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Leonard Lubin oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Leonard Lubin oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (130 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Lubin, Leonard, 1925-2009
Hirsh, Michael, 1943-
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collection. -- Oral History Program
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Concentration camps -- History -- Austria   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Austria   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Liberation   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans -- United States   ( lcsh )
Veterans -- Interviews -- United States   ( lcsh )
Jewish veterans -- Interviews -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genocide   ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Leonard Lubin. Lubin was an artilleryman in the 71st Infantry Division, which liberated Wels, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, on May 4, 1945. In this interview, he provides a detailed description of finding and entering the camp. Lubin was responsible for bringing the prisoners back to the camp, an attempt to organize them so that relief efforts could begin. He also discusses his reactions to the prisoners and to Germans, and his opinions about the war. After not talking about the Holocaust for fifty years, Lubin began giving interviews and speaking at schools. He was an attorney with his own practice for many years. Leonard Lubin died in 2009.
Venue:
Interview conducted May 21, 2008 and May 27, 2008.
Preferred Citation:
The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 2010) and Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project, University of South Florida Libraries, ©2010 Michael Hirsh.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
General Note:
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 021799254
oclc - 587338781
usfldc doi - C65-00081
usfldc handle - c65.81
System ID:
SFS0022131:00001


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This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Leonard Lubin. Lubin was an artilleryman in the 71st Infantry Division, which liberated Wels, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, on May 4, 1945. In this interview, he provides a detailed description of finding and entering the camp. Lubin was responsible for bringing the prisoners back to the camp, an attempt to organize them so that relief efforts could begin. He also discusses his reactions to the prisoners and to Germans, and his opinions about the war. After not talking about the Holocaust for fifty years, Lubin began giving interviews and speaking at schools. He was an attorney with his own practice for many years. Leonard Lubin died in 2009.
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xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript segment idx 0 time 00:00:0.0 text Michael Hirsh: Okay.  First of all, let me just get your name and your spelling, and your address and phone number. 1 00:00:2.8 Leonard Lubin: My name is Leonard, L-e-o-n-a-r-d, Lubin, L-u-b-i-n.   2 00:00:6.8 MH: And your date of birth, sir? 3 00:00:8.4 LL: July 7, 1925.  So, on this occasion I was what, nineteen or twenty. 4 00:00:13.6 MH: Where were you growing up?  Where did you go into the Army from? 5 00:00:19.3 LL: I wentMiami.  Miami, Florida.   6 00:00:23.3 MH: And when you went into the Army, you were drafted, or volunteered? 7 00:00:27.0 LL: No, I enlisted. 8 00:00:29.3 MH: And they put you in what? 9 00:00:31.7 LL: At first they put me in the infantry, and I did a basic training in the infantry.  And then, later, they were making up this new unit; it had been one of the mule pack artillery units, Camp Hale, Colorado.  And we were told that after one of the two existing mule packthe mules packed the artillery in segments, pieces, for mountain fighting, small artillery pieces; 75mm.  They lost an entire battalion; I think is what they called it, in somewhere in the OrientBurma or somewhereand they decided that mule pack units werent called for anymore and they were dismantling the unit.  They dispersed the population of that unitall of this is by hearsay, whats told to me.  They dispersed the population of that unit among various other units elsewhere.   10 00:01:28.7 We were toldI dont know if this is truethe reason for it was that these were all very big men, because of the fact that they had no motors, no engines, that they were transporting this stuff by mule and on their own backs, lifting [it] up very tall mountains, which is what it was for: mountain fighting.  These had to be big men.  They had to load the barrel of a 75mm Hauser onto the back of a mule, counterbalance and weight on the other side, then separately the ammunition, water, everything they used.  So, these men, we were told, were a minimum of 510 tall, 180 pounds.  Many, if not most of them, were larger than that.  So, they didnt put them all in one unit, they dispersed them among many units.  If this all proves to be incorrect, I tell you again: this is what I heard, was told to me.  I cant validate it.   11 00:02:22.4 In any event, that unit was made up, stuff was shifted around.  Things in Europe were coming close to the end, the final push in Europe and so forth.  Some units were battered badly.  The first unit I had been put into was the 100th Infantry Division, I believe.  Im jumping ahead to tell you that when I got to Europe, we relieved the remnants of the 100th.  The 71st, relieved the remnants of the 100th, which had been badly shot up.  Again, this is only what was told to me. 12 00:02:54.0 So, then, I was transferred out of the 100th unit before it went overseas, and wound up in the 71st Infantry, the 609th Field Artillery Battalion, and this was 105mm artillery.  So, I retrained again in basicwhole or in part I dont recallin the artillery, and was assigned to one of the artillery there.  Am I making this too long for you? 13 00:03:22.8 MH: No, no!  The longer the better, frankly. 14 00:02:24.4 LL: The units are made up of, going by memory, four of what they call batteries. A battalion is made up609th Field Artillery Battalion was made up of four batteries.  There are three firing batteries that fire the guns, and then the fourth battery is the headquarters battery; that is the one that deals with information, messaging and forward observation.  And each firing battery has attached to it, in the headquarters battery, a unit headed by a captain, who is whats called forward observer, who goes ahead, attaches up to the front infantry because the guns are blind: they cant see.   15 00:04:13.1 So, the forward observers call back the artillery information to the guns, to direct the fire and get it on target and so forth, which is done preferably by wire, telephone.  