Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983


What's the next thing you remember happening?

The following morning the Germans were gone. We found out that the camp was surrounded by the Russians.

How did you find that out?

Somebody walked into the barrack and said uh, uh, from reliable information, I mean from reliable sources, he has information that the, the camp is surrounded by the Russians. But it wasn't so. Because the German guards came back in the middle of the night and were chasing everybody out of the barracks, back on the road again. I didn't go. It was pitch dark, there was an artillery duel between the Russians and the Germans and uh, the bombs were falling in the camp and around the camp. I hid under the bed. I didn't go.

You spent the night that way?

Spent the night that way. The following morning, I uh, went outside, looked around, saw nobody, I went down to the potato bunker, there were no more German soldiers around and there I found some Slovakian Jews in the bunker, baking potatoes. About two days later, I went out on the main road to see if the Russians are in. Meanwhile, I suffered a bad case of dysentery, from eating snow on the road. Didn't eat anything, I had to eat uh, no water, no nothing, so I ate snow. When I went out to the main road I saw a truck coming full of soldiers. I was sure it was... They were Russian soldiers. When they got closer, I already noticed that they were Germans, not Russians. And I'm standing there with a striped uniform. And the truck passed by, I was frozen. The truck passed by and they didn't even, they didn't even look at me. They didn't even notice really.

Were these Wehrmacht soldiers?

Most likely. So, I went back to the bunker and then I told the guys, "You know the Germans are still here." About two days later, I go out on the main road again but this time--the camp was near a little forest and the main road was a couple hundred yards away--but this time I was very careful. From tree to tree I was going. And as I got to the main road, I saw two soldiers coming on foot. And as they got closer, I right away noticed that Russians are here. So, I asked... approached the Russian soldier for food. So, he gave me some wine, he had some wine in his canteen. And, um...

Did you speak Russian too?

Yeah. Why, it's a Slavic language, I wasn't fluent Russian but um, they could understand me, they knew what I want.

Enough to get wine?

Yeah. Why, I didn't ask for wine, I asked for chlieb, which is bread, and he gave me bread and he gave me some wine. One was a Russian Mongolian.

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