Oral History

Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes the death march from Auschwitz

Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.


We knew that it was the last days of the war, we knew because of the bombings and we knew because of the way the Germans soldiers were pushing us and pulling us already and emptying the camps and whatever. They took us all and put us together, all of the people from camps, and they had us march through towns and through fields. They didn't know where to put us anymore and they didn't know what to do with us and there was no food because the Germans were losing the war. Oftentimes as they marched us through a town, a window would open and a shutter would open and either a potato or a loaf of bread would come flying out and the shutter would close after. And we would all pounce on this potato or this whatever this piece of food was that came at us. And of course they would shoot at us, but we didn't care at that point because we were hungry. The streets were literally covered with bodies as we marched. We would pass bodies, body after body after body, people that were dropping dead from hunger, from disease, from dysentery, because they did not have the strength or because they gave up.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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