Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Water - 1982

Being on Death March

Um, let me interrupt for a second...


You were in Gleiwitz for how long?

Six months.

And from Gleiwitz--we'll come back to talk about Gleiwitz--from Gleiwitz you went to where?

From Gleiwitz, I went to Blechhammer. This was, as I said before, January the 19th, 1945, 9:30 in the morning. They gave us a loaf of bread--kilo bread, not two kilo--and a quarter of a kilo margarine. And we marched. The weather was very cold. People--most of us got dysentery. I didn't. So every few minutes, you could hear a shot. That means whoever had to go on the side, because he couldn't hold it, was shot. There was one man, he slept in my bunk, his name was ???. He walked alongside me. I walked with a cane in my right hand, because I had two wounds in my body: one in my right side abdomen and one in, in my ankle. I'll mention it--I'll come back to it, because I sa...I mentioned before, the doctor, he paid me back in kind for helping him out, throwing that keys into that mixing machine. So he fell, and he uh, with his collar--was grabbed by my cold, frozen left hand. And I said to him, begged him, "??? please stand up. I can't carry you. I can't carry you." And he finally fell, and a few minutes later I heard a shot. He was killed. I've never seen him again. Now to go--I would like to go back a few, a few minutes--about a few seconds only, to tell about the incident. That doctor--I had a wound in my right side of the abdomen. Uh, uh, I would say--I don't know what it's called. A boil. I went in to him, to--'cause he was the doctor to treat me. He took a plier, he pulled it out. There was no dressing. The next day, just before they started taking us out of the camp, I went back to him and I says, "Doc, blood and pus is running from my wound. Do something." He said, "I haven't got time." I says, "Do something. I wasn't so bad to you either, when you needed my help." He hit me. That's why I wanted to go back to this incident, because it's, it's remarkable. He was Jewish, but he hit me. So I walked away, and I walked for two days. In fact, 'til two o'clock in the morning every night, with that--those two wounds in my body. Now I was part of a, a group that pushed the wagons. We had no horses. There was some syrup in those wagons. One eh, can tipped over and dripped, and I kept licking that syrup constantly. I had nine loaves of bread with me. Now why did I have nine loaves of bread? Because I got a hold of one loaf, nine people entrusted me with that--with his loaf of bread. I had a sack, and I carried it on my back for two days. And finally we came in at two o'clock in the morning in to Blechhammer, and I was looking for those guys, to give their loaf of bread back. One guy still lives in New York. Every time I come to New York I see him, he still makes fun of me. He says, "Why didn't you eat it?" I said, "It wasn't mine to eat." And I gave it to him back, I didn't even touch it. I almost got killed for it. A Ukrainian had a, a, a pick--he wanted to kill me, he want to take away my bag--that sack of bread that I carried for those people. Pretty soon we came to Blechhammer. Now this was--the Germans disappeared. The bullets are flying. The second day, I went out to, to scavenge food. We had, in the ground, buried beets, potatoes. So for some reason I didn't go to dig out that food. I remember I--vividly--maybe I had a sixth sense. Some kids did. A German came into the camp. How he did--I don't know how he did it. And a French H äftling--an inmate, jumped on his back and killed him, pulled off his shoes--his boots. Then there was a rush on food--on the uh, places where they kept the food.

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