Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Traveling with the Russians

And eh, when we arrived on the Russian side at that camp, there were amongst the Russians, there were, there were many women, even with children, who were working in the Russian farms, and factories, and so on. They were brought to work there. And eh, ???, when we went back, were also many women and some with small children even, and men. When we would take eh, mostly eh, mostly Russian military trucks, the Russian men were taken one side, and the women and children were put into a yard--enclosed yard outside, sitting there. And we, we saw they were, that they're taking us to...together with the Russian men. We said, "We are not Russian, we are Jewish and eh, we were supposed to go to the eh, to the western side, by mistake in here." Anyhow, they kept us in together with the women and the children, and they didn't give us anything to drink--not us, nor the women--the Russian women. The soldiers eh, collaborated with the, with the Germans. Eh, was a very bad thing--was awful to see. We saw what is happening, we decided that we must get back to the western side, as quick as possible. So we went from one Russian officer to another telling them that we made a mistake; we have to go to the Western side. Most of them wouldn't listen to us at all. Then we probably encountered a Jewish officer and told him the same and he very quickly caught a Jeep with a Russian driver, and had us taken to a camp where there were French eh, people, Dutch people eh, Belgian people that are waiting to go to the western side. And after two or three days, we were put on a train, and brought to Luxembourg, and from there, everyone--he went ??? to his country. But we have nowhere to go. So we stayed there. We were asking around and looking around, and we found some Jewish people there eh, former prisoners, that were eh, convalescing. There was a convalescent home eh, medical treatment, and so on. And they told us that every, every Sunday, an American Jewish chaplain comes to visit them, from Germany. And so we said we want to meet him, and go back maybe to Germany, and from there to Poland or something. Eh, we waited until next Sunday, and we met him, and he says, "Okay, if you want to go back, not far in Germany there's a camp where there are other Jews. I will bring you there. I will leave you there, and I will continue to my place." And that's what he did. We went back to Germany, to a camp, to a place called Diepholz...


There was, I think, a military air...air...airport nearby. I know there were eh, barracks, and they kept us in barracks. And there were many other youngsters--girls, boys, my age, a bit older. And there were already from the Jewish Relief Force, I think they were called, women that were looking after them.


They were from England, and think that another name.


HAIS maybe. But in uniform, they were in uniform. And eh, they had activities for the youngsters, and eh, even had some lessons, and um, I was happy to be there. And then one day there was eh, announced that there's a--from--Sweden is taking over some eh, former prisoners to Sweden, who wants to go? So I said, "To Sweden? I'll go to Sweden. What can be?"

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