And the headquarters unit hasthese units have wiremen, who go out and stretch the wire and connect it and repair it, et cetera, or, when you cant use wire, radio.  Deadly, because the Germans were experts at triangulation: they would triangulate on the radio signals and direct mortar fire directly on the unit, the forward observers.  So, we tried to avoid using radio where we could.  Wire had to be stretched on the ground because we were moving so fast.   16 00:04:59.0 MH: Thats a lot of wire. 17 00:04:59.8 LL: Yes, and of course its constantly torn up by tanks and vehicles moving over it, so much of the job is in the middle of the nightthis was freezing cold winterrunning out to repair wire.  And its a lot of wire, because theres a lot of wire on the ground, a lot of it German.  And you hook into German wire, as they hook into ours, I guess, et cetera.  In any event, that was the function.   18 00:05:21.4 The forward observer, one for each of the three firing batteries, as I recallagain, I could be mistaken in detailsbut that unit is headed by a captain, who then has a sergeant under him, and then two more people: radio operatorwireman, a driver, as I recall, four in a Jeep.  They traveled in Jeep when they could.  When they couldnt, they were on foot.  So, that was the unit to which I was attached.  The headquarters attached as one of the forward observer teams under a captain named Schmidt.  I dont recall his first name.  S-c-h-m-i-d-t. 19 00:06:3.1 MH: What was your rank at the time? 20 00:06:4.7 LL: I was just a buck private.  There was talk about offering me a field commission, second lieutenant and all that, and I didnt want that at all. 21 00:06:16.2 MH: Had you been to college before the service? 22 00:06:18.2 LL: Just a few months, while waiting to be called; I enlisted.  The shuffling of units and men and all that was taking place at that time, we later came to understand, because by the time we got there, it was the first part of 1945.  The war only ended in May, so it was just a couple of months, a few months, from the time landing in Europe until the war ended; and that represented the final push once we crossed the Rhine [River] and were in Germany proper and started racing across Germany and the Russians coming from the other side.  And we were trying to beat the Russians there; they were trying to beat us.  All thats political.   23 00:06:59.8 Incidentally, pretty much all of what Im telling you about Wels and all that is on the Internet, the 71st Infantry Division; youll see a full discourse there, even beyond what I give you.  You can just type in 71st Infantry Division; that will get you there.   24 00:07:15.6 In any event, on the day in question, which was some time in the last days of April 1945, shortly beforedays before the war ended.  I forgetyou have various dates: May 5, May 8.  But in any event, this must have been in the last few days of April.  We were going from west to east, moving along.  We had been racing across the German countryside; this was in Austria.  We went through the town of Leinbach, L-e-i-n-b-a-c-h, a small town just before you get to Wels, along the highway.  I didnt know it then, but off to the sides of the road at Leinbach were dead bodies of the concentration camp people.  I didnt know it at the time.  It was off the road; I didnt see them then.   25 00:08:8.6 In any event, I went on.  And for some reason, as we came into Wels, I was on foot.  I cant tell you why I was, whatever the reason I was on foot. 26 00:08:17.5 MH: What did Wels look like? 27 00:08:19.2 LL: What I saw of itthey say a soldier only sees the three square feet around him.  What I saw of Wels was entering Wels: a broad street, boulevard.  It would be the equivalent of at least four lanes, two each wayAmerican lanesand maybe even a parking lane besides that on the side of the street.  It was more like a boulevard than just a street.  Both sides of it were buildings, two-story and/or three-story, that looked like they must have been apartments: solid brick structure buildings, permanent buildings, in front of whichI was impressed that all along the boulevard, every few yards was a dug-out hole with a small treelooked like saplings, young treesplanted along there.  And as I walked along, there were occasionally automobiles parked alongside the road.  It was getting on late in the day, and I was alone down that street.  You want me to continue in that vein? 28 00:09:29.0 MH: Yes, please.  Go ahead. 29 00:09:31.0 LL: I heard sounds before I saw them, and the sounds that I heard were Ungarischen JudenHungarian Jews, in German.  Ungarischen Juden.  H-u-n-g-a-r-i-s-c-h-e [sic], I guess, Juden, J-u-d-e-n.  I had a smattering of street German, not all that much but enough to know what it was.  I ducked behind a car, and sure enough, I was able to identify three men coming toward me in obvious prison clothing, that kind of striped clothing.  They pointed behind them and said there was a Konzentrationslager, a concentration camp, down the street.  Thats about the most I could get out of them; they were very excited.  I motioned them to continue going in the direction they were, and told them that there were American soldiers behind me who would help them, et cetera.   30 00:10:31.4 MH: You were able to communicate how? 31 00:10:33.4 LL: In German only. 32 00:10:35.8 MH: In German.  What did these people look like, besides the uniform? 33 00:10:39.0 LL: What you want to know is howobviously the fact that they were ambulatory, walking, they were not the skeleton kind of prisoners that the photography of the era shows us, the living dead.  So, that tells us they were more recent arrivals at the camp, who had just gotten out to the camp more recently, so that they were not yet debilitated in the way as many were.   34 00:11:7.4 And Ill answer that by telling you what later proved to be, that Wels was a work labor camp.  It was not the extermination camp of the type that used gas ovens, gas rooms to gas them, showers to gas them and ovens to burn the bodies.  This was of the labor kind, and it amounted to and operated as an extermination camp, in that the people were killed by starvation and labor.  What happened was people in the back door and out the front.  In the back door, or the front door, comes new prisoners, who are normal people, recently captured to be put in and they were put to work.  Out the back door, if thats the way to put it, is the dead people when they died from work.  And theyre put in there and theyre sent out every day to labor, hard labor, whatever work the Germans had them doing, on starvation diets.  