Searching for Family After the Holocaust
Oral History Item Type Metadata
After we were liberated, and--well, we'll talk about this in more detail. But we went--I went back to the men's camp to search for my father and brother. And when I found eventually the camp, I looked all over, in all the barracks and all the bunks, and they were not there.
But I found two other men that I knew. One was Mr. Hirsch, whom we had known in Amsterdam, and he had a broken leg and he was left behind by the Germans when they evacuated most of the camp. And the other person I came across was Otto Frank, Anne's father. And of course he asked me if I had seen his family, his two daughters and his wife, but I had never come across them. And I asked him, of course, again, if he had come across my father and brother, and he said, "Yes, I have seen them, but they went on those death marches." But at that time, we didn't know about that; we only knew that the camp was evacuated.
So till we returned back to Holland in June 1945, I still had really hoped that they had survived. And only after several weeks, when we had returned, we got a notification of the Red Cross that my father and brother both had died in the Austrian camp Mauthausen several days before the end of the war. But there was no exact date; it was just really a suggestion, what they had thought.
And so, having this note with no actual, factual--you know, that nobody had really seen them die--I still believed for many, many, many years that they would return. Because Europe was in a terrific turmoil for many years after the war: there were thousands, hundreds of thousands of displaced people all over the continent. And many had walked to Russia or to Poland, and it did happen that after three, four years, people returned from the east. So this was a hope I held on to for many, many years; but it didn't happen, of course.