Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983

Closing Down Camp

Toward the end of the war in--when you were in Ebensee um, did the Germans stay until you were, until liberation or did they...

Well, oh uh, they were smart, those leaders uh, they knew everything was dismantled. They ran away. The big SS, the really, the one who--see they had the Wehrmacht, the SS. and then the Wehrmacht, the oldest, the older soldiers, must have been in the fifties, fifty-five, which we--I considered them old because I was only fifteen, you know, anybody is older than me I consider them old. We saw already from the inside of the camp that they start uh, cutting off, the signia--insignias and the rifle was already carried upside down, they had no bayonet. We knew already, they had already cut open the, you know, the lights were not burning and we knew already that something is happening. But at the same time they had a full barrack of barrack bread, baked bread ready to be passed out in the camps who are still alive, you know, to poison the people. But I don't know what happened the bread somehow wasn't passed out.

Was there a difference in the way the Wehrmacht treated people and the way the SS did?

We didn't never come in contact.

You never...

Never came in contact uh, with the soldiers at all. The only contact we came is when they were, actually cu... uh, killings going on, beatings, but talking, nothing. Never nothing. Was strictly forbidden for them, they had their orders, that's it. They were like in the first camp, for example Wolfsburg where I was in the first camp. If I have to compare it to the second camp it's just like uh, you take a person who's in welfare here or like Rockefeller you know what I mean. Was compared was really good, really good. I remember when we were marching to go to work and uh, we have--he was an older soldier too. Cause mostly young soldiers, younger ones were in the, the front fighting, so. The older ones, he couldn't even--he was so weak, the soldier, he couldn't even carry his rifle. The rifle was heavier than him, he was a skinny soldier. He had a beard and uh, he's--it was against the law to talk to him too, you know, he's a SS in the service. Still he took his liberty, said he's not afraid, he doesn't care what they gonna do to him, they gonna kill him. He didn't care for the system anyhow he didn't. See he was so nice, really nice. When they brought us lunch, same thing they brought to the Germans too. For the German was a different kitchen, for the German soldiers. There was, broke bread in half, he gave me a little piece and then he gave some to the youngsters, the younger youngsters. So I don't know the saying in Germany that's "someday you are," to me he says, "you are going to survive the war, you have a good future," said that "I will be the victim, because even"--no, he did say because uh, he says, because, not because I'm--"even though I don't approve of, of the system what goes on in Germany I'm against it too. But still what we are doing is very wrong." He, used to buy newspapers, German newspapers, used to pass it out to us, you should take it in the camp to read what goes on. Those had a little information. There were people, educated people in camp too. They knew how to read German. And they used to tell how, how many victories the Germans are making on the front and how many American planes are shot down, always used to say. But they never mentioned how much loses they had. [pause] Then it was really, after the war, well after the war finally uh, when we, when I, when they took us to uh, from Ebensee when the Americans came in they took us in a sanatorium. Which I came out of I could walk already, I was already strong enough. Then they took us back to Ebensee, in Ebensee the Americans put us on truck, military trucks. Took 'bout, maybe forty-eight hours, I don't even remember. The day and night, they took us to a city by the name of Pilsen, it's in Czechoslovakia. And over there they turned us over to the Red Cross, the Czechoslovakian Red Cross. They gave us food. The Czech people were very nice to us, very nice. There were these--they brought in a lot of people day after day they brought in from uh, from the different camps. They came, everyday they came out, a Czech uh, woman with baskets of bread and we were so grateful, so happy. And they start giving us clothes and different things. Then they put us, well in the--if I didn't get enough bread, you know uh, I figured I'm gonna have something different or whatever. You get a piece of candy, or chocolate or, uh, like a hot soup, or--so another guy, I said to him, "why don't we try to go from house to house and see maybe."


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