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8. Liberation

Witnessing pandemonium at the Theresienstadt liberation

Anxious 16-year-old Henry Golde and other prisoners were overjoyed when the Russian army finally reached Theresienstadt

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Interviewer: What can you remember about that day?

"Oh, yes, that was quite a day. We were looking out the windows; it was like from the dungeons. And we could see what you would call here a Polish flat, that you looked up and you could see the level of the street and on the outside of this there were barracks on top but we were in the dungeons. Apparently army barracks that were built two stories high, you know, and were built out of brick and stone and so on and we were at the bottom.

And there was big gate in the barracks and a courtyard inside. On the outside, there were two Czech policemen that were guarding that particular barrack, where nobody could get in or out.

And then all of a sudden you seen a jeep pulling in and pulled right in front of the barrack gate and we seen two Russian officers get out and talking to the Czech guards and he asked them if there's any prisoners inside and apparently the Czechs told them 'Yes.'

So he says, 'Open the gates.'

And the Czechs opened the gates and they pulled in into the courtyard with the jeep and started screaming, 'Everybody get out!' And all the prisoners start pouring out from the dungeons and converging on the Russians, you know, and they picked them up and they carried them on their shoulders.

And the happiness was something that, well, I can't even describe. It was something very, very dramatic and the Russians told us, 'You can go anywhere you want. You are free.'

Everybody poured out into town and out of town and there was just pandemonium."

Golde Interview, Tape 4, Side 2
Transcript page 59 (PDF, 471 KB)

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