And, of course, then they quickly debilitated and died. 35 00:12:7.2 MH: At that point, had you been aware of concentration or slave labor camps? 36 00:12:12.4 LL: No, never, never.  Knew nothing about it.  We only knew what we were told.  The only information we had was Stars and Stripes; that was the only newspaper, when you got a hold of it.  Otherwise it was more rumor than anything else.  We really werent on top of the news all that well.  We knew that the Germans had been persecuting minorities, especially Jews.  Wed heard some rumors about killings, but had no concept whatever of this.  The military had taught us nothing, told us nothing, had no training or expectations.  I had no idea what I was going to walk into.  We were told absolutely nothing.  So, much of this sounds crazy.   37 00:12:56.7 For example, you had asked me earlier how long I spent there, and I told you they wouldnt let us stay.  When I say they, I mean our officers.  We had to go, and theyre telling us that there are units behind us who take care of these people.  Well, if that were true, how come we soldiers werent oriented to the proposition we were going to be encountering the concentration camps?  That seems at odds with each other (inaudible).  You would have thought if they knew as much to have units prepared to take care of these people 38 00:13:25.4 MH: They would have told you to expect it. 39 00:13:26.8 LL: We would have known to expect it.  So, I didnt believe.  I came to where I didnt believe anything I was told.  But no, nothing: no information. 40 00:13:32.1 MH: So what did you think when you see these three menthey were men, right? 41 00:13:36.4 LL: Well, yes, they told meyes.  They told me that there was a concentration camp down the road.  So, thats exactly what I 42 00:13:41.9 MH: But a concentration camp is a strange terminology, if you havent been told about it. 43 00:13:46.3 LL: Well, wed heard the word before.  Even our civilian population heard of the words concentration camp, but concentration camp can mean a jail facility where you hold people, as we held the Japanese in the United States in World War II, Japanese Americans.  We called them concentration camps.  That didnt mean that theyre killing fields.  You understand, were dealing in a different era.   44 00:14:11.9 MH: Yes. 45 00:14:12.4 LL: Not just a different century; were living in a different era.  Definitions are different.  The English language has become different, and words have taken on different meaning.  Gay used to have a different meaning from what it has today, the word gay. And the word concentration camp had a different meaning before this time that it has now.   46 00:14:33.5 In any event, lets see where I was.  Oh, you were asking about the condition of the men and did I understand what they were.  I knew that they were prisoners, and I couldnt have developed the concept that they must have been recent at that moment, that they must have been recent prisoners because of the fact that they looked in better shape, as I later saw others who were debilitated, because I hadnt seen any of the others yet so I didnt know that.  All I knew was that they were from the concentration camp.   47 00:15:2.0 You asked me about language.  Language in Europe, as is always true in these situations, the language of the conqueror is the lingua franca, the universal language used by Poles, Romanians, Italians, Russians, Hungarians.  The only language that they have in common is that thats dictated to them by the conqueror.  In our case, what became the lingua franca, which could link us with Poles and Italians and whatever, was German.  So we all spoke in a pidgin German with sign language, that game you play with sign language.   48 00:15:47.3 In any eventso, no, I formed no opinions other than what I just told you.  All I knew was they were in a jail; Ill use that term.  They used the term Konzentrationslager, concentration camp.  So, I knew the term; thats all I knew.  I didnt know what it was.  So, by this time I developed a great deal of caution.  But here they were free and all, so I wanted to hurry to move along. 49 00:16:14.5 MH: But youre alone at this point. 50 00:16:16.0 LL: I was alone at this time, yup.  I continued down to the camp, and then I came tothe best I can describe ityouve seen it in the cities before, in places.  We have one in Hollywood, Florida; if youre down here, you know?  These big circles, traffic circles, around some either essential statue or building or something, and streets enter into it as spokes in a wheel [roundabout].  Washington D.C.  has those kinds of streets.  You know the kind of street Im describing? 51 00:16:48.1 MH: Yes, absolutely.  Dupont Circle, been there.  Yes. 52 00:16:51.1 LL: Im sorry? 53 00:16:51.8 MH: Dupont Circle in Washington.  Yes. 54 00:16:54.4 A circle, and the streets feed into the circle.  When youre on that street, before the circle, you dont know youre on the spokes of a circle.  It isnt till you get there that you realize that.   55 00:17:3.7 So, as I got to there, ahead of me I saw a structure, which Ill tell you about in a second.  But I also saw, out of the corner of my eyesin addition to that structure, I saw that other soldiers, American soldiers, were entering into the circle just as I was, from adjacent streets.  You follow what Im saying? 56 00:17:24.3 MH: Absolutely. 57 00:17:25.0 LL: So, it was being entered by numbers of us on different streets, approximately the same time.  These others from the other streets got there about the same time I did, and we entered in together.  What I saw ahead was what looked like a wall, a wall that looked likelets see, a typical living room here in Florida is, I dont know, 11 to 14 feet high, 14, 15, 16 feet high.  I dont know; Im not so good at that, but something like that.  Something you couldnt jump over too easily, a wall.  And a big gate, two big swinging doors with door hardware on them that you could see.   58 00:18:10.9 And as I got there, I saw that the doors were ajar and people were pouring out through the gates, out onto the street into the circle.  And in terms of seeing what they looked like, people of all descriptionsnot all, but most descriptionsand many who could walk; ambulatory.  It wasnt until I got in I saw that there were many more who couldnt walk, but these were those that could walk, in various degrees of debilitation.  Some in far better shape, like those three I first encountered a block or two or three up the street, who were the most recent arrivals and therefore the healthiest.  And then some who were less well, and less well, and less well, diminishing in stages and degrees: some extremely feeble, but probably close to falling down and not being able to walk.  