Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Forced laborers break away from a Polish labor camp
Fred Platner and hundreds of other recent arrivals at a labor camp escaped en masse by running into the woods
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"And I really don't know how everybody knew. We just got the message around talking to people and telling them, 'Tonight would be the night.'
Well anyway, that particular night, this is only after a few days, we got up and we started running into the woods. And nobody looked back. Everybody's running for their life.
And by the time the Germans started shooting with the machine guns in the dark — I don't know if they caught anybody and anybody fell down. I wouldn't know the difference. And as I say, when you run for your lives you keep on running, you don't look back [to see] who's getting killed or not. Besides you couldn't have changed anything anyway looking back.
So we run into the woods and it's amazingly that with that many, a few hundred people, you know, and everybody runs in different directions, finally after a couple days you start making connection with other people in the woods again. You know and it was very dangerous in the woods.
You couldn't move at daytime since the Germans had patrols trying to find us in the woods and the Polish people who were living in that territory — we were afraid they're not the best friends of the Jewish people. Even so, you know, being under control.
So we had to be very careful moving and there was times, some people still had a little pack with them, you know, grabbing and running, maybe a shirt or two, that they would have Polish snipers firing out at daytime from the woods at us.
So we tried to move mostly at night."
Platner Interview, Tape 4, Side 1
Transcript page 65 (PDF, 942 KB)