Testimony of André Fortané, evacuated with his comrades from the Dora tunnel on April 4, 1945, as elements of the 3rd American army approached the camp

« We evacuated Dora on 4 April. My group, after a dreadful 12-day journey, during which the grass in the ditches was our only food, ended up in the Ravensbrück camp. 600 of our comrades fell, most of them shot on the road with a revolver in the back of the neck. A few days later, the Russian advance forced us to evacuate Ravensbrück.

Testimony of Fernande Escudié, deportee evacuated to Bergen-Belsen

« At Bergen-Belsen, we were completely left to our own devices. We were put in the large room of a block, with no floor. We stayed there for two days. We didn’t know what we were doing there. We had no food. […] Knowing that the British were going to arrive, the Germans told us that we had to put the corpses in the mass graves. […] Some men were forced to do this. Some were so exhausted that they fell with the corpses into the pit […] The doctor who was in charge of the mass graves was a very good man. […] The doctor who treated me on my return to the Dordogne told my mother that my heart was very small, as was my stomach. You didn’t have to eat much to keep it from bursting. […] The first time I was able to sleep in a bed, I had to get out of it, because I couldn’t sleep. So I slept on the floor, because I wasn’t used to it anymore. […] After the war, we said nothing. When the prisoners returned to Montpon, I found myself at a meal. I had been invited. Two people were talking next to me. One of them said to the other: « You saw the state she was in! « . The other said, « It’s her fault, she should have kept quiet. « When I heard this, I said to myself that it was not worth it, that they would never understand.

Testimony of Jean Serventie, deportee: the arrival of the Americans

« On 5 May 1945, we were liberated by the Americans who, with armoured cars, broke through the German lines by 25 kilometres. The SS who were guarding us fled (about 400). Only a few old Vienna gendarmes remained, but they laid down their arms without resistance. In the evening, the Americans went back to their front line. During the night of 5 to 6 May, a hundred SS came back to the camp to set it on fire and exterminate us. But a group of deportees of all nationalities stood guard in the watchtowers and around the camp. They repelled the SS, several of them were killed. The next day, the Americans were there, with their tanks. […] On 16 May 1945, American trucks came to get us and took us to Linz, to the airfield which had been partly destroyed. Only one runway had been repaired. The next day the planes arrived. The flying fortresses took 30 of us per plane and shuttled us from Paris to Linz. We were 1,200 survivors out of the 6,000 French people who returned to the Mauthausen camp, most of them young people.