Comments: 322 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

cradlewood-manor51 karma

Hi everyone! My grandpa is getting tried, although is thankful for all of your questions and was very happy to engage.

I will continue to answer questions on his behalf from what I know. I will indicate when I do not know an answer.

shellica12 karma

Again, thank you. I am beyond thankful to have some wisdom from your grandfather and I hope it wasn't too hard on him to answer this many questions in such a short period.

cradlewood-manor14 karma

he was happy to be involved. thank you so much for being engaging.

veganmeatpole37 karma

What was something you did to keep your spirits up during your time in the camps?

cradlewood-manor116 karma

nothing. i survived by shutting off instead of having hope or high spirits. i was able to turn off.

KeepinPace34 karma

How did they find you to be sent to extermination camps?

cradlewood-manor76 karma

we were all told we were being sent to work jobs in germany and we got into the cattle cars willingly.

shellica33 karma

Do you still have faith in humanity after what you've been through?

cradlewood-manor77 karma

"Yes" is all i can get him to say about this one.

pseudology_raps31 karma

What would you say to someone that is a Holocaust denier? And how do you feel about the current genocides happening now?

cradlewood-manor123 karma

He has tried to write a book entitled "Can You See What They Do To You" about other genocides around the world and how they have gotten very little attention in comparison to the holocaust. he feels education on the violence is key. his book was never successfully published commercially, but here is an amazon link: http://www.amazon.ca/Can-You-See-What-They/dp/053315197X

PuckeredSphincter30 karma

What was it like the week/days before liberation? Did he know that they would soon be free?

cradlewood-manor84 karma

"In the daytime a week before liberation I was 
assigned to a commando that worked in the stone quarries. The S.S 
guard must have been in Auschwitz at its beginning when half of the inmates were daily killed at work. He remembered me from then. And when he asked me and I told 
him I came from Auschwitz he told me to rest and work only if the 
superior passed by. The end was coming then, i knew.

PuckeredSphincter19 karma

How did it feel knowing that soon it would be over? What was the moral of the camp during this time?

cradlewood-manor48 karma

everyone was exhausted in equal measure. guards and prisoners alike.

PuckeredSphincter19 karma

What happened the day you were set free? Did they just open the gates or was there a certain process?

cradlewood-manor70 karma

We were counted and set up to go and the S.S man lifted the arm of his baton yelling "Achtung!" And before he could finish with the word "march" he was shot dead from behind by an American soldier. A tank was behind us and the soldier waved for us to go behind it and hide: we ran and we were at the outskirts of a German village. Everyone ran into the houses to get some food. I was too beat to eat and very weak from the Typhoid so I lay down in an empty pharmacy, on the floor and I had two raw chicken eggs I put in my pocket.

ludlowdown17 karma


cradlewood-manor33 karma

according to my grandfather, he was mid-march between camps when they were liberated from American soldiers. "We marched westward through the Bravarian countryside and in the daytime American planes flew very low so I could see the pilots face behind his mask. They were machine-gunning us mercilessly. We waved at them 
with bed sheets and they could see our striped clothes. The Americans killed more inmates in the last 8 days than the Germans did."

He says the last camp he was incarcerated in was called Flossenburg.

PutinStoleMyGF11 karma

The American pilots were killing prisoners on the ground?

cradlewood-manor23 karma

yes, according to my grandfather.. "The Americans killed more inmates in the last 8 days than the Germans did."

brezhnevfordinner30 karma

I teach the Holocaust twice a year at high school level, and I'm always very keen to hear the thoughts of survivors regarding education about the event. What does your grandad think is the most important thing for students (in any country) to learn about the Holocaust? And, non-genocide related, what is his favourite romantic comedy? :)

cradlewood-manor84 karma

he says the most important thing about education in regards to the holocaust is to remember it was driven by hate. and that hate is the most destructive force of all.

He says he loves some movie called "porgy and bess" haha.

claire026 karma

Thanks so much to both of you for doing this AMA! Very interesting :) Question: What is his most vivid memory of the experience?

cradlewood-manor74 karma

we were forced to do what were entitled "sport exercises" where we had to do a series of memorized steps and motions. like choreography. and if someone could not keep up with the steps they were taken out of line and murdered with a shovel to their neck. we did this very often. i was very quick.

shellica42 karma

I gasped. Please let your grandfather know that his openly discussing his experiences is an incredibly important, and equally incredibly selfless thing to do. (My father was in Vietnam and he is, understandably, unable to discuss his experiences to this day. I understand how hard discussing the type of trauma most of us will never encounter is for a person.)

cradlewood-manor30 karma

thank you for reaching out

ShireRamone25 karma

Pre-war, what was your life like?

cradlewood-manor87 karma

difficult. i was from a farming village and we led terribly difficult lives. but it was the city jews who dropped like flies in the concentration camps. they were not prepared physically the way we had been.

