Oral History

Sam Itzkowitz describes a death march from Landsberg, a subcamp of Dachau, to the Bavarian Alps

The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. When Makow was occupied, Sam fled to Soviet territory. He returned to Makow for provisions, but was forced to remain in the ghetto. In 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz. As the Soviet army advanced in 1944, Sam and other prisoners were sent to camps in Germany. The inmates were put on a death march early in 1945. American forces liberated Sam after he escaped during a bombing raid.


They decided to march us towards the Bavarian mountains, to the Alps. 'Til today I don't know what the reason was. Either they wanted to destroy us in, in those mountains or they were going to trade us off through Switzerland. There was the death march. Well, I was already so weak that I could barely walk. That march was, took about ten to two...ten days to two weeks. Snow in the daytime, snow at night, every...it was March, and the weather in, in March in Germany is just worse than here. Every hour we had a different...And we had to sleep outside...er we always...they always camped us out somewhere in an open field. And we just huddled together like animals in the street, in the...in the in the wilderness. And tried to, just tried to stay alive. And on top of it we saw planes coming over us every...And we were praying, hoping, we says, "Come on, drop them, get it over with." Well I don't know. I think the pilots saw that we were prisoners and they dropped bombs all around us, but never on us. See we were wearing those striped uh uniforms. And they didn't fly too high to start with because they were bombing in the daytime. So probably this is the only thing that saved us.


  • Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
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