In any event, thats the first thing I encountered: the people coming out. 59 00:19:10.2 MH: What are you thinking at this point? 60 00:19:12.0 LL: I have to tell you, and Im embarrassed to say it, I was stunned.  I cant tell you I was thinking of anything.  Its like when an automobile accidentwhen youre in the middle of an automobile accident or something, if youve ever been.  I was stunned.  I couldnt formulate much in the way of thought.  I wasnt as much thinking as I was reacting. 61 00:19:37.2 MH: Right.  Are you carrying a weapon? 62 00:19:38.8 LL: Oh, yes, of course. 63 00:19:40.0 MH: M1 [carbine] or something smaller? 64 00:19:42.3 LL: A carbine.  No, no. 65 00:19:42.8 MH: A carbine, okay. 66 00:19:43.0 LL: We all carried carbines.  Officers carried pistols, .45s, automatics.  The men carried .30 caliber carbines, with a clipfifteen rounds in a clipin them, another round on your belt: thirty rounds. 67 00:20:0.4 So, the door swung open and people were pouring out, and at the same time American soldiers were coming in.  We soldiers shouted at each other.  What to do?  Grab them! somebody said.  Stop themgrab them! 68 00:20:15.8 While all of this was happening, more American soldiers were pouring in, and they started chasing down the people, trying to stop them, to grab them.  The people who were escaping, we concluded laterthey were running from us like crazy in a panic, those who could.  And we concluded that they saw our uniforms, that they may have seen our uniforms and may have not been able to distinguish us from Germans or something.  I dont know, but they were panicked.  That or freedom, I couldnt tell.  All I knew is they ran like hell.   69 00:20:53.9 Here comes the big moment, for me.   70 00:20:56.2 MH: Okay.  (laughs) 71 00:20:57.7 LL: Something very personal to me, the big moment for me, which to me sums up the whole war, the whole Holocaust, and which is the content of my nightmares.  Not dead bodies; Id seen a lot of dead bodies, though I wasnt in combat all that long: a few months, mostly chasing like crazy up the highway.  But Id seen plenty of dead bodies, theirs and ours.  So, it wasnt that.   72 00:21:24.5 This was something different.  Here was this guy, and he had found a food can, a tin can, the larger kind that tomatoes sometimes come in, whole tomatoes.  I dont know how many inches in diameter, four inches or whatever it is.  It had been opened with one of these old-fashioned push and lift can openers; you dont even see them anymore today.  You punch a hole in it and then you lift it all the way around.  It creates a horribly jagged edge all the way around. 73 00:22:3.2 MH: Just like the P-38 [can opener]. 74 00:22:4.8 LL: I guess.  And typically what people would do, because you didnt want to handle the jagged edge, you didnt take it all the way to the end.  You would get it close to the end of the circle of the can and then push the lid back.  You know, push the lid back so its standing up, and you would empty the contents and then push the lid down and then throw the can away so you didnt handle it and cut yourself, because it would make brutal cuts very easily.   75 00:22:33.2 This man had found one of these empty cans and was trying to get the contents out of it.  He had it with both of his hands jammed up against his face, trying to get his tongue into it to lick the contents, and lick the top lid and the sides of the top lid, the sides of the can.  The blood was pouring down his face, and he was acting totally insane.  And that vision is whats in my mind.  If I were an artist and could paint a picture, I would; I cant.  Didnt have a camera.   76 00:23:9.5 So, in my nightmares, thats what I see.  And to me, thats what the Holocaust was.  It wasnt the death; it was torment of the kind that can reduce a human being to sub-animal status, to be willing to lacerate himself and cut himself to get that slight bit of nourishment.  In any event 77 00:23:30.3 MH: Was that man one of the people you described as being more debilitated? 78 00:23:35.4 LL: Yes.  More debilitated than the first ones I had seen up the road, not as debilitated as such as to be unable to stand up and walk, but pretty far gone. 79 00:23:46.9 MH: At this point, youre still outside the gates. 80 00:23:48.7 LL: Im still outside the gates.  People were running out, and apparently there had been some rain, or from some other source some water, because there were miserable puddles of water at the street edge, the corner of the curb.  Not large puddles; they must have been old, because they were filthy, dirty puddles, and small.  I saw some of the people falling down on their face to lick up water from the street.  And others ran to the closest trees and were trying to rip bark off the trees and eating the bark.  It was pretty subhuman, all of it.   81 00:24:31.0 And amid all of this was screaming and crying and carrying on, and American soldiers looking confused, as we all were, not knowing what the hell to do.  Some of them were chasing people down and grabbing them and trying to lead them back and shove them back into the camp.  Didnt know what the hell to do.   82 00:24:54.4 MH: What kind of a day is it, weather-wise? 83 00:24:58.5 LL: Not bad.  I wasnt in an overcoat or anything; I think I was in an Eisenhower jacket.  April, late April; it was near the end of the day.  I dont have a recollection.  It wasnt snowing or anything.  It wouldnt be in April, usually.  I didnt recognize any special feature of the day.  I cant tell you it was snowing or it was hot or anything: an ordinary day.   84 00:25:28.7 Now, here Ill be disappointing you, because youll going to want to know, did I go way inside. 85 00:25:35.1 MH: Believe me, youre anything but disappointing me.   86 00:25:38.3 LL: Well, other interviewers 87 00:25:40.0 MH: Youre quite eloquent in describing the things youve seen. 88 00:25:43.7 LL: Other interviewers are disappointed as I come to this part.  They want me to have gone into the camp and describe in infinite detail, up close, people in the bunks, and I cant do that, because I didnt do that.  That didnt happen.   89 00:25:57.0 MH: Thats okay. 90 00:25:58.1 LL: So, anyway, this was the mayhem that was taking place outside.  That went on for quite some time before anybody really entered into the camp.  All of the effort and energy was directconcentrated and directed toward attempting to grab these people.  I dont know why. 91 00:26:20.4 MH: Is that what you did as well? 92 00:26:21.7 LL: Well, yes.  (laughs) Didnt know what else to do.  I tell you, a soldier doesnt know what the hell to do, and doesnt know what the hells going on.  He knows whats around him like three feet.  