JTA Correspondent, Arriving in Liberated Camp, Finds Corpses of 1,500 Hungarian Jews
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JTA Correspondent, Arriving in Liberated Camp, Finds Corpses of 1,500 Hungarian Jews

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As correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, I arrived today in the Nordlager Ohrdruf camp, from which the Germans retreated yesterday taking with them about 3,500 internees, and killing the remainder, including 1,500 who were deported from Hungary.

Many of the bodies of the massacred were burned by the Germans prior to retreating, but some of the corpses were only half-burned. The bodies of the 1,500 Hungarian Jews were discovered in huge mess-pits, a half mile away from the camp, in a woods near a tank testing ground. The Nazis tried to burn these bodies, so as to leave no trace of the atrocities. They laid beside the pits 24 stretch rails for a mass grate. Six tar barrels and piles of cut fire logs remained. There were also fifteen-feet-long hook-ended poles for manipulating the burning corpses.

Seven ghostly-looking slave workers liberated by the speedy advance of the units of the Fourth Armored Division were questioned by this correspondent. One of them, who said his name was Yehuda and who is only 19 years old, related how for five years he has been driven by the Germans from prison to prison. He is an invalid, since his toes were cut off by the Gestapo after severe beatings. He is the last of a family of five, the others were all aremated by the Germans in the notorious Oswiccim camp in Poland.

Another survivor among the seven is a 17-year-old Hungarian Jew who said that his name was Alex. “I have been here for four months,” he stated. “I was brought here from the Jewish concentration camp which the Germans established in Birkeneu and where I had been led to the gas chamber together with my younger brother. In the final selection, the Gestapo officials decided that I was big enough to be used for slave labor, but my brother was too young to do hard work, so I saw how they killed him in the gas chamber. These clothes that I have on me were given to me from the gas chamber. When brought here I was put to work at building an underground factory nearby producing V-weapons.”

Another of the survivors is Joachim Leipziger, who was deported by the Germans from Brussels because he was a German-Jewish refugee. He is so weak that he is not able to remain on his feet. The camp officials and the saidistic commanders of the camp succeeded in escaping together with the retreating German units. Lt. Tannenbaum of New York and Sgt. Egon Fleck of Los Angeles have been assigned to aid the surviving wraiths.

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