Oral History

Sam Spiegel reflects on survival during the Holocaust

In 1942, Sam was forced into a ghetto in his hometown and assigned to work in a munitions factory. In 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz and then forced to work in a train factory. He survived eight days on a death march after the evacuation of Auschwitz by the Nazis. He was liberated by Soviet units in January 1945. He lived in a displaced persons camp in Germany where worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. In 1947, he immigrated to the United States.


A lot of times, even now, I think, why me, why nobody else from my family except me? I can't answer that question. But what kept us together is because we were young... very, very young. The older people that had more experiences and more knowledge about life. A lot of them committed suicide or they couldn't put up with it. But we young ones, we kept each other going. You know, life was just starting for us, and we figured that this has to come to an end. We knew that a war... a war does not go on forever. And we also promised each other that somebody has to stay alive to tell what was going on in that hell, what really was going on in those camps and everywhere else. Who else is going to tell them, because now the youngest one are already almost my age. And in another short time, there's very few of us going to be left, especially witnesses that has been over there.


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