The Testimony Of Eva Braun- English - -

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Resource Type: Story in: English
Age: 9-18
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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In the morning we woke up and there was unbelievable quiet. The watch tower was empty. There were no SS men inside. All of a sudden we heard a sound like rumbling coming along the road. By the way, I have to say we were too weak. We were just sitting around the block. We couldnt move anymore. But some girls ventured outside. There were cars and tanks coming. We heard it. We were very frightened. Maybe the Germans had recaptured something and they were coming back. But then somebody screamed and said these were Americans. The Americans came in and liberated us.

It was freedom. We were elated. We personally, my group, were too weak to jump up and greet the soldiers because we were already beyond anything. We were drained, exhausted. We just couldnt move. But everybody was running to them. They were giving out their ration packages. They warned us right then and there that we shouldnt gorge ourselves on food because such gorging could cause sudden death. We slowly went up and got some food.

You were praying all those months to be liberated and then it hits you all of a sudden-here you are free. But after it sank in, the freedom-I am speaking for myself-I realized that I was hoping the whole time that I would see my father and maybe, hope beyond hope, my mother, although I knew that this was not a realistic hope. But my father, I was sure I would meet him. I was positive. But still there were doubts and I realized that I had to start thinking about the fact of what would happen if I would not [find him].

While I was elated by the freedom, there was tremendous fear. Who would I find? We had survived this but we now have to go back to civilization. How would we react in a normal world again. We are two young girls without anything. Who will take care of us? What will we do? It was euphoria, but it was a very ambivalent feeling. We were frightened.

Its hard to imagine that you have these feelings, but that was the next step because once we are liberated what are we going to do? We had nothing. We were afraid that we would have nobody. We needed someone who would spoil us, that would take care of us. Mostly I wanted somebody very badly; I was sort of in charge of my sister and this other girl. I wanted someone to take care of me and relieve me of this burden. It shouldnt be my problem anymore. I wanted to be somebody elses problem. I cannot explain it.

Freedom is relative. Very much so. The thought of the future weighed very heavily on me. Obviously we knew that it was no longer our problem but still we have to make a future for ourselves, and how would we make that future?

From the testimony of Eva Braun, deported to Auschwitz and Reichenbach camps, liberated at Salzwedel by the U.S. Army

The Anguish of Liberation, Testimonies from 1945, eds. Yehudit Kleiman and Nina Springer-Aharoni

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