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A Mother’s Shoah, Purim

Purim

Purim was approaching. I remember it fell on Tuesday. We were ordered to get ready to march away at 9 P.M. They didn’t tell us, of course, where we were to go; we learned though that the British were very close. We became so agitated we went almost crazy – here we were to be marched off and shot dead somewhere in a roadside ditch, as our friendly female SS troopers kept promising – while, at the same time, we were so close to being liberated …

Evacuation_march-Dachau_1945

Evacuation of female camp prisoners from Dachau, 1945.

Evening did come that Tuesday after all, as we started off without food again, since there was none left. The irony of it all was that we were ordered to our death march on the eve of Purim. All night long we marched, hungry, exhausted and without knowing where we were and where we were going. Our only solace was the sight of the retreating mass of German troops, which we could now see with our own eyes. Next day we were allowed a rest during the day, to lay down in a cold, semi frozen field. We were exhausted to such a degree that we hardly knew what we were doing anymore; nevertheless, we were marched off again in the evening. It was 3 A.M. when we arrived at a village, where we spent the rest of the night in two barns. While on the road, an unending stream of German cars and soldiers passed by us. Some of the older soldiers were decent enough to encourage us, and a petty officer of Hungarian or German Hungarian descent even told us to slow down, for the Allies would catch up with us soon.