“Behold my misery and save me.”
We started out on yet another march because the Russians were nearing the camp. Five days of marching, and we were less and less able to walk because of our diminished strength. Some were given help and put on couches rigged to horses. Our destination: Concentration Camp Gunskirchen–a “gem” in the Austrian forest. The exhausted victims from the couches were thrown directly into open graves, then killed.
The barracks were packed full of people squatting–one on each side of you, one in front of you, knee to knee, one in back of you–crammed together. We were confined to the barracks 12 hours at night. During the night, some of the weaker prisoners toppled over, burying others underneath, so that many suffocated. During the day, we were lined up and counted three times, for two hours. Food was given to us from a barrel the SS stood in. Our breakfast was a cup of coffee; our dinner, a cup of soup and a slice of bread. The toilet facilities consisted of a room for 12 men and 16 women for a prison population of 30,000. You had to use the “facilities” when you could find time to go–when you were not standing in line or confined to your barracks. Diarrhea or constipation afflicted everyone. Those who could not wait to use the toilet were executed on the spot.
One day an unusual alarm sounded, and everyone was ordered out of the barracks. The SS announced that someone had eaten meat. Who did it? Meat? Here? Ahh, they had eaten part of a corpse. Declaring what an “inhumane act” this was, the SS shot the perpetrators in front of us to “teach us respect for the dead ones.” Oh, what a lesson in humanity.