Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983


Approximately how many do you think arrived at Blechhammer alive?

I don't think more than maybe a 1,000 out of the, out of the 3,500 that originally left Jaworzno.

What happened at Blechhammer... ?

But the last day, we... They had no time anymore to bury the dead, so we left the dead behind. We had to run.

Did anyone think that the Germans were just going to run off by themselves? Wouldn't, wouldn't you have thought that that was going to be the logical thing to do, with the Russians so close, just to abandon the prisoners?

Never thought of it. Not me. That they would just abandon us? No. We suspected that they may kill us all, before they leave.

What was it like when you got to Blechhammer?

Well, Blechhammer was already evacuated. We came there, the prisoners were... Blechhammer were gone already. That was a huge camp. Must have had about 50,000 prisoners.

When you got there?

I.G. Farben used to have a synthetic rubber and a synthetic gasoline factory in Blechhammer.

So, there were 50,000 when you arrived there or they had been before?

No, they were gone, they were evacuated already. We arrived, the um, camp was empty. There were no prisoners in the camp.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn