Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Edith Roth - March 28, 1982

Fleeing of Nazis During Liberation

Tell me the story about Mengele.

Okay, that was in 1945, May the 7th because the 8th we were freed. He arrived to our camp, and he said, he lined us all up and he said, "Didn't I pick the most beautiful girls" in German. But the last four weeks or so, they happened to catch a German girl who was living in Germany for four years on, on, on Christian paper and her whole family was killed.

A German Jewish girl?

A German Jewish girl, who we loved absolutely dearly. They killed this girl, yeah we saw, spoke German, like you couldn't tell whether she was Jewish or German because a lot of German Jews looked like the Germans and acted like them and talked like them and uh, she came and she had this Hoch Deutsch. It's beautiful German, okay. When they brought, they caught her, they caught that poor girl three weeks before the war was over, but they still brought her into our camp. They brought her in-I don't know why not in Auschwitz, or anywhere else. I didn't even ask, but they brought her to us and they didn't take away her clothes, they didn't know what to do with her, she looked too much like them. They didn't, they didn't know what to do with her or they were seeing their end coming or what, but they put her to work in the office, in their SS office, but she lived with us in the barrack. And she always, what she overheard over there, she always came to tell us what was going on and what to watch out for, and she told us that the war is almost over, any minute the war is over and that SS is trying to figure out what to do with themselves. When Mengele arrived, she was running like crazy telling us back to the barrack that they're going to line us up and take us for the soldiers to the front and uh, to resist. And if we can hold on, they won't have time to do it. So, there was a room not bigger than this room here, if you can picture 300 girls getting together in one room and Mengele standing outside, screaming "Raus, raus, raus" and it's also something like when I went to get my blanket. Um, all of a sudden, we heard shooting, okay, not far distance, the Russians were coming, not the Americans. The partisans were shooting all around, we heard it very clearly already, and the Germans had a bunker built right there where they can hide, underground, a bunker, where they were hiding, and so we're standing all in this one little room and nobody's budging and we told him if he wants to do anything, he can kill us here, you know. All of a sudden some kind of a man arrives with a, with a, with a, with a wallet and, and he's very fast and talks, he's a short little guy.

With a briefcase?

With a briefcase, with the pry, with, with a suit on and all that and he uh, says something to Mengele in his ear. It must have been "Disappear." It must have been because next thing I know, I see Mengele in a working clothes, a plain working hat, you know just hat, at, not all his...

His decorations?

His decorations. I remember he was six feet four and tall, dark and good looking with all his-standing there and uh, I almost stood next to him like, you know, I remember that. And I said to myself, he's going to escape and nobody can stop him. There was nobody to tell, I saw five SS escape, I saw five of them escape after we were freed and there was nobody to tell.

You mean they all changed their clothes and just ran off?

Just ran off. There was nobody. You know I even saw one by the train and there was nobody to tell, it was that-so what happened later on, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, we were all like herd together in that room, all of a sudden, it's quiet all around us, okay. So one girl goes out and looks and she sees there's no SS guarding us. There's nobody. There's nobody, and this German girl was running to the office and there was nobody, but we are hearing the shooting going on, okay, so what should we do, okay? There's nobody nowhere. We couldn't believe it that, you know, we probably were freed that moment, but we didn't know anything, so we all went down to the bunker, the German, that the Germans made up and we were sitting there after hearing water 'cause it was very watery underneath, okay, and just waiting out our time and the Russians were getting closer and closer and goes rat-a-tat-a-tat, boom, and just shooting all around...

[interruption in interview]

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