And whatever somebody seems to be telling him that sounds like it should be correct is what you do: crazy things, all kinds of dumb things.  So, yeah, thats what I was doing. 93 00:26:46.2 MH: Were the people resisting you? 94 00:26:49.4 LL: My particular people?   95 00:26:50.9 MH: Yes. 96 00:26:51.7 LL: Yes, but not really hard.  Not to the point where they were trying to hit me with their fists or beat on me or anything like that, but pulling against me.  They were fairly tractable, if you exerted anything beyond bare minimum force; by that, I mean grabbing them by the elbow and pulling them.  They went along.  I think theyd gotten used to that. 97 00:27:19.6 MH: This is a gross sort of question, but weredid they smell bad?  Were they covered in crud? 98 00:27:27.8 LL: Oh, my God.  Oh, my God, you cant believe it.  You cannot characterize the odor, theres just no way.  And all the records Ive read, or all the interviews Ive heard of the concentration camps, have that as a central theme: that theres no waypictures will never show you what it smelled like.  It was horrifying.  Yes. 99 00:27:53.0 MH: And the people smelled, and were covered in crud. 100 00:27:56.4 LL: Yes.   101 00:27:57.6 MH: So 102 00:27:58.5 LL: Well, wait a minute.  Covered in crudyes and no.  There was some crud, but I dont want to paint a picture, a mental image of them just totally immersed in filth, no. 103 00:28:10.7 MH: But you were in physical contact with these people. 104 00:28:12.8 LL: Oh, yes, up close. 105 00:28:14.4 MH: Were you concerned?   106 00:28:15.6 LL: What do you mean? 107 00:28:16.7 MH: For your health? 108 00:28:17.7 LL:  No, never entered my head.  Just never thought about it.  Didnt think about much of anything, really.  You go on some kind of autopilot.  You may have read this description before, the same as an automobile wreck.  You ask somebody whose car has just collided, what is he thinking?  I dont know whether you can answer that question.  I think you go on autopilot.  At least, I think I did.  I believe I was in shock.  I dont know if its a medical description, medical definition of shock. 109 00:28:52.2 MH: Emotional shock. 110 00:28:53.5 LL: Yeah, yeah.  So, yes, I did the same thing, grabbing people.  We didnt go inside for some time.  Oh, God, I dont know: ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour, half-hour, hour.  I dont know.  It was dealing with the people in the streets.  I guess in some kind of way we figured, well, if theyre not on the streets and theyre inside, okay, theyre already in.  Our energy was being directed to getting everybody inside where we could deal with them.   111 00:29:21.5 MH: The campjust so I understand, the camp was in the center of this traffic circle youre talking about. 112 00:29:28.2 LL: Yeah!   113 00:29:28.8 MH: Okay. 114 00:29:29.0 LL: Yeah.  It was strange.  The other strange thing about it is here we are in the middle of a town.  I hadnt ever seen that before.  Usually concentration camps are out in the country. 115 00:29:40.4 MH: So, the people could say, We never knew it was there. 116 00:29:44.0 LL: Yeah, or whatever.  Thats why I dont know what it really was, you know?  Well use the word camp. Was it a camp?  Was it a jail?  I dont know.  Maybe it was just a holding pen, I cant tell you.  I dont know.   117 00:29:55.2 Anyways, our efforts were confined to trying to round them up.  I guess our thinking wasexactly what we were thinkingI guess our thinking was, Weve got to get them inside where we can deal with them. By this time, officers were on the scene.  My captain, the other guys captain, and the guys lieutenants, they were taking charge, directing and giving orders.  And the orders, as I recall, were Get these people!  Get them!  Stop them!  Stop them!  Get them inside. And, There are units behind us who are going to deal with them.  Take care of them.  Just get them inside so we can handle them. That was what we were doing.   118 00:30:39.1 So, thats what most of us were doing.  We were cowboys rounding up stray cattle; thats what it was.  I cant give you numbers, but there were significant numbers of them when those gates swung open.  What we later learned, in interviewing and talking to them, was that the guards had just left.  They were just ahead of us.  They knew we were coming and they split.  They went out the back door lickety-split.  They didnt want to be there.  One minute they were there, and suddenly the guards were gone.  And the people see the guards are gone, and those who were the healthier among them headed for the door.  Thats all pretty expected, pretty logical.  When we got there, there were no Germans there; they were gone.   119 00:31:23.7 In any event, so we rounded the people up; it took quite some time to do it.  The officers were directing us to do it and trying to stop them from drinking the water out of the street, trying to stop them from ripping bark off the trees to eat it, and trying to stop them; as I did my guy who was with the tin can.  I tried to knock the can out of his hand to stop him from doing that, and not let the can be there so somebody else can pick it up and do the same thing.  It was pretty frantic.  It was all frantic.  It was less thought than it was automated, autopilot, frantic stampeding around.  And the direction seemed to be in the imperative, seemed to be, Stop these people; dont let them kill themselves with bad food or water or bark off the trees.  Get them into the camp and therell be somebody behind us. So that took some time to do.   120 00:32:26.1 At some point along the line, in the doing of this, some of themsome of them you could saymany of themyou could say, No, no, no.  Stop!  Others are coming with food, with water.  Essen, Wasser; so go inside. Id say many of themmost of them perhapsobeyed you.  They did that.  They saw authority, they were used to responding to authority, they heard us say that food and water was coming, and we could only deal with them if they were inside.   121 00:33:3.1 MH: Were these men and women? 122 00:33:4.7 LL: No.  No, all I saw was men.   123 00:33:6.4 MH: All men. 124 00:33:7.0 LL: I didnt see any women, or children.  I was asked that questionthe first time I was asked that question by an interviewer, I was shocked at my own recognition for the first time.  I had never even thought about it, that all I saw was men.  I didnt realize that until later.  Im tellin you, it makes you crazy.  It really makes you crazy.  I wouldnt blame you if you said, I cant believe that you couldnt tell me whether you saw women or children, but thats the way it affects your mind, at least mine.  Im a pretty normal person, I think, pretty average.   125 00:33:40.6 Anyway, some of them, of course, gave you more resistance.  