Transports to Other Camps (miracles of selection)
In the spring of 1944, all kinds of irregularities were beginning to occur in the camp. Due to the debacle on the Eastern Front, particularly at Stalingrad, and enormous shortages of war materials and food (due to ceaseless Allied bombings), the evacuations of concentration camps in Eastern Europe resulted in thousands of new prisoners in Dachau.
The capacity of Dachau grew from 5,000 in 1933 to 50,000 in 1943. Suddenly, I had to share my bunk with someone else. First we hated each other but soon we realized that by sleeping pressed together, it warmed our emaciated bodies a little. The food was late and a loaf of bread was cut into 13 slices (instead of 9 or 10), the soup was more and more clear and only on Sundays, would we find pieces of potatoes or even macaroni in it.
The overcrowding was also unbearable for other reasons. The allotted time of five minutes in the mornings for the use of toilets was suddenly shortened, and after 3-4 minutes, an orderly would come with a 3 inch hose; sprinkling everybody sitting on the toilets (which did not have seats) and chased us out as the line to use the toilets was growing.
All these events forced the camp administration to make space for thousands of new arrivals. First they created subsidiary camps; I was transferred to a nearby new camp at Rothschweige.
While in Dachau, if just one louse was found on a prisoner (or other uncleanliness of the body), that prisoner was punished severely. But in the small camp at Rothschweige, there was no sanitation at all and the barracks were practically sitting in mud! Only one tap with cold water was available for drinking and washing and, in less than one minute, we were chased from the tap; whether our bowls were full or not. Fortunately, from that temporary accommodation, we were moved to a larger camp, Allach (near the railway station, Karlsfeld-Allach).
Camps Needed for Very Urgent Work
There was a regimen here similar to Dachau, except the food was a little better, but the work output was also enormous. It consisted mostly of emergency work (repair of railways after bombings and building new lines).
A salt fish (herring) was added to our soup and on Sundays, we got a thick soup. Day and night, there were bombing raids all around the camp. Towards the end of the war, we were chased out of the barracks and into trenches, sometimes full of muddy water after rainy days.
In just such a situation, we spent the days and part of the nights in cold mud on the 28th, 29th and 30th of April 1945, listening to the explosions of incoming American artillery pieces and the defense of the last German anti-aircraft guns, which were used against the approaching American armies.
Behind Every Name a Story: Miroslav Grunwald's Memories, Introduction »
Behind Every Name a Story: Miroslav Grunwald's Memories, Dachau »
Behind Every Name a Story: Miroslav Grunwald's Memories, Liberation »
Behind Every Name a Story: Index »