I am looking for children-survivors, boys and girls, who were in Sachsenhausen near Oranienburg, between December 1944 and April 1945, when the camp was liberated by the Russians. We, a group of around 20 children, were living in what was called “the Revier” barracks where sick inmates where taken (possibly only women in the barrack I was staying ). Only nurses and doctors took care of us, and some people in street clothing, SS -men guarded us .
Every experiment done to us children, a nurse would take us to “another room”. Only twice did I see an inmate in the hallway of the basement. who had to clean the floor on hands and knees. I met one of them in 1995 at the reunion in Sachsenhausen.
We children (I at least) were kept in the basement, with high windows, through which one could only see legs passing by. We had to lay in bed all the time, there were three other girls in my room, we never talked to each other, but I believe two girls were French, and one was Polish.
One day I had to go to a room that was the Doctor’s Office, located in a smaller building (also one-story) that stood at right angles between the two Revier barracks. It also had rooms for experiments. Both of the Revier barracks ( Sick bay) can still be seen today at Sachsenhausen. Once there (in the doctor’s office) we had to dance to a piece of music that I believe was a Klezmer song, holding hands—one Nurse, one child. There were at least four nurses and four children in this group. Later, with this same music, we were used in experiments under hypnosis.
The Red Cross inspected the building at least twice. We children were told to be very quiet or we would die. Another time, we were sent to a fenced-in yard—the only time we were allowed to play—while watched over by SS-men. Some of the boys found ammunition shells that were at least as long as an adult arm. I was later told by my uncle that only one area produced and used such shells, nearby Oranienburg.
One day a picture was taken: I was told to get dressed, and given grey , hand knitted ‘braided’ knee socks to wear, I was taken to a courtyard with benches and told to stand on it. There came around twenty children, boys and girls, all wore these knee socks . A man in a long leather coat that almost touched the dirt at each step, was parading before us. I remember he had a club foot, and a photographer took pictures of us.
There also were individual pictures taken of several children, boys and girls, where we had to remove our clothes down to the waist. A women lifted our arm and positioned us in such a way that the scars we had on our bodies would show up on the photograph. The room had two doors. It was like an assembly line: one child would leave, one child came into the room, one was sitting on the chair and had their picture taken and another child was helped by taken off their clothes.
Around the end of March 1945, I was used in an experiment that left me paralyzed. I could not move, talk or swallow, but my hearing was good, so I heard that all the children with the nurses were to be taken “to a new place.” I was placed in a room that had several women (but I was the only child in the room).
I was found in a room all by myself. A Russian soldier took me to a group of children for a picture—I would say we were 8 or 9 children, with a woman with long blond hair standing in the middle. My recollection would place the smallest boy at 5 years and the tallest boy around 13 or 14 years of age. The oldest boy had his arms crossed at all times over his chest. I think there was one other girl around 9 years old. I was 8-1/2 years old.
After the picture was taken they took us to the Russian General, who asked his advisers “what to do with us ?” We then had to go to a building that had 8 showers in a row, upstairs, and we all had to take a shower to “remove the dirt of the camp.” We stayed together for several days after liberation, and several pictures were taken of us.
There was also a Dutch doctor after liberation who took care of us. We took walks in the camp where he also took pictures of us.
I know that every survivor has different memories—I hope that this helps to jog memories others may have. If anyone can remember being in Sachsenhausen, the camp was near Berlin-Oranienburg. In the background past the camp, you could see very tall trees that had limbs of pine needles only on the top like a bush, in someway like palm trees , and also a tall, red brick chimney—now part of the emblem for the camp.
If you know of any pictures or anyone that was one of us children (there were only a few), please have them contact me through the email address:
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