Oral History

Edward Adler describes roundup and deportation to the town of Oranienburg, near the Sachsenhausen camp

Edward was born to a Jewish family in Hamburg. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriage or sexual relations between German non-Jews and Jews. Edward was then in his mid-twenties. Edward was arrested for dating a non-Jewish woman. Classified as a habitual offender, he was later deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Berlin. He was forced to perform hard labor in construction projects. Edward had married shortly before his imprisonment, and his wife made arrangements for their emigration from Germany. Edward was released from custody in September 1938 and left Germany. He stayed with relatives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and later immigrated to the United States.

Transcript

We had gone to a birthday party on June the 14th with some friends of ours, so when we came home it must have been about midnight, somewhere around midnight. Four o'clock in the morning, we heard a banging on the door, and I thought those were our friends coming back to continue the celebration. I said, "Come on, go on home, it's enough already. You know, four o'clock, got to go to work tomorrow." The knocking persisted, I opened the door, and two plainclothes men with guns came into the room, "You're under arrest." "Under arrest? What for? I didn't do anything." No questions asked. They didn't push us around at that point. I was, I got dressed, they took us to a police station in the neighborhood where we were. I got into a room perhaps as large as this one right here. And there must have been two, three hundred people in there, and we didn't know what was going on. "What are you, what are you here for?" "I don't know, I didn't do anything." We didn't know anything. Nothing. We had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. All we knew, we were under arrest. Around seven o'clock or six o'clock in the morning, they loaded us all on trucks, and they took us to a remote train station in a place called Fuhlsbuettel. It's a name, it's in a, a suburb of Hamburg. The trucks were supported by a police--well, those are Storm Trooper cars, not really police cars, the private police had nothing to do with it. They had a car in front of the truck, and car in back of the truck, and one on each side with bloodhounds. To be facetious, they wanted to be sure nobody gets lost, you know. They took us to the train station, and we were loaded, we were loaded into regular trains, not boxcars, as what happened later, we were not in boxcars, we went in a regular train, and then, several hours of train ride. We didn't know where, we had no idea what was happening, and you can imagine the anxiety, some older people--I was just a young fellow, but there were some older people--started crying, we didn't know, what did we do? When we got to Berlin, they loaded us back on trucks again...no that is not correct. We went to a town called Oranienburg, which is a suburb of Berlin. How far outside of Berlin, I don't know. The train stopped, they shoved us all out of the train, and we began to march towards the camp.


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  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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