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I had nightmares, of course, for I would say, for a couple of months.
You know, waking up, thinking that I'm still in the camps
And I was so happy that I was in a real bed.
In order to have a little bit of pleasure, let's say, which is, there's not too much of it in the camps, I made friends with two Polish kids.
We didn't get too much sleep, and we used to just get out real early in the morning.
Because in the barracks, it was just crying and screaming and praying.
And it wasn't unusual, that a prisoner who was laying next to you, to go to sleep, when you woke up, they were dead.
In any of these camps, everything is so the same, day in and day out that when anything unique happens, that is not on the schedule, you always immediately try to talk about it.
Is this good news or bad news?
One morning, we came out, and the first thing we saw was that there's no guards in the guard towers.
So, we are sneaking between the barracks towards the gate, and lo and behold, nobody's there.
So we get enough courage to go to the gate, and we notice there's a heavy chain with a padlock on it.
And it's a very very foggy morning.
And we are just dumbfounded.
All of a sudden, there's a break in the fog, like a mirage.
And, all you see is two horses with a horseman.
As he's coming closer, one of the Polish kids says to me, "Look at his hat!"
And it was a red star, a Russian soldier.
He comes to the gate and he says, "I'm advance guard, nobody can leave the camp, because there all sorts of diseases."
"You're full of lice, and you haven't been washed in four months."
But he says, as he takes out his gun, shoots off the padlock, "Doctors will be coming, medication will be coming, food will be coming very shortly."
So the three of us, as fast as our skinny legs can carry us, we go to every barrack in the vicinity, open up the door, in every language that we know, just yelling, "We are free, we are free!"
And you'll never forget that moment, the sounds from the barracks.
Those who are able to walk out to the sunlight, walk out.
Those who can't walk, are, crawling out.
I have to pass through a little area where there are little bungalows.
And this is where the SS families were staying, and they must have left in a big hurry.
Because I go into one of the bungalows, and I open up the closet, the clothing in there.
Open up the pantry, food, and then I go into the bathroom, and I turn on the water, hot water.
Fluffy towels, shampoo, soap I haven't seen for a year.
I make a little victory dance on my...prisoner uniform.
Get in there and take my first hot shower in a year.
It's wonderful.
I'm basically, I'm trying to have as many happy moments as possible, at my age, you know, you can't take any chances.
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A Holocaust Survivor Recalls The Day He Was Liberated

1661 Folder Collection
Annie Chien published on September 19, 2019    Annie Chien translated    eunice4u4u reviewed
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