Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Roth - February 4, 1983

Marching from Jaworzno

How did you, what were the circumstances under which you left...Jaworzno?

Well, Jaworzno went on day in and day out, until in January there was an air raid. The Russians were coming. But the air raid I remember were the American, American planes were coming across. I remember seeing the, the American star and, and I, I was hoping that they were going to start dropping bombs here. But they didn't, they went someplace else. And then one day, we were marched up to the Appelplatz and uh, they told us to take whatever we have and we are going. They were evacuating us. Because by that time you could hear the, the artillery booms at night. And they marched us east--no west. I don't remember how many days really. By uh, we were about maybe 2,000 of us, from that particular camp. And they marched us day and night, day and night. I wasn't, by that time in good shape, so I used to be at the head of the column and that's where the SS used to come and pick some people to go back and pick up the corpses and bury them. Because a lot of them--hundreds and hundreds shot, those who couldn't walk, those who straggled behind who couldn't keep up with the column where you had to be, they were shot. And I was on a detail to pick up the corpses and uh, they already had some kind of--I don't know who dug the ditches, but the graves were already dug. And we had to drag them in. And one time, right on top of the heap, there was somebody I knew and he knew me and he says "Tulli" that was all he said, "Tulli." That was my nickname. He knew me. "Tulli."

He was still alive then?


Somebody still alive?

No. No. Tulli, he was wounded all over. And there was SS over there and he and I was going to start pulling him out and the SS comes over to me and says in German, "Is that a friend of yours?" I says, "Yeah, I want to help him, I'll carry him." He says, "He is a friend of yours, you can join him." And puts the gun to my head, "You can join him." I started shoveling.


I only knew him from the camp, really. I don't know if it would have made any difference, if I would have joined him or uh, but I didn't pull him out.

How long did this go on?

What go on?

The march?

Four or five days, I don't know. Maybe a week. I don't know, I remember I had a bread under my arm and uh, we were going under a viaduct, it got dark all of a sudden, somebody comes and pulls the bread out on me, I don't know who it was. The bread was gone. Somebody just...So uh, we came to a camp and they herded us into the camp the next day after that and immediately after they herded us into the camp, I tried ascertain which way the kitchen and the provisions, it was an evacuated camp already. I think I found it, because I found a bunch of food. That they left over there and I took some vegetables and things. And a few of us went into one of the empty barracks. And uh, we thought we were going to get a night's sleep, but then in about an hour or two hours later, the call came to move on, move ahead. So we went, we were right at the edge by the, by a, by a, a latrine and by a brick wall, so three or four of us went and started digging into the brick wall and made a hole in it. I remember the tool we used to dig was a hinge, a hinge from one of the doors of the latrine that was there. It was one of those old fashioned cast iron hinges that narrows, tapers down to a like an arrow, almost like an Indian arrow. And we started digging with that. Took the door down and covered the door up. And uh, and uh, the loud speaker kept yelling, "???--up front," and here you hear grenades exploding because they were throwing grenades in barracks they passed if people are there, okay, they throw grenades in. When the grenades get closer--it was a big camp, uh, I went right through that hole. Moved the door away and there were guys behind me and uh, there was nobody in the tower. And we escaped. About ten or twelve of us, I don't remember how many. There were more of them trying to get through, but by the time most of them try to get through, the SS came there and started the machine gun over there. Uh, I don't know how many got it over there, but we were out and it was dusk. And we uh, we came into a forest, it had, it had pine trees in it. And I remember all of us lie down under one pine tree because there was no snow under the perimeter of the pine tree. It was dry. It was like dry gulch. And the next day we continue and we saw a house way across the clearing over there but we were afraid to go across the clearing, so we kept circling into the forest. To the house. And we came to an out building in the house and we all lied down over there and I slithered on the thing into a basement window and knocked out a window and lowered myself down into a basement. There was nobody there and the rest of them came in. And, uh and that was a house we found, oh my God, we found there all kinds of preserves and food and things like that, it, it turned out to be a house where the Germans came for a, a, R and R--Kraft durch Freude, we saw...

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