Holocaust survivor Max Glauben remembers when American soldiers found him after being liberated from the Dachau Death March during World War II — a jeep carrying a U.S. Army officer gave him clothing and a job.
“A 179th Signal Repair Corps was behind us and one of the first cars was a Jeep carrying a second lieutenant. He asked us where we are going, and we told him ‘to find a displaced persons camp.’ And he said that ‘I don’t think you are in any condition to do that.’ So, he gave us American uniforms and told us if anyone ask you, you are my helpers,” Glauben said.
Glauben discussed his experiences of being persecuted by Nazis to a packed room of 200 people during a national Holocaust Day of Remembrance event held on Thursday at the Phantom Warrior Center on Fort Hood. After the talk, Glauben shook hands and took photos with audience members.
Glauben and his family were placed in the Warsaw Ghetto until the uprising of the ghetto in 1943. Glauben was born in 1928 in Warsaw, Poland, and is a lifetime member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Holocaust Museum. He talked about life in the ghetto, the build-up to the Holocaust and his personal memories of anti-semitism.
“If you were lucky and you got a job in the Warsaw Ghetto, at the end of the day you received a Lodz which you would try to take to the commissary,” he said. “And if you were successful, you would receive 184 calories a day. Which means a family of eight children would have to live on 368 calories.”
Glauben stayed in the Warsaw Ghetto until after the uprising. Then, he and his family were moved to the Madjanek Gas Chambers, where Glauben was separated from his mother, brother and the rest of his family, who would later perish. However, Glauben and his father were selected to work as slave labor at the Bduzyn Concentration Camp. His father was killed three weeks later after their transfer.
“They (Nazi soldiers) took 10 hostages for each person. My father becomes a hostage and I see him lying on the floor Friday night. They put us into the barracks, and when I get up Saturday morning, my father’s body and other bodies are gone and in the place of each body are the shoes that they wore,” Glauben said.
Glauben was then sent to the Mielec, Wieliczka and Flossenburg Concentration Camps. On April 23, 1945, Glauben was part of the Dachau Death March when the U.S. Army liberated Glauben and his fellow prisoners.
“It was an unbelievable feeling, because we never thought we would make it through anything,” Glauben said.
In 1947, at the age of 19, Glauben came to New York then later moved the Atlanta, Georgia. He signed up for Selective Service and was drafted into the U.S. Army. He later was stationed at Fort Hood during the Korean War.
“I was appreciative of the people that saved my life. The United States Army liberated and accepted me as a citizen on a permanent visa. Why shouldn’t I be a part of this country and repay for my liberation?”
Today, Glauben is a member of the Jewish War Veterans. He currently lectures on the Holocaust at schools, churches, colleges and various other organizations and institutes.
Glauben said his visit to Fort Hood was “phenomenal” with a receptive welcome from many people. His message was to warn against being a bystander.
“I want to relate a story that is really inhumane and can only be blamed on bystanders,” Glauben said. “Which means that people who see a wrong being done, but don’t do anything about it. So, the saying is, as far as I’m concerned, ‘One on one we are angels, put us in a group and we can become a lynch mob.’ Not because we are bad people, but because we are afraid to express our feelings if somebody disagrees with us.”
First Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Clark reflected on Glauben’s speech and spoke about the importance of the military’s role in preventing future atrocities.
“Being an active-duty soldier and still wearing the uniform and being a leader, I think there are two things that are important. Without doing these types of ceremonies and remembering these events, somewhere around the globe it could happen again. And so, I also think that being an active-duty service member and showing that the U.S. Army was a part of ending the atrocity, gives soldiers that are young and don’t understand these types of global things a little bit of perspective. Which should give them more pride and honor to them serving as well.”
Greg Philipson and his wife Michelle Warech-Philipson shared artifacts from their WWll collection during the event and a traditional Jewish prayer was recited by Capt. Dovid Egert, a Jewish chaplain for the 1st Calvary Division’s 1st Sustainment Brigade, along with candle lighting ceremony in honor of victims.