Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Agi Rubin - December 19, 1984

Death March

Tell me the things that led up to the march.

Prior to the march it was again at night as I told you everything happened at night... we were rounded up and they needed a group of people to take blood from `cause the German army needed blood and they wanted to use our blood, of course, not too many of us had any left, but any capable body, which we didn't know why we were gathered, but some of us were picked and I was among the and uh, they drew every ounce of blood that we had left and the reward was a slice of bread. And immediately after that we were thrown into rows to the march. I was delirious and to stay out of the line it meant being shot at or if you stay out of the line, you can't walk any longer, you are shot to death and left on the sidewalk among the snow. And I lost my family, I was delirious and I was just walking like without any, I mean, I lost myself completely, I was running after the trucks, every soldier symbolizing my father, my father is gonna save me, there he comes, the German troops as they were evacuating and just as their gun was pointing at me, somebody grabbed me and shoved a piece of candy into my, er sugar in my mouth and that revived me, believe it or not and I regained energy, they hid me in the line and we went on walking. The way we endured the walk, one of us slept, five or six of us in a row, one person kept the rest of the row going, the rest was sleeping, then every fifteen minutes we would wake each other and the rest was just dragging along. The two end people would carry the row the rest were sleeping. Just sleeping, dragging along. That was, ahead of us went the men's group, we followed the men. And the road was covered with dead bodies and lame bodies. The dead wasn't so bad as the half dead. And we couldn't reach out to them, we just had to bypass them and here the hands going, God help me, take me. I mean so that's where I questioned, are we humans or are we animal? What is this? And then if we had a rest period, which would usually be in a farm, it was the most welcome sight, we just slept, we just slept everything off. Then the best, second best thing was if we saw snow, or if there was a, the snow we would completely demolish, we ate it, but, we weren't allowed, one time we came to a place, there was a little hump there we cleaned it up, only the brush showed afterwards, by hand and we drank it, was not talking about hunger thirst that perhaps you have seen. It's a worse punishment being thirsty than hungry. Hunger you can endure, but not thirst. Thirst and lice, those are two things that drive you do...

Were there lice?

Oh, God. That's later stuff, and uh

How were you dressed the march, this was January.

Oh, in the striped clothes.

Nothing else?

I had a sweater underneath the because I was able to you know from the packages, I couldn't wear it outside the dress. It was under it. And I had a size, ten sizes too bigger the shoe that my foot slipped in and out of, with no socks and that was our attire and the kerchief on the head. Babushka. So, the other most welcome sight was an air raid, because we were able to rest. We were delighted, I mean we were just the happiest crowd, we were screaming out of joy. They are coming, even if they shot us, but we want to stop walking. And we had to hide in the trenches, now these planes came low enough to see who we were or what the group was. These were either American or Russian planes. And they stopped the air raid, but sometimes accidents happen.

Prisoners were killed?

Of course. The prisoners were killed. We were in Leipzig, when we arrived there and were in the middle of the train station and we stopped because there was an air raid and then it was over the wagon in front of us completely in flame. Just next to us, so where was it, what did I do about not being in flame? The wagon right next to it. They didn't know who they were shooting, I mean that was as that point, that was already in March.

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