Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Roth - February 4, 1983

German Brothel

A brothel you mean.

That's right, it was a brothel; it was a whorehouse. And, uh, there was no water, so we went out and tried to scrounge some snow and tried to uh, melt it, but we drank all their juice, we didn't want any of this preserves the food, but the juice from the preserves. And we stayed there and the artillery duel was going on over our head. The house got hit on the third floor. We were all in the basement. And then one night, we hear, like a tank or vehicles coming by and uh, and a German knocks on the door. We didn't know it was a German then knocks on the door and says, "Mach auf Mutti, hab kein Angst hier sind Deutsche Soldaten." He says, "Mother, open up, don't be afraid they are only German soldiers." Ach un vay. So they took us out and there was one, I think, there must have been one SS, it was a regular Wehrmacht patrol. There was one SS who was ready to gun us down. And the lieutenant said, "Abholen," got into his tank, left us standing there and drove away. And the next night, was the Russians came in their white...One thing that I forgot to tell you, though. It was on the march. It was right after we got out of that uh, of that camp, right before we got into that camp where I escaped. They--I don't know, I wish I knew what city what small town it was, I really don't know, but they, they parked us in a big huge square, also surrounded and there were some with the Red Cross or something like that. There were some soup kettles; I never got any of it. But there was some soup distributed by local people. And then for the night they herded us into a barn and here again I was at the head of the column. And I remember the other guy was a Russian guy, I mean a real Russian. There was a Russian--few Russians with us by that time. I never knew him before, how we got to be together, I have no idea. Maybe he was in our camp, maybe he wasn't and we clambered up the post. It was a big barn and they had, the posts were about this big and the cross members going across were also this big, this wide. And I clambered up, he behind me and we lay down on that post over there. And they herded in because, by that time we must have been joined, our column must have been joined by other columns, because there were, must have been, no more left from our column maybe a thousand, but there must have been four thousand or five, I don't know, in that barn. But they were all herded in, over there and the doors were locked because the Germans did not want to have to stay guard that night they wanted to rest too. That whole night, there was screaming and yelling, people getting killed, people getting stomped all over, anybody that did not stay up, upright, got trampled. The next day when we left, we were the last ones out, there were guts and smashed skulls and I think what's-his-name, Schlanger remembers that too, he was in that thing. Smashed skulls and bodies with their innards stomped out and there were even some signs of, of cannibalism. That night, there must have been a thousand people trampled to death at that place, over there. It was after that, we came to the other camp where I escaped.

Anything else on the march that you remember?

Probably, but I...

Is that man that called your name, do you think about him a lot?

Never stop. Never stop. I have nightmares of him many times.

I know I asked you this before, do you, do you think about the SS man, do you remember him as well?

His name?

No, even his face?

No. No. Just the other face. No. No. Just his face.

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