Hakim_Slackin24 karma

I apologize for asking so many questions successively, but this is, for me, a very rare opportunity.

1) What kind of recreation did they have or enjoy after evening roll-call?

2)How important was song for maintaining good spirits for people in the camps?

cradlewood-manor48 karma

he says he does not remember any pleasant recreation that didnt involve eating or sleeping.

NoForReally22 karma

Would you describe for us a typical day at a concentration camp?

Other than your brother, were any members of your family at the same camp?

What were the attitudes of the prisoners in general; did they seem only to lookout for themselves or was there a sense of community? Can you recall any stories to demonstrate one or the other?

Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.

cradlewood-manor42 karma

"About half of the people were sent to an underground coal mine and came out in the evening all black, but they all got a small yellow soap bar to wash up. This soap had printed on it three letters-RIF and we were told that it was made of pure Jewish fat. I kept one of these bars. A memento. I was not sent to the coal mines, I was given a shovel digging up foundations for a factory building. I was a good worker and had no problems. We were returned to the camp in the evenings"

and to the second questions.

He, his brother and his mother were all sent into the extermination camps. they all survived, which is a very rare case. His brother did however pass away a few weeks after liberation from an infected wound.

dreadddit21 karma

ever been confronted by any holocaust deniers?

cradlewood-manor41 karma

never until i created this AMA. there has been a surprising amount of input from deniers.

ModestMussorgsky14 karma

Welcome to the internet, where the assholes are anonymous and facts are meaningless.

cradlewood-manor11 karma


claire021 karma

Did his brother also make it out? What did he/they do afterwards?

cradlewood-manor64 karma

His brother survived by a couple of weeks. In the final few days of improsnment his brother was shot in the back. The bullet was removed but he was eventually to die of infection. This was the most difficult loss in my grandfathers life.

str8sin21 karma

get a tattoo on your arm? still there? just a number? or nothing?

cradlewood-manor54 karma

"A9555" was tattooed on his arm and his brother received "A9556"

str8sin20 karma

huh... did he ever consider removing it? or is it just something that he doesn't think about?

cradlewood-manor68 karma

he says he would never remove it and this is is apart of who is he is. he says he is judgemental of jews who chose to erase their marks.

ShiraMizrachi20 karma

(granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor) Does your grandfather remember the invasion of Czechoslovakia? What did he feel when he heard about it? (Love and hugs from Tel-Aviv)

cradlewood-manor25 karma

Hi Shira,

Yes my grandfather remembers, but he says many people were misinformed about what was happening, and that most people thought they were being rounded up to go work in german cities.

Thank you for reaching out!

mrxnapkins20 karma

How did you feel when you were liberated?

cradlewood-manor80 karma

"Exhausted and starved. I found a pharmacy in a nearby town and fell alseep for maybe 24 hours. Many immediately ate and died as their stomachs were not ready for that much food intake."

PhysicsSaysNo19 karma

Which of the movies you've seen best show what conditions were like in the camps?

cradlewood-manor49 karma

Schindler's List.

He says he also participated in a Spielberg documentary about the holocaust and was involved in on-camera interviews for the project.

PhysicsSaysNo19 karma

Thank you for your answer, and tell him I am amazed at his courage and determination for surviving all of that. Also, what was the name of the Spielberg documentary?

cradlewood-manor30 karma

it was series of holocaust testimonials curated by Speilberg, here is some info: http://jewishgen.blogspot.ca/2008/09/spielberg-holocaust-testimonials-now.html

MediocreAttorney18 karma

What town & country is your grandfather from? Does/Did he hold resentment against non-Jewish people in his town that aided the Nazis? How about those who simply did nothing to help the Jews? Thanks for both of your time.

cradlewood-manor29 karma

He is from a small town called Zabrod in what was once Czechoslovakia, and I believe is now the Ukraine (but i am not sure). in regards to your question, he says "no one cared about the Jews and so we did not expect them to"

Hakim_Slackin17 karma

Thank you for offering your perspectives on your times and for facilitating (grandson)

1) Does he remember many non-Jewish prisoners around; political, religious, etc?

2)Who were his guards? Were they Germans, Ukrainians, etc?

cradlewood-manor36 karma

He says he remembers that all of the gypsys were placed into the same camp. And that they were never forced to work and were never murdered, until one morning, they awoke and were told that the entire gypsy barrack had been exterminated in one day. he says he does not remember many non jews.

