jan 1, 1939 - Martin's Story


Martin's home town of Polana was subject to Hitler's anti-Semitic laws. The laws changed his life a lot. His school was shut down, so he had to attend a Russian School. When he would play with kids he would get called a "Dirty Jew." Martin lost his friendship with his brothers because they were sent off to work in a slave labor camp. Over the next few years his family struggled, but they managed to cope. The Weiss family was stuffed in cattle cars, and went without food or water for days. They ended up in Auschwitz. Martin was scared that he wouldn't be picked to work, but Martin, his father, and his brother were all sent to the labor side. Martin saw his mother and sister in a group near him, so he tried to run towards them but a Kapo grabbed him by the collar and shoved him back to the workers side. Martin then found out that some of his family had been cremated and burned to death. Martin was put into a cattle car, he couldn't move or talk and got no food at all. The train eventually stopped, and they were in Mauthausen. Mauthausen was one of the Nazis largest concentration camp complexes. After Martin arrived he got given the number 68912 (they put that number on a bracelet). The Kapos controlled everyone and everything at the camp. Prisoners would get hit with broomsticks when they were acting very slow. Martin contracted a serious eye infection that went untreated for a year. He had to clean out the puss that glued his eye shut. After a couple weeks in Mauthausen, Martin was shipped off to a sub camp in the city of Melk. Martin noticed that his dad was looking sick, so he offered to share his bread with his father. They were always trying to help each other. The Kapos would costintley count the prisoners to make sure no one escaped. Martin was selected along with several inmates for a special job. He was outside in the nice sun and Martin loved it. Then he saw a plane with bombs he thought that it was going to bomb him but then it went to his barrack and killed 500 people. One day Martin was working in the tunnels and he left to use the bathroom, when he returned the tunnel had been burned down. That was the second time his life was saved. Martin would only get vegetable soup and bread to eat for a days worth of food. Martin hated the soup, but he ate it anyway because hunger will do anything to a starving person. A man named Erno got Martin a job of peeling potatoes. Martin liked it way more than the tunnels. Hunger got to Martin and he would take peels of the potatoes and hid them in his pants for him and his family to eat. Work, sleep, hunger, and exhaustion was Martin's life. Martin would sleep a lot when he wasn't supposed to because he was so tired and exhausted. In the winter the weather would pluge to zero below, so prisoners would take empty cement bags and wore them under their shirts for insulation. When men would go to work the guards would check for cement bags because they were illegal for the prisoners to have. Martin lost a lot of his family in the concentration camps, and that made it really hard for him to go along with life. Then Martin found out that his dad had died. He couldn't shed a single tear because the concentration camps have stripped him from any feelings of a normal human being. Martin stayed out of trouble with the guards because he followed the rules. One day during a role call a officer extended his hand and gave Martin a piece of bread. That was the only kind gesture Martin got from any guard in the camps. As the Red Army got closer to Melk, prisoners including Martin got shipped back to Mauthausen. After not that long of being in Mauthausen, Martin got sent to a death march. Prisoners were only given moldy bread and tea. During the march, the prisoners got to sleep in a barrack but the guards put 15,000 prisoners in a barrack that was made to hold 1,000 people. Martin weighted 75 pounds, but was still in better shape then some of the other prisoners. There was a stench that was always there in the camps. Smell from urine, bugs, and decomposing corpses. Then on May 4, 1945,m the prisoners woke up and discovered the guards were gone. But most people including Martin were too afraid to leave the camp because they thought it was a trap. Martin and others went to a woman's house and asked for food, and she fed them. There were American soldier trucks and soldiers and that is when Martin realized that he wasn't a item anymore, he was a real human being again.

Added to timeline:

10 months ago
Survivors of the Holocaust


jan 1, 1939
~ 80 years ago
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