Oral History

Alan Zimm describes liberation from Bergen-Belsen

The Germans occupied Kolo in 1939. In 1942 Alan was deported to the Lodz ghetto where he worked in food distribution. He took food each day to Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, chairman of the Jewish council. In 1944 Alan was forced to unload trainloads of coal and munitions in Czestochowa. In 1945 he was sent to the Dora-Mittelbau camp. As the Soviet army advanced, the inmates were transferred to Bergen-Belsen, where British forces liberated them in April.


Exactly at nine o'clock the gate of the camp which was two blocks away. You could see far away, the gate, opened up and a jeep with four military police, the English dressed up in the white belts and the white gloves and the red hats. They sit in the front of the jeep, four of them with machine guns like that. And a truck with loudspeakers behind them, and he said, "My dear friends..." in every language. In German, in Polish, in Yiddish, you name it. "From now on you are free. You are liberated by the Allied forces. And the Germans have nothing to do it to you anymore. You are free people." Everybody was crying. It was such an emotional experience. It's hard to describe it. The people were jumping and hugging and kissing. And everybody was running to the jeep. They...the MP went down and they lifted up the MPs on their shoulders and carried him all the way around the block. And still people did not believe. There were a lot of people still afraid. And they were coming with...with trucks. A couple military police came in and they took over.


  • Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
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