Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983

Death March from Jaworzno

All right, let's go back now to uh, on the death march. Um, was there any point in the march that you stopped or just continuously march? How many days did it last?

Well, we stopped only when we had to bury the dead. Then we had to march again.

Day and night?

Day and night. Deep snow because we couldn't use the uh, main roads. The, the main roads were for the retreating German armies. So, we used side roads and there was big snow on the side roads.

So, you're pushing these carts through the snow?

Big snow.

How many days were you on the road?

About three days and three nights until we arrived in Blechhammer. But we had a, a rest overnight in a barn. Um, that was after the second day of march and we were pushed into a small barn. We started out about 3,500 prisoners from Jaworzno. By the time we arrived at this barn, I don't think more than 2,000 of us were still living. And there was so little space per prisoners in this barn that sleeping was not possible. And we were so tired, so sleepy. Prisoners were killing each other for a little more space. The following morning, we always had to counted... We always had to count the heads. There were about 200 dead prisoners in the barn. We had to bury them again. They were all stripped completely naked. Prisoners put on an additional pair of pants or another coat to keep warmer. It was a bitter cold winter in January 1945.

Was there food? Did they give you food?

Nothing. Nothing, we received a bowl of soup once in three days from the Red Cross. No other food.

Where did the Red Cross come from?

I have no idea. All I know, that suddenly some men appeared and they were giving us soups.

After you buried these 200 men...


You were back on the road again?

Back on the road. And the Russian armies were so close, it was a bombardment. The, the bombs were falling uh, close to us and we were forced to run. The Germans were afraid that the Russians will catch up with us.

Still through the snow?

Still through the snow. And now more people where shot in the back of their neck. They lost their strength. They didn't have the strength to march.

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