Hakim_Slackin17 karma

What is your grandpa's favorite "ethnic" food?

cradlewood-manor40 karma

He loves Japanese. When he was physically able we would go for Sushi on occasion.

Hakim_Slackin16 karma

Is it true that prisoners received two cigarettes a day?

cradlewood-manor48 karma

he says he doesn't know anything about this but the he could trade extra labour for the occasional extra slice of bread or bowl of soup.

SWIMsfriend15 karma

what is his favorite episode of the Simpsons? Is he watching the marathon right now?

cradlewood-manor34 karma

he says the Simpsons is ridiculous haha

cymmot15 karma

What goes through your mind when you hear people deny that the Holocaust ever happened?

cradlewood-manor33 karma

He said something along the lines of "non jews dont care about jews and they still do not"

MG8714 karma

Has he read any of Elie Wiesel's books and what does he think of them?

cradlewood-manor36 karma

He has and apparently he is not a fan of the work "Night". Im not sure why but he has talked badly about it in the past.

claire013 karma


cradlewood-manor26 karma

he says any education on past or current atrocities is helpful in the prevention of further violence.

shellica13 karma

What is one thing you'd like to see every person reading this AMA to do to better the world we live in?

cradlewood-manor45 karma

He's getting tired, so i think this is coming to a close, but for this question he said simply "read more"

shellica12 karma

Past or present, what has been your greatest joy in life?

cradlewood-manor54 karma

My family, four beautiful daughters and five wonderful grandsons.

PsySom12 karma

What was it like feeling like your government was turning against you, and not being able to stop it?

cradlewood-manor23 karma

he is from a small town who had very little incoming information about anything political. they were told they were going to germany for work. most of his peers and family were not aware anyone was turning on them until they were imprisoned, and even then there was a lot of confusion about what was actually happening to them.

schrodingers_beaver12 karma

I know I'm probably too late but, when he was finally liberated was he certain he was finally free or did he maintain a fear that he would end up back in (in the coming weeks/months, not long term)? It would be terrible to be frightened for any amount of time that it would happen again. I've not heard much about the moral as far as how certain they were it was finally over for good.

cradlewood-manor10 karma

i will find this out for you tomorrow. thank you for your question.

Hakim_Slackin10 karma

What wisdom would he give this stranger, pertaining to anything under the moon or the sun?

cradlewood-manor26 karma

don't become a doctor.

reedandrew08 karma

Does your grandfather have any lingering medical effects from his time in the camp?

cradlewood-manor9 karma

there are no lingering physical effects that we know of, but the psychological effects are glaringly obvious from time to time.

Iceyeeye6 karma

My question, why is Holocaust in all caps?

cradlewood-manor24 karma

im fairly new to reddit, but from my experience, it can be helpful to make the most relevant word in your title all caps. this way when people scan down they will automatically be made aware of what this post is about. i apologize if that seems obnoxious.

rr09104 karma

Being jewish, the holocaust is always a sensitive topic for me. I know for myself that the odds of me surviving the holocaust would be zero. It bothers me to no end when people compare the holocaust to other genocides. I always say that it is something that isn't comparable to anything that the would understand. The stories i have been told have been passed through the generations of my family. My great grandfather escaped the Ukraine on a boat with two of his brothers and one of his sisters, days before the capture of his village. Only him and one of his brothers survived. The rest of his family was later captured, his father was placed in a work camp along with his oldest brother, his mother to a death camp as well as his other sister. None of them survived.

On that note...Did your grandfather have anyone in his family from whom he has not seen again? (because they escaped before it was too late or they were separated when being shipped to or from camps)

cradlewood-manor8 karma

fortunately my grandfather didn't lose anyone during the holocaust itself, and although his brother died two weeks later, he was able to find him before his passing.

rr09102 karma

Good to hear he found his brother before he passed. Good to have some sort of closure rather than not knowing. My condolences to your grandfather. And thank you for representing him in this AMA and for making this possible.

cradlewood-manor4 karma

thank you for reaching out

the_good_time_mouse3 karma

What is his opinion on how Israel is treating the Palestinians and Gaza?

cradlewood-manor15 karma

he says he is "passionate about the safety of the jewish state." i urged for more information but he was hesitant as this is a public forum.

Skyorange1 karma

Am I missing something about the proof? OP just put a link to some paper, followed by a book that might not even be about the holocaust.

cradlewood-manor4 karma

The second is a link of a book he wrote about his holocaust experience (to an extent, there is also opinions on world politics). The first link is a paper with his name listed.