The ones that gave you more resistance, you walkedif thats the word for ityou half-pulled, half-shoved, walked them to get them into the gates.  We had to get up close to the gates.  So, in the first part of this, what I sawcould see of the insidewas only seen from the street as I pushed a given inmate back through the doors, back through the gates.   126 00:34:12.1 At the gates, to keep them from rushing back out again were a number of American soldiers at the gates.  Thered be no point in our shoving them in and then having them coming back out again.  So, stationed at the gatesunder officers orders, I guessof course all of our soldiers were containing them, keeping them from going back out again.  So, we didnt have cause at that juncture to be going inside.  Our imperative was to go grab these people and keep them inside.  That took quite some time.  If you told me ten minutes, Id say, no, longer.  A half-hour?  Yeah.  An hour?  Could be.  Hour and a half?  It took time.   127 00:34:55.8 So, I didnt see deep inside the thing on the front end of this experience because of what we were doing: chasing the people down and bringing them in.  What occasion I had to see anything inside was when I was dealing with one inmate who wouldnt follow my orders and just go in.  I had to lead him there to the front gate to put him in the hands of our soldiers who were guarding the gate, who then would take over and shove them on inside.  But I could see the inside as Id get them there, and what I saw was a whole melee of people.   128 00:35:29.9 In any event, that went on for a time.  And by this timeand I may be short on the time we were there because an awful lot was done in the time we were there, so maybe it was a couple of hours?  I dont know.  Anyway, that went on for some time.  So, finally we came to the point where I guess we pretty much had the people off the street we could find, who hadnt disappeared out into somewhere else.  We had them in there.  And as part of getting them in there, I only saw what I can only describe asI dont know, a front yard, if you will: an area.  I could see that there were buildings.  I could see that there were beds and such.  But we hadthere were already men inside.   129 00:36:23.0 My job, where I happened to be, was in getting them in there, getting them up to the front door, to the gate, and then at that point turning them over to them and then they would deal with shoving them in.  There were others who were all the way inside.  So, no one of us went from way on the outside to grabbing inmates, bringing them in through the ante yard and all the way into the beds and into the camp.  That wouldnt make sense.  No one of us did that.  Those of us, like myself, who were on the outside bringing them.   Our job was to get them to the gate.  Then there were people at the gate; their job was to get em on inside.  Then there were others who were deep inside.  So, when people ask me, interviewers are disappointed when I could not say to them, Yes, I was right there, saw them in the bunks like you see the pictures of them, and so forth. And the reason for that was that that wasnt my assignment.   130 00:37:22.1 MH: Right. 131 00:37:23.0 LL: How much of it did I see?  How deep did I get in?  I never got into where the beds and bunks were, like you see in pictures.  I got pretty close to it, but not deep inside where it was dark in there.  Where I was, when I got past the front gates to the inside, it was in this yard areathis compound, whatever you choose to call itand it was crammed with people in all stages of debilitation.   132 00:37:51.6 Somevery fewwere relatively healthy looking.  No, I shouldnt say very few; a number of them were relatively healthy looking, like the first ones I ever saw up the street at the first encounter.  It looked likeif I can quantify it on some kind of scale, it looked like theyd only been there a few days.  They were fairly recent consignees, as it were.  Others were in worse shape: skinnier, more debilitated more hallowed and hollow-cheek looking.  Others were on the verge of falling down, with the bones sticking out of their chests, and others were on the ground.   133 00:38:35.8 Anyway, we were there in that courtyard for some time, separating people or doing whatever the hell you do.  I cant even remember, exactly: milling around.  Some kind of order was getting restored, and the officers were shouting at us, shouting orders at us.  We were trying to pick people up, or move them around from one place to another and such.  And while I was doing this, suddenlyand this is the point where I sayI told you in the beginning this was going to be short, and boy was I wrong!   134 00:39:10.8 Anyway, during this time, some kind of order was restored in that there were officers there and many American soldiers were there by this time, et cetera.  But, I was aware that I was hearing whistles, like a policemans whistle: some louder, some dimmer.  I didnt have whistles, so I dont know who could have whistles, but I came to recognize that a whistle meant there was a dead person there, come get him.   135 00:39:41.0 Somebodya squadso, maybe there was somebody behind us who was doing this who had arrived by this time, I couldnt tell you.  Maybe they hadnt lied to us; maybe they had formed units.  Why they never told us about it, I dont know.  But whoever they were had whistles, so maybe there was such a squad.  I dont know.  But Id hear a whistle, Id look to see where the whistle came from and Id see there was a dead person there.  So they would gather them up.   136 00:41:21.1 MH: Were you carrying rations? 137 00:41:22.4 LL: We all carried rations. 138 00:41:24.6 MH: You had what, a pack on your back? 139 00:41:27.1 LL: Did I have a pack on my back?  I dont recall.  I dont know.  You know what a K-ration looks like? 140 00:41:37.5 MH: Yes. 141 00:41:38.0 LL: Like a Cracker Jack box: very small, very little.  You can go a few days with very little of this.  I cant answer that question.  Thats one of many questions I cant answer.  Anyway 142 00:41:51.0 MH: I know this is a minor detail, but youve got the carbine slung on your shoulder? 143 00:41:55.6 LL: Yes, yes, yes.  (laughs) Always.  You sleep with that sucker.  Oh, yeah.  You take care of that before you touch your toenails.  Yeah, sure.  You dont part with that. 144 00:42:7.9 Anyway, so my instinct was to stay, and [mind] the officers.  The officerssome officer said to me, You cant stay, you go.  Thats an order.  Form up, or whatever.  Lets go.  Have to go.  Theres a war to fight yet.  Theres somebody behind us who are specialist; theyll take care of it.  You cant do it, you dont haveyoure not equipped, you dont know what to do.  And dont feed them, dont give any water.  