Originally published 03/26/2013
Max Mannheimer will never forget the words of his block leader when he entered the gates of Dachau concentration camp on 6 August 1944. "You're veterans at this by now," said the prisoner, a communist. "You know that the most important thing is not to draw attention to yourselves if you want to survive."Behind Max, then aged 24, and his younger brother Edgar had lain a long and gruelling trudge through Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, and the Warsaw ghetto, during which the siblings had lost their entire family, most of them in Auschwitz, simply for being Jewish.In Dachau, Mannheimer was assigned the prisoner number 87098. "It was the last camp number I would ever have," the 93-year-old said. "But I took the block leader's message on board: 'You've got this far, just keep your head down, as the SS will pounce on you for the smallest violation'." He was liberated nine months later by US troops from a Dachau sub-camp, where one of his last jobs had been to cart the corpses of prisoners into the mortuary. Stricken with typhus, he had been reduced to skin and bones, weighing just 47kg. "I was a skeleton," he said. "I cried with both joy and despair."...
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