My grandfather’s rescue from the camps

My grandfather was lucky in many ways (strange ways, to be sure, but still lucky). He was in Auschwitz. When the allies bombed the railway stations near Passau, he was sent to Buchenwald to help rebuild. He was close to death (under 83 pounds) when the allies freed the town and the camp. My grandfather was in a pile of bodies to be buried, when an American soldier, Sidney Schachtmeister, noticed him barely moving. Schachmeister grabbed my father and bullied his way into a hospital, insisting that they take him. This saved his life. Many of the freed inmates died when the soldiers gave them normal food and chocolate – they couldn’t handle the rich food. My grandfather was treated for a month or so in the hospital, with Shachtmeister visiting when he could and keeping in touch afterwards.

You can see the photo better in the Germany photo album on the right, but this is the photo that Sidney Schachtmeister took when he noticed that my grandfather was alive. He’s the one in the middle, facing up.

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