Today I am writing about David Markovic, a Holocaust survivor of the Dachau concentration camp. You can read his Holocaust story at http://www.news-press.com/story/news/education/2016/05/16/holocaust-survivor-shares-history-third-grade-orangewood-elementary/84448286/
Way back in 1995, when I knew nothing about the Holocaust, Dachau was the first Holocaust location that I ever visited. After my first visit, I got interested in the Holocaust. I began to study the history of Dachau; I started my scrapbookpages.com website with details about the Dachau camp and the town of Dachau. I have since expanded my website, over the years, to include other camps and and many other places that I have visited.
You can read all about the liberation of Dachau on my website at: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/index.html
The following quote is from the news story, cited above:
He [David Markovic] eventually was placed in Dachau [concentration camp], and on the day he was to be sent to the gas chambers [plural], the camp was liberated [on April 29, 1945]. The English soldiers [who liberated the Dachau camp] fed the survivors for two weeks, but he had gone malnourished far too long. [Actually, it was American soldiers who liberated Dachau.]
And while Markovic kept his Holocaust memories to his close friends and family, grandson Adam Markovic, who lives in Cape Coral [Florida], said he has become more open to sharing his memories.
“The older he’s gotten, the more I have noticed he wants to share the story,” he said. “Anybody who he gets a chance to talk to, that’s what he’s going to tell them. He’s never talked about it really before.”
And that’s one of the reasons he came out today.
Great-granddaughter Annabelle Hodges is in fifth grade at the school. The 11-year-old told her former teacher about her family’s connection to the Holocaust, and together they arranged the day’s visit.
“We just really wanted to really bless the socks off of him and let him know he is our hero and that he is appreciated,” said Bullock. “It’s just something that I know as a teacher I am going to never forget, and I just hope that if they remember anything this year from me, that they remember this more than anything else.”
The following quote is also from the same news article:
“…he found his courage, stepping out in front of Jessicah Bullock’s third-grade students at Orangewood Elementary School to talk about the four and half years he spent in Nazi work camps.
“I never thought in my life that I would be alive at this age,” he said, standing behind the microphone on the lunchroom stage. He added his 96th birthday was earlier this month.
Met with applause, Markovic settled into his storytelling, letting time slip back to when he was teachers’ pet at his Czechoslovakia public school.
There were not many prisoners at Dachau who were from Czechoslovakia.
The largest national group in the main Dachau camp was the Polish prisoners, followed by Russians, French, Yugoslavs, Germans, Jews, and last of all the Czechs, according to the Dachau Official Report.
The Official Report by the U.S. Seventh Army listed the following statistics for the Dachau main camp after the camp was liberated:
Poles: 9,200; Russians: 3,900; French: 3,700; Yugoslavs: 3,200; Jews: 2,100; Czechoslovaks: 1,500; Germans: 1,000. There was also a combined total of 1,000 Belgians, Hungarians, Italians, Austrians, Greeks, etc.
According to Paul Berben, a former prisoner, who wrote a book called “Dachau: 1933 – 1945: The Official History,” there were 67,649 prisoners in Dachau and its 123 sub-camps when the last census was taken on April 26, 1945, three days before the US 7th Army arrived to liberate the camp. There was a total of 22,100 Jews in the Dachau system on April 26, 1945 and most of them were in the sub-camps.
Is it possible that Markovic was a refugee from Czechoslovakia who lived in the Dachau camp after the war?
Unless visitors spend a lot of time in the Museum at the Memorial Site, they will probably leave without learning that Dachau was a refugee camp for Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) longer than it was a concentration camp. Even then, visitors are likely to be confused about who the refugees were.
Some guides at Dachau tell visitors that the refugees were people from the Soviet Union or Russia who were fleeing Communism, although they were actually Germans who were the victims of ethnic cleansing after German land in East Prussia, eastern Pomerania, eastern Brandenburg and Silesia was given to Poland, and the Sudetenland in the former Czechoslovakia was given to the newly formed Czech Republic.
A total of 9,575,000 ethnic Germans were expelled from the eastern territories of Germany and 3,477,000 were expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1945 and 1946. An additional 1,371,000 ethnic Germans were expelled from Poland. Altogether, a total of 17,658,000 Volksdeutsche were expelled from their homelands and forced to flee to Germany, which was about the size of the state of Wisconsin after World War II. (Source: A Terrible Revenge by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas)
When a prisoner arrived at Dachau, or any other concentration camp in the Nazi system, a Hollerith punch card was made for him. These cards could be searched and sorted by an IBM Hollerith machine; Dachau had four Hollerith machines. One line of the card had a hole punched to indicate the prisoners classification.
According to the book entitled “IBM and the Holocaust,” by Edwin Black, the IBM cards had sixteen classifications of prisoners: The number 1 was punched for a political prisoner, 2 for a Jehovah’s Witness, 3 for a homosexual, 4 for dishonorable military discharge, 5 for a member of the clergy, 6 for a Communist Spaniard, 7 for a foreign civilian worker, 8 for a Jew, 9 for an asocial, 10 for a habitual criminal, 11 for a major felon, 12 for a Gypsy, 13 for a Prisoner of War, 14 for a spy, 15 for a prisoner sentenced to hard labor, and 16 for a Diplomatic Consul.
Unfortunately, the students, who listen to the former prisoners of a concentration camp, assume that these prisoners were put into a camp, in wartime, for no good reason.