Shiku Smilovic of Mukacheve, Ukraine


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First-Hand Account


From Shiku Smilovic's autobiographical memoir, "Buchenwald 56466":

"Russian P.O.W.s come running into our children's Barrack Block 8 and ordered all the kids to get on the floor adjacent to the exterior wall. Our bunks were quickly removed from the room and they opened a trap door in the middle of the room.

A number of P.O.W.s lowered themselves with ropes below the floor and were bringing up machine guns, anti-tank guns, and grenades by the buckets. We could hear them yell in Russian, 'Careful, these grenades are no joke. They are all alive, be careful!' Our hearts were pumping like crazy; what did that all mean?

After about 15 minutes, the shooting started and it sounded like we were being attacked; the smaller children were crying now, and we, the older ones, were scared to death.

We heard Franta's voice....

'Nothing to worry children, the shooting that you hear is from our side: they are destroying the guard posts and the SS that are within them. Within a few hours we will be able to really say that we are free.' We were all relaxed and somehow a quiet moment came over us and we all burst out crying without being able to stop.

After about two hours of shooting the loudspeaker in the barrack makes an announcement: 'We are Free! Our boys control the camp and the surrounding villages.' We all jumped from the floor; we hugged each other and cried some more. 'We are Free! We are Free!' At about noon time the loudspeaker calls again. Attention! Attention! This is your Lagerfuhrer speaking. I just received a call from the SS chief in Weimar to fulfill the order to start destroying the camp. I told him to go to hell. We are in charge now! And you can go, and blow yourself up! Imagine, we found out from the reports that all of Buchenwald Camp was undermined and we were supposed to be blown to pieces before the surrender of the camp to the Allies. We were relieved that we were saved from destruction."








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