Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Vine - July 5, 1983

Moved to Several Camps before the end of the War

Let's go back to January 1945 um, you mentioned that that is when you left the, the um, Auschwitz. How did that come about? What happened then?

Nineteen forty-five was announced that tomorrow morning the nineteenth, January, everybody will gather out set up by blocks, like we always do. And everybody was given a loaf of bread and they were lined up in their Kommandos. And we started out to march out of Auschwitz. That we are going to a different camp, uh...

Did you have any inclination at that time of how the war was...


Going? And...

We felt that we gonna get murdered--killed. We felt that the rumor was spreading at that time that they didn't want to leave any witnesses because the war was going badly for them and this way there would be no witnesses so there'll be nobody to point a finger at them. We were also afraid because extra precautions were taken uh, place there, extra troops were called in. More uh, uh, guards came in with dogs and we were guarded to such a extreme way it was very difficult to, to, to resist or to run away. Uh, we were walking a whole day and we were stopping at night in certain unknown places. And a rumor spread that they're taking us to one place and they gonna either gas us or kill us. Some people start running away and a massive uh, shooting uh, occurred. And of course, it was put right back into. Uh, three days later we were put on trains. Now this was worse than we were taken to Auschwitz, because when we were taken to Auschwitz we were put on, on uh, regular, we were--the people later didn't--but we were put on regular uh, passenger...

They were passenger trains.



Pushed in there, but passenger trains.

There were windows then?

Well the windows were blocked...

Oh, blocked.

Were closed up. But here, they put us in cattle trains. And they pushed us in uh, to a, to a, to a--unbearable, that situation. A lot of people died in that place, also. Now I have a very poor recollection of the next um, two months, of January and February. I know we were taken to three or four different camps. I recall uh, being in Buchenwald uh, and I have the fondest, although a memory would be from Buchenwald because uh, it seems like it was a different world there. Buchenwald was run by political uh, inmates. There was strict rules that you cannot hit prisoners. They were not touched. The, the uh, where in Auschwitz, the criminals, the green pointers were ruling the camp, in Buchenwald the political uh, had the power and they were not there as killers, they were there because they disagreed with Hitler. So they had a great sympathy for the Jews. The only problem was that they didn't feed us they only give us one piece of bread the whole day. And a lot of people starved there, from starvation. But just the feeling that you, among friends, gave a lot of people a great hope. And uh, from there we were taken to another camp that was bad. It was almost like the beginning of Auschwitz. I couldn't believe it as we are; we knew that it was coming--the end--and hangings was happening, and beatings and killings. Like you wouldn't, like, like you wouldn't believe it and it was the end of the war. Terrible...



What camp was that? Do you remember?

I think it was Sachs... I think it was Sachsenhausen, I don' remember, you know, I was in Sachsenhausen--about four, five camps. But, this was a terrible thing, that camp. I don't know what it was, terrible, absolutely terrible.

So right from Buchenwald which was the nicest, uh...

Which was the nicest.

You went to Stockhausen.

Yeah, it was a horrible, horrible experience. And then we were picked up again on trains and we were loaded into another camp, which I didn't know what it was.

Were you still together with the same...

No, separated ???

From the same survivors at Auschwitz?

I, I lost them all. I wasn't with anybody that I knew. And they take us out from the trains and all of a sudden I hear, "All Jews to the right." Well, at that point I knew that we are coming to an end. And at that point I made up my mind that I will not go with the Jews. 'Cause I had a feeling that they gonna kill 'em, and I didn't step up. I felt there's too much confusion in that town yeah, I'm gonna take that chance.

Did you have uh, uh, any identification as a Jew?

There was, we were out of Auschwitz at that time already for two months and all the papers got lost and, you know, and the things were torn off. So uh, things uh, no one could tell from the outside, unless that uh, they look at uh, penis, you know, then they know I'm a Jew or not. But otherwise like this they couldn't tell and thought there was a situation on me and I realized that this is not gonna to be the case. Okay. Then I find out that they take us into--that was called Allach Dachau it was right about three miles out of Dachau which was near Munich, Germany. Take us into the camp there and all of a sudden and I recognize a guy from Auschwitz, not a Jew, Pole. Very nice, take a look at my numbers and says, oh you look like you are from Ciechanów, you know, from the numbers he could tell. Yes, and he start telling me, you know, this guy is from Ciechanów, and he worked together with my Landsmann, the guy that went down to the bunker to look over the girl. That I told you in Auschwitz he knew him.


Noah. And all of a sudden the guy behind me says, in Polish, you son of a bitch Jew bastard, what are you doing here? I'm gonna right away report you that you're a Jew. Well, I said to myself, my God. Well, I couldn't even walk I was in shock. Well, this guy heard him say and he start cursing him, you bastard, what do you mean, maybe you are a Jew. He went to church with me here, I know him from my own little town. If you open your mouth, I'll kill you. I got scared. And then as soon as they mention Jew, nobody wanted to share a, a, a, a, a bed with me yet have two people taking a bunk we call it. A week later I ???.

Did those Jews who left uh, the trains uh, do you know where they...

I don't know.

You don't know what happened to them.

I have no idea, because I didn't know anybody there.

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