Born: 1924, Warsaw, Poland
Describes the moments following his liberation from a death march from the Dachau camp [Interview: 1989]
I remember, I was laying down. This guy says "Oh my God, what a sight." [crying]. A sight. They start picking up the people. They picked them up one by one. Most of them were dead because they couldn't...and...the less that were alive they put them in trucks and jeeps, and they took them to hospitals or they made tents and they put them in. They gave them water. They gave them packets from the Red Cross. And this was bad too because people when they got those packages, there was powdered milk, there was chocolate, there was a can of meat, and they were so hungry, they didn't care, and they ate it. So hundreds died from eating this stuff, because their stomach was not used to food. And I had a guy next to me, I don't know if he was a doctor once or something--he was half dead too... When he got that package, and I think he was Hungarian or Romanian, he says to me, "Don't eat nothing. Don't eat nothing. If you going to eat anything, you going to die. The only thing you do, if you have sugar, take the sugar in the mouth and suck on the sugar. That's the only thing you should do," he says, "the rest of them throw away. And if you want to keep it, keep it, but don't eat anything. Don't take the milk in your mouth. Don't take the chocolate. Don't take the meat"--because they used to give you a can of meat, Spam--"Don't eat it, because if you're going to eat it, you're going to die." And that's what happened. Those people, they eat the stuff, they got diarrhea and they died.
Like many other Jews, the Lewents were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, as Abraham hid in a crawl space, the Germans seized his mother and sisters in a raid. They perished. He was deployed for forced labor nearby, but escaped to return to his father in the ghetto. In 1943, the two were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. U.S. troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum - Collections