Victor Loheit

He came to 1941 Terezin in 1941, was transferred to Riga, then to Stutthof concentration camp; in 1941 his brother was taken to Mauthausen concentration camp, both his parents and his two sisters were deported to Auschwitz in 1943.

He and one of his sisters are the only members of the family who survived.

In the ghetto in Riga the German Jews and the East European Jews were housed in separate quarters. From our transport, they selected the old people, loaded them on two trucks and took them away. They were shot dead. In the shack that we were allocated we found the remains of food still on the plates, left by the families who had meanwhile been killed. victor-loheit The children’s toys were scattered on the floor. On the second day, two Jews from Ostrava took over the administration of our camp. In the next selection, they took away the sick people. Someone asked the SS, “Where do they go?” He replied, “If you want to find out feel free to join them.” In the third selection I was sent to work. A two-hour drive away from the ghetto they took us to the mass graves. There were about 1000 dead people. On the side lay their clothes and some personal belongings. We had to close the graves. In the ghetto, we more or less had to look after ourselves. Every week or every other week we received a bit of horsemeat and gruel, which we prepared in our shacks. We had to somehow get everything else, risking our lives doing so. Five women who worked in the clothes store were sentenced to death for smuggling. Every other hour one of them was shot dead. I was ordered to watch.

The SS were looking for car mechanics. Together with two other men, I signed up. We had lied; none of us had the qualifications. I was lucky and was sent to work for the army. I never heard what happened to the others. I worked in several different factories outside the ghetto. In the slaughterhouse we cut up the dead horses they brought from the frontline. To preserve the meat we hacked ice. That consumed all my strength. In another factory we repaired huge rubber boats. That is where I met my first wife. We lived together in the same shack. After the war we married.

Every day an Austrian SS-man came into the ghetto with his dog. He was only allowed to go as far as the gate, but he passed it. He had to accompany the women to work. One of them was his lover. They decided to run away. The SS found them and took them back. The woman was shot dead. What happened to the man is not known to me.

The Latvian Jews were very rich. When the war began they hid some of their valuables. As I was working – I had to fell trees – I found a box with jewelry. I took its contents and gave it to a fellow prisoner. I was not courageous enough to trade it for food myself.

On Sunday afternoon I did not work. For some time we were able to forget our misery. We had fun, danced and played cards for our last Czech crowns.

Born July 7, 1912 in Pisek, married, retail salesman.

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