Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Schleifer - August 1, 1982

Leaving Dachau and Liberation

Before--just before that you, you mentioned something about the, uh the train trip that it was different than the others.

Well, it was different on us because you, you got into a regular train, just like you, you sit over here at night in the uh, I was in the first class, that we call--not...

As a passenger.


It wasn't a cattle car.

It wasn't a cattle car this time where they put us. Everybody--a passenger train, because of treatment.

Did they give you any supplies?

They give us, everybody got a Red Cross packages from uh, those Red Cross packages must have been comin' by, by the millions and it is the first time that we got anything.

[long pause] Are there any particular experiences that stand out from all the others in these times that you were in the camps?

For instance?

Well, you know, you were at four or five different camps.

Yeah uh, you had to cope with each situation as it come along and you had to keep your strength that uh, one day you might get liberated or one way or another you're goin' get out of it, which, from God, gave me strength and I made it. I mean I lost uh, the whole family. I lost my mother and father and my brother in it. And uh, quite a few uncles and aunts and cousins. But, listen, you had to--each different place is a different situation you had to cope with it. That's the only thing I can say. I mean, [pause] thank God I could have done. I mean I could, could've uh, coped with it as, as it's come along--came along, let's put that.

Did you lose track of your brother right away?

Well, the brother--when we got--when he got off the train in Auschwitz, he went with my mother and was directly gone.

Okay. With all of your family uh, being victims of the Nazis, how do you attribute your survival, to what?

What--I, I don't know what, what you mean by that.

How do you, how do you attribute your survival? How, how do you feel--what makes you think why did you survive when so many others didn't?

Oh, as I said, that's--there was a God--God's will I mean, I, I wasn't a superman or a super thing. It's just what happened. That, that's, that's it I mean. [pause] I want to stop a minute. I want to get a cigarette.

[interruption in interview]

Okay. We have the tape back on now, Alex. You said that you stayed overnight at this lake and then you finally just left and went to this town.

The next morning we went to the town.

Okay, which town was it? Do you remember?

I don't, don't remember. It was a town between the, the lake and the Garmisch-Partenkirchen.


But uh, I--actually, I don't remember what was the name of the town. But, we went in a town. There was no soldiers there, only a few civilians which would run around with white armbands. No uh, no type of uh, guns or things.

Were they--were the civilians German or uh...

German civilians and, again, they was afraid that, you know, that the Allies gonna damage, lots of damage to towns so during the day they let us roam around and at night they shipped us out and we should march. In other words, we marched down the highway [pause] towards the Allies was coming in.

Did they help you at all, these, these civilians?

Well, they let us--left us alone, as I said. We went into some of the uh, some of the uh, some of the uh, warehouses there which the Germans used to have and they had lots of canned goods in there which one was really greasy stuff:pork, full of lard and halves of the meat. A couple of days later lots of them ate too much and they got sick.

Um, so then what? Eventually you ran into the Allies then?

Allies, yes.

Um, would, did they take you somewhere? What did they do with you?

From, from when the Allies--they told us to keep on walking to next town where it was Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the first night we stayed in a, in a house and the next morning they told us to go to uh, there was a barracks. It was a German barracks where it was old. Coming all these prisoners of war just like I was and we stayed there until they, they shipped us home. ??? that was each type of ???.

Were you, were you in a DP camp at all?

Yeah, while that there was a DP camp. That's what it was.

Do you remember which--where it was at?

It was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I, I don't know what was the name of the barracks. There was an old German barracks.

Was it um, was it a big camp?

Big camp, pretty good size, pretty good size and we stayed there. And, as I said, I got sick over there. I, I had the typhus and I was in a hospital there for a while and they sent me home.

How long were you at the DP camp?

Well, I got home um, from [pause] and the Jews, I might add, to Czechoslovakia.

So, you were there for about how long?

I would say about uh, six weeks.

About six weeks in the DP camp. Uh, could you describe the conditions at the DP?

Well, DP camp. DP camp here you, you had uh, we stayed in a room. Food was good and they gave us clothes and whatnot, [pause] and medical attention. That was about the size of it. And then, everybody got shipped uh, to the proper countries and proper towns and whatnot.

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