and find some more food? And eh, I went to the edge of the forest, and between this--where we were, of course, guards were all around and eh, there was another bunch of trees, and uh, in between there was a bit, there was a, a, eh...


Clearing with eh, eh, hacks of hay--stacks of hay. It was, it was ??? over there, I suppose, it was a ???. And um, there were eh, stacks of hay, and in the corner, from other side of the patch of trees, I could see some red bricks of houses. I thought if I could get near the houses I probably could find some food. And eh, I was planning how to get to that patch of forest, on the other side of that eh, patch of land, and when I saw that on one side the guard was talking to somebody with his back to me, and other guard was on other end, walking in other direction, I ran out of the forest, and stand by--near one of those hay stacks, covered myself a bit, and to see how I continue further to that patch of trees on the other side. And I, I was lying there, con...considering how to continue, somebody stand next to me. I was sure, that's the end of me, somebody must've caught me. But when I turned my eyes slowly over, the guy that's laying next to me, just show me, "Shh. Be quiet." And I recognized him. He was one of the German prisoners. There was a group of about forty, fifty German prisoners, mostly political, that were also marching with us. They were marching in the front rows, and we the rest behind. And I didn't--I had no contact with him, but I saw him on the way, 'cause we were, we were stopping at night, and so on. And he the same--he thought--he had the same idea, and when he saw what I did, he run up and did the same.

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