Zalman Grinberg on Survivors

(June 10, 1945)


From the speech made by Dr. Z. Grinberg, a former prisoner at Dachau who had served as chief physician at the hospital at St. Ottilien, Germany, to the political prisoners and former prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp, at the festive concert to mark the Liberation in Munich-Freimann on 10th June 1945.


"One thousand and seven hundred Jews, the last representatives of the European Jews, after the hardest period of sufferings ever heard of, are now here in the camp of Munich-Flakkaserne. These people are the last representatives of the venerable, old Jewish communities in Europe. Budapest and Prague, Warsaw, Kovno and Salonika are represented here. Millions of members of these communities are annihilated. What is the logic of destiny to let these individuals live?! We belong in the mass graves of those shot in Kharkov, Lublin and Kovno! We belong to the millions gassed and burnt in Auschwitz and Birkenau! We belong to those tens of thousands who died under the strains of hardest labour, tormented by milliards of lice and in mud and starvation and coldness in Lodz, Kielce, Buchenwald, Dachau, Landshut, Utting, Kaufering, Landsberg and Leonsberg. We belong to those who were gassed, hung, tormented and tortured to death in the concentration camps! We belong to the army of nine million fallen in battle from these organised and cunningly prepared methods of murder! We are not alive... we are dead!"

We have met here today to celebrate our liberation, but at the same time it is a time of mourning for us. For every bright and joyful day at present and in the future is shadowed by the tragic events of the past years. One per cent survived to see the liberation, and 99 per cent of this one per cent are very ill. Can you enjoy liberation?! Are you able to celebrate?!

Hitler lost all the battles on all the fronts, except the battle against defenceless and unarmed men, women and children! He won the war against the European Jews.

Indeed, he was helped by the German nation. However, we do not want revenge. If we took revenge, it would mean that we would fall to those moral and spiritual depths in which the German people have been lost for the last ten years.

We are not able to murder women and children! We are not able to burn millions of people! We are not able to starve hundreds of thousands!

We are free now, but we do not know how to begin our free but unfortunate lives. It seems to us that for the time mankind does not comprehend what we have gone through and what we have experienced during this period of time. And it seems to us, that we shall not be understood in future. We have forgotten how to laugh, we cannot cry any more, we do not comprehend our freedom yet, and this because we are still among our dead comrades.

Let us rise and stand silent to commemorate our dead.


Source: Yad Vashem