In Different Camps 1943-1945

I was there.

After a period in the ghetto, Lea and her siblings were sent to various forced labour camps. In the camp Lea was sent to, there were female SS guards who would mock and beat the prisoners.

In December 1944, when Soviet troops were advancing, the forced labour camps were shut down. Lea and the other prisoners were then forced to march for two weeks to Bergen-Belsen in freezing January conditions.

Lea Gleitman (1924), Poland

Lea Gleitman (1924), Poland

Consider here Lea's experience of the camps

We are Sent to Different Camps

Lea talks about the transport to the forced labour camp in Gräben bei Striegau, then eastern Germany.

1) Listen to Lea as she talks about her experience of the camps. Then answer the question.

  • 1a. Lea was transported to a forced labour camp in what was then eastern Germany and separated from her brother, sister and cousin. They managed to send a couple of letters to each other. When Lea's brother explained that he had been involved in an accident, Lea understood that he wouldn't get through it. What did she mean by that?

Forced Labour in Gräben bei Striegau

Lea talks about work in the camp and the female SS guards.

2) Listen to Lea as she talks about forced labour in Gräben bei Striegau. Then answer the questions.

  • 2a. The female SS guards in Gräben bei Striegau are described by Lea as being cruel. Why did she react so strongly do you think?

  • 2b. Lea explains that she and the other prisoners in the forced labour camps tried to survive as human beings and maintain their dignity. Can you give examples of what they did?

The Death March to Bergen-Belsen

Lea talks about the so-called death march to Bergen-Belsen.

3) Listen to Lea as she talks about the death marches. Then answer the questions.

  • 3a. What happened in 1944 that made Lea and her friends almost lose hope?

  • 3b. Lea talks about something that she calls the "death march". What was it and why did she call it that?

Extra Material