Lets get out of here. 145 00:42:36.6 As a Jewand I knew these were Hungarian Jews, which Ill tell you about later.  And a Jewand the person is a human being.  My instinct there was to help save; for those dying, pick them up, hold them, recite the Shema, a Jewish prayer.  When somebody is dying, you say, Shema Yisraeil, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 146 00:43:5.7 MH: I relate. 147 00:43:6.9 LL: But, no, they told us we had to go.  So, we went.  Later one day here, recently, when it became widely known that I wasI hate the word liberator; it makes it sound as though there was a 148 00:43:28.8 MH: A battle. 149 00:43:29.8 LL: The museum over here [Florida Holocaust Museum] was going to do a feature on the liberators, as they did many other features, so I went to see if my unit was there.  And there were pictures of American soldiers all on the wall, and a little snapshot of eachwhat they looked like then and nowand their little narrative.  One after the other said that they hadnt talked about this, et cetera, and I realized I hadnt talked about it, either. 150 00:43:53.3 MH: When did you start talking about it?   151 00:43:55.3 LL: Well, thats what Im about to tell you, but let me go on with this narrative. 152 00:43:59.9 MH: Sure. 153 00:44:0.5 LL: One day, just accidently, I saw in the St.  Petersburg Times a very small story.  It said that in excavating for a development of some kind in Austria, they came across what looked like it may have been a mass grave, possibly of Nazi prisoners, but they didnt know, and it was just outside a little town called Leinbach.  Well, then I heard the word Leinbach and it stuck in my head, and I immediately knew what it was.  I understood instantly that this was a mass grave of Hungarian Jews from Wels.  I just knew that in my gut.  And the article said they didnt know.  I later learned that somebody had known that about this time, but I didnt know, and I didnt want there to be a grave unknown, unmarked, unrecognized.   154 00:44:57.0 So, I didnt know who to turn to or what, and I started to make phone calls as to what to do.  I thought of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.  So, I contacted the Holocaust Museum and said I had some material about this.  They said, Send us what youve got, and I said, Okay. So, I sent them what material I had about it, and identified this as the Hungarian Jews from the Mauthausen sub-camp Wels and so forth.  And they sent me back a mysterious letter: they wanted my permission to put the material in their archives.  I said, Thats not what Im interested in.  Yes, you have my permission.  Ill give you whatever you want in writing, but Im interested in there being recognition of the gravesite. 155 00:45:41.8 Anyway, thats how I got into all of this and thats how it became more widely known.  I was contacted, finally, from California by somebody for Steven Spielbergs Survivors of the Shoah project.  Youre familiar with it? 156 00:46:2.8 MH: Yes. 157 00:46:3.4 LL: Before they all die, he wanted the narratives of everybody who was involved.  He got into it and decided that he couldnt just take the survivors narratives; he had to have those of the liberators.   158 00:46:14.8 If you think about it, liberators, that hateful wordand Ill tell you why in a minuteliberators. There can only be a handful of them.  If its a few hundred, its a lot.  Because you come across the camp, that imperative is to get rid of the bodies.  You have to bury them, get a bulldozer and bury them; you dont want disease plaguing the countryside.  So, theyre not going to sit there for the world to see and every American soldier to go there; theyre there a day or two and then theyre gone.  So, it can only be people like myself, who happened on the scene by luck.  Most of these camps are off the road.   159 00:46:51.3 Thered be very few liberators: some Americans and Britishthey were in Belgium at Bergen-Belsenand Russians on the other side.  There are just a handful of us.  It all sounds so exalted and, you know, so glamorous, but we didnt do anything to liberate anybody.  Its a bunch of bull.  Just a soldier, putting one foot in front of another like I was told to do, happened to be walking down that road like I was told to do, and walked into this thing.  There were no Germans there to fight.  So, I didnt do anything heroic to be a liberator.  I hate the term liberator; its a false thing.  This fellow who wrote the bookthe newscasterwho wrote the book The Greatest Generation 160 00:47:41.2 MH: Tom Brokaw. 161 00:47:42.1 LL: Yeah.  Exalting these people and the greatest generation who were great?  Thats a lot of foolishness.  Most were draftees.  And even if we werent, we were just ordinary people like the people today, nothing special.  We didnt do anything to liberate anybody, nothing.  I take no credit for liberating anybody.  I dont even like the word attached to me.  People hear youre a liberator, their eyes glass over and they speak in hushed 162 00:48:11.7 MH: Will you accept eyewitness? 163 00:48:13.2 LL: Whats that? 164 00:48:15.0 MH: Will you accept eyewitness? 165 00:48:16.4 LL: Oh, yeah, sure.  Sure. 166 00:48:19.3 MH: Okay. 167 00:48:20.9 LL: I didnt liberate anybody.  I just happened to be there.  The guy next to me happened to be there.  Anyway, thats off the subject.  So, thats how I got into it. 168 00:48:30.4 MH: What year was that? 169 00:48:31.5 LL: Oh, the article in the paper?   170 00:48:36.4 MH: Yeah. 171 00:48:37.2 LL: Im lousy on time.  Time compresses when you get old, I tell you.  Im eighty-two.  Within the past couple of years; maybe its two years.  I got the 172 00:48:48.0 MH: So, you went from 1945 to 2006 having never discussed this. 173 00:48:54.4 LL: Well, maybe 2005, somewhere along in there: four [2004], five [2005], six [2006].  Yeah, never discussed it with anybody.  Ill answer you about that; what its all about.  You come back here.  Oh, great!  Happy to have you home!  Tell us, what was it like? So, you tell em.  Concentration camp? Yeah.  Well, what was it like? Well, all these dead people.  Well, tell me about it. Well, what do you want me to tell you?  They were dead people: stacked up, dead.  And then, if you look like youre getting emotional or anything, then the response would be, Hey!  Forget it!  Its over now, youre back home.  Whoopee!   Lets have a picnic, lets have a party.  Lets buy a car, get some clothes, get some beer. 174 00:49:44.6 So, here you are and youve got this dichotomy.  Here: a great society, cars, happy people, well-fed, happy people.  Over there: destroyed society, gone to rubble, the men gone, the women you could have all you wanted for a pack of cigarettesand cigarettes were free for us, so the women were freeand a destroyed society.  