The word “Holocaust,” from the Greek words “holos” (meaning whole) and “kaustos” (meaning burned), was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar. In 1945, the word Holocaust took on a different meaning when the Nazis took over: in which over 6 million Jews and others were murdered/ burned. The main leader for this cause was named Adolf Hitler. After many years of Nazi rule in Germany, during which Jews were consistently persecuted, by Hitler’s “final solution”–now known as the Holocaust.
Interview Liliana: What was your earliest memory?
Lucille Einchgreen: When I was about 3 or 4 years old
Liliana: What was it?
Lucille Einchgreen: that we lived, what the rooms looked like, what the parks look like, my parents
Liliana: why and when did your family come to Germany?
Lucille Einchgreen: It happened right after the First World War, my father was in the Austro Hungarian army. During the war he was wounded and many Jews decided around 1918 that it would be easier to make a living in Germany rather than in Poland. My mother at the time that he was not married he got to know who already lived in Germany and was successful so my father moved.
Liliana: and what year was this?
Lucille Einchgreen: it was between 1918 and 1920
Liliana: do you remember how you felt when you saw what was happening?
Lucille Einchgreen: I was very much afraid because if a building was burning and people stand around it and laugh it didn't make sense I should have to use water or fire berg aid but not laughter because it wasn't funny so it was very very frightening and to know the fame by Seeing the change then they start burning books it won't be long before they start burning human beings and that was written 200 years prior so it was very very frightening.
Liliana: was that an every day part of your life?
Lucille Einchgreen: Ya more or less
Liliana: did your family the community or you believe that it would ever get better?
Lucille Einchgreen: I don't know what they told us was one story was they really believed themselves was the second story we just wanted to leave, all the kids whether it was the adventure of leaving the country or moving or whether it was wanting to get away from the wall. Outside I did not know but all of us just wanted to leave.
Michael: Why did you decide to join?
Vern Schmidt: well I was 18 when I was 18 years old I was called into service and I took my training and when we were finished with training I was sent overseas I went on the queen ship the queen Mary and 15,000 troops on board going over to Europe and we landed in Scotland we went by train to England we went by ship over to France and went by train and truck up into Belgium and Luxembourg and then into Germany where we were fighting the Germans just of the coast of the battle of the bulge.
Michael: what did it feel like going into Scotland?
Vern Schmidt: we got off the Queen Mary and got into the train, and the train took us south from Scotland went straight south into England and by that time it was dark and then we walked from the train depot down to go to the ship on the harbor and then we got off which took us out into to the channel and the English Channel and as we couldn't land on shore because of all the because of the destroyed vehicles and ships were on the landing Normandy so we had a we fell over the side to the little motorized boat with about 50 people and which land up on the shore and we would crawl out and walk to the train depot there we got in box cars that were used for hauling horses they called them Cory and h and we rise from there up to meps ranch and there we got out our rifles and ammunition and we called all the troops and they drove us up to front lines and that's where we sought about combat right there on the border of Belgium and Germany.
Michael: were there many casualties in your unit?
Vern Schmidt: just before I got there the battle of the bulge there were over 80,000 United States casualties with over 19,000 our men killed in that time in 5 weeks but there we went in Germany and our casualties were down somewhat because of the German power reducing and we were pushing them so our casualties were much less. Three of us were joined at one time in 10 days I was the only survivor And then a month later I lose two more men and so we lost men every single day so we get the Russians in Czechoslovakia in May of 1945
Michael: Since we are doing a project on the Holocaust, were you able to be see any concentration camps?
Vern Schmidt: Yes, we had seen one of the worst concentration camps called Flossenburg. It was right on the boarder of Germany and Czechoslovakia. On that camp, a week before we got there the Germans have evacuated and put all those people over 11 thousands on a death march to march them to another concentration camp called Dachau that is in Germany. We came back to this one in Flossenburg, there were only about 15 hundreds but they were all so sick and ill with different disease from malnutrition that they weren’t even able to get out of their beds and many of them died after we got there.They all looked like ‘walking skeletons’. Those who were on death march out of 11 thousand that started out, over half of them died or was shot and killed that was close to 100 miles in one week. So yes, it was devastating to see. You would see foot sticking out of a grave or arm sticking out or part of a body. Right after the war, we came back to this area and picked up the bodies and put them in boxes and have them buried in a large grave. We all gave these people a proper, dignified, military and thought that they needed an additional barrier.
What was the holocaust? In 1933, the Jewish population in Europe was over nine million people. Most European Jews lived in countries that the Nazi's in Germany would occupy during World War II. By 1945, the Nazi Germans killed nearly 2 out of every 3 European Jews as part of the "Final Solution," this was the Nazi policy to kill the Jews in Europe. Although Jews were the main target for the Nazis, they weren't the only ones. The Nazis went after 200,000 Gypsies, the disabled, and some of the Slavic people because they believed they were a danger to Germany. The German Nazis killed over six million people over there time of reign.
Final Solution & Concentration Camps The words Concentration Camps refers to which people were confined in harsh conditions and often killed. The Jews and many others were put into Concentration Camps, they wore these blue strip pajamas as a uniform. The Final Solution, Hitler created was to kill off all the Jews and other people who he thought was a harm to the German race.