When the train finally stopped, the cattle car doors opened in Auschwitz . First, Moshe and his brother Berek were separated from their mother and sister. Then the brothers were rushed to a room where they were told to undress, were shaved, and were then taken to a group shower. After the shower, they were covered with a disinfectant solution that burned their skin, and then finally received some clothing. Moshe joined in trying to exchange his jacket and slacks with the others in order to find a set that would actually fit. In the midst of all the chaos, Moshe met a fellow prisoner from his hometown who gave him some advice about how to survive in this terrible place.
TESTIMONY: “LOLEK’S ADVICE”
“We didn’t know where we were going.”
With Lolek’s good advice, Moshe and Berek managed to get placed on a transport to a labor camp called Friedland, which was a sub-camp of a concentration camp called Gross-Rosen. They were fortunate to be taken out of Auschwitz , but from that moment on they lost all contact with their mother and sister and knew nothing about their fates.
“I was lucky to work in the camp.”
During this time, Moshe began to hear rumors about the war finally coming to an end. Moshe didn’t know if the rumors were true or simply wishful thinking, but one day someone in the barrack managed to obtain a discarded newspaper. It was the first time Moshe saw a newspaper since before the beginning of the war. With astonishment, the inmates read that the Allies were getting closer.
In May 1945, the head of the camp addressed all the prisoners explaining that the Soviets were arriving and that the Germans had to leave immediately. Moshe noticed that the man seemed nervous and unusually humane while addressing them. The next day, the Nazi guards had disappeared, so Moshe and the other inmates ran into the woods. When the Soviet tanks arrived, Moshe and Berek returned to the camp and got a little bit of food. After that, they were on their own, and free, but didn’t know where to go or how to get home.