David Bergman

David Bergman

Born: May 3, 1931

Velikiye-Bychkov, Czechoslovakia

David was born to religious Jewish parents in a small town in Ruthenia, Czechoslovakia's easternmost province, which had been ruled by Hungary until 1918. Located in the Carpathian Mountains, the town was so isolated that news from the rest of the country would arrive by a drummer who would read the news in the town's central square. David's father worked as a tailor and his mother was a seamstress.

1933-39: While David's parents worked, he would be at home having a good time. They had a beautiful home with all the necessary comforts, including an outhouse in the back. A Czech army officer lived in their home until the Hungarians annexed their province in March of 1939. After that, at school David had to pledge allegiance to Hungary. Hungarian police with feathers in their green hats patrolled their streets enforcing anti-Jewish laws.

1940-44: David was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 [and soon after was selected for deportation to the Plaszow concentration camp]. Later, at the Reichenbach camp he was crammed in an open cattle car with 150 living skeletons headed for another concentration camp. One by one they fell down and were trampled. After half died, it was possible to sit on the dead. Someone fell on him--the person was dying. David hadn't had any food or water in four days. With all his remaining strength David pushed the body off and fell on top of him. He tried to push David away, but they were both too weak. In a final effort, he bit David's leg and then died.

David was one of three who survived the seven-day trip to the Dachau camp. He was freed near Innsbruck, Austria, in May 1945 and immigrated to the United States in 1947.