It was one of the most advanced cultures in the world.  You look through Whos Who of the 1800s on through, until the advent of Hitler every other name of achievement is German.  They had Social Security long before we did.  It was gone.  Peoples savings were gone.  The currency was worthless; nobody would accept it.  It was a totally destroyed society, spiritually gone and confused.   175 00:50:38.8 Over here, the other end of the dichotomy.  Everything was fantastic, terrific, get on with it, good.  Forget it, like you could turn the spigot off and you could forget it.  So, you didnt.  And there was, for Jewish soldiers like myselfnot that I was an observant person, nothing like that; ordinary American, assimilated like so many American Jews are.  Not just Jews: Catholics, Irishmen, all of us were assimilated as Americans.  But nonetheless, I have to say its true: there was a certain embarrassment.   176 00:51:17.3 Over there, youre talking to these people.  You asked me what they smelled like.  They stunk.  They were whining and pleading and crying and begging and assuming postures of begging and adoration, kissing your feet, or trying to.  Humiliating, humiliating, the whole thing.  And youre thinking to yourself, There but for the grace of somebody go I.  Why them and not I? But you talk to a German, theyre well fed.  No matter what youve heard to the contrary, theyre well fed.  Theyve got cigarettes to smoke.  They may be ersatz cigarettes, butersatz, fake cigarettes.  Theyre healthy.  They can talk to you on an intellectual level.  They can tell a joke.   177 00:52:13.0 Over here youve got these whining, filthy peopleabhorrent.  Your instinct is just to get away from them.  Just get away from them.  And I thinkI cant speak for others but I believe most Jewish soldiers who saw that, who were involved in that way, had to be embarrassed and humiliated and torn.  I know I was.  I know I was. 178 00:52:38.8 MH: Embarrassed for them? 179 00:52:41.4 LL: I dont know.  I dont know.  Embarrassed because you want your people to be strong and healthy and well, and these were not strong and healthy and well and heroic.  They were slovenly beggars, pitiful people.  You could almost have contempt for them, you know.  Why did you allow the bastards to do this to you?  Why didnt you resist?  Why didnt you fight?  Why didnt you take a bullet? Its hard to explain.   180 00:53:17.7 Anyway, you asked me when I started to talk, something or other.  Oh!  Yes, I went to the Museum, and I saw that none of them talked, none of them talked, nobody talked.  And I was asking myself why I didnt talk.  I thought I didnt talk maybe because of this Jewish thing I described, but obviously these werent all Jewsfar from it, the extreme minority.  They were American soldiers who didnt talk about it.   181 00:53:47.3 And then one radio show they called and interviewed me, as were doing now on the phone, and another guy, non-Jewish, had called in as well.  And, on the radioI had the radio on while I was on the phone with the interviewer; this was a live program.  This guy said he didnt talk about it.  He was a non-Jew.  That was before I had gone to the Museum and seen this exposition where none of them talked.   182 00:54:17.5 People didnt talk.  I always thought it was because of the Jewish context that I just described to you, but I guess it was something else as well.  Part of it was, really, nobody wanted to hear it.  Theyd say to you when you got back, Tell me about it, and, Oh, dead bodies?  Well, thats it. It was unpleasant.  Lets get on with it, you know.  Hey, have a good time, forget it!  Its over, forget it, we won.  Hooray! And something about all that tells you people dont want to hear about it.  I have talked to survivorsnot liberators, survivors, concentration camp survivors with the numbers on their arms, and theyll tell you the same thing.  People didnt want to hear it.  Somehow, they didnt articulate it in words, their demeanor, their manner or their expression.  It silenced you. 183 00:55:14.7 MH: I understand what youre saying.  I came back from Vietnam and nobody wanted to hear it.  It was years. 184 00:55:20.3 LL: There you go.  There you go. 185 00:55:22.7 MH: So, I understand what youre saying. 186 00:55:24.2 LL: Well, Im glad.  Youre the first interviewer Ive spoken to who does understand what Im saying.  Yes, Ive talked to Vietnam people, too.  Terrible, terrible, what we did to the soldiers of Vietnam who came back.  My God, thats unforgivable, how you were treated. 187 00:55:39.6 MH: Except, I need to tell you in the course of doing research for this book, in talking with guys like you who were in combatyou know, through Anzio and through France and the Battle of the Bulge and everything elsethe kind of combat you saw makes the kind of combat we saw in Vietnam look like a party.   188 00:56:0.9 LL: I dont know about that. 189 00:56:2.3 MH: We never faced enemy aircraft, weexcept for the Marines who were way up north, we never faced enemy artillery.  I mean, I was mortared 190 00:56:14.0 LL: Yeah, but you had other nightmares. 191 00:56:15.5 MH: We did, but 192 00:56:16.3 LL: The children who were your little houseboys by day; by night were slitting throats. 193 00:56:21.7 MH: But not like what you went through.  So, back to you.  (laughs) 194 00:56:26.8 LL: Thank you for that.  But anyway, that was it.  It was more than enough lifetime food for thought.  And there was physical experience on the ground.  My whole big deal as a liberator wasif you grant me a lot, it was four hours or something like that.  And the one singular experienceoh, you cant imagine the conflict that goes through your mind.  You cant imagine how your corpuscles fight with each other.   195 00:57:0.0 For example, so the war ended.  When it ended, I was in a gorgeous little mountain village in the Alps, some point where I was.  And we occupied a house, which was an old farmer man and his wife.  He went out to the fields by day; she was a housewife.  There over the mantle of the fireplace was four Germanspictures of four Germans: black and white pictures of four German soldiers.  They were her sons: every single one of the four killed on the Russian front in the war.   196 00:57:35.7 These were the loveliest people you ever saw in your life.  I didnt like Germans; I was prepared to kill em.  They were the loveliest people.  Here was a mother; she lost all four of her sons.  Had no idea what the hell it was all about.  And she somehow chose to believe that I reminded her of her youngest son, so she wanted to feed me and clean my clothes and press my clothes.  And these were peopleand so here were my corpuscles fighting with each other: hate, love, love, hate, a mother, a parent.  