b. Uzhorod, Czechoslovakia (became Ungvár, Hungary), 1920
Around April 26, 1945, orders came to pack up our belongings—a mess kit and a spoon. The following morning those who had enough strength to walk were marched from Muhldorf Concentration Camp, near Dachau, to the nearby railroad station. We were loaded into cattle cars, for a trip of unknown destination. Most of us—there must have been about a thousand men—were emaciated and half-dead. Somehow the crowding was not a problem as in previous train trips. For the next two or three days we were moving back and forth, without knowing or caring about our destination or our fate.
At one railroad stop the American Air Force mistook our train for a German military transport, and turned their machine guns on us. Two men in my car were killed, as were men in other cars, and many were injured. Once the attack halted we managed to open the cars. We ran out to an open field. When they saw our striped uniforms and emaciated bodies, the shelling stopped. The following day, the Germans realized there was no place to take us. We were surrounded by American troops. Suddenly the car doors were opened. The guards disappeared and we were left on our own.
So that was the end of our captivity. A group of about eight of us, who still had some strength left, took the first road we saw. We walked until we reached a farmhouse. The people gave us food to get rid of us.
Unfortunately, we had nobody to warn us not to overeat. Not that warning would have helped. It was impossible to resist the urge to eat after such a long time of starvation. The eyes just wanted to swallow everything. None of us thought of the consequences.
We ended up in an abandoned German military barracks. Most of us were bloated and very sick. Many died, and there was nobody to help us.
A few days later, in the evening, we heard shooting nearby. I thought, “The Germans are returning and this will be the end for us.” After a short time, the shooting stopped. In the morning we found out that the shooting came from American forces celebrating V-E Day.
The following day doctors, medics, and nurses came to our barracks. We were taken to a nearby sanatorium in Weileim, run by Sisters. Little by little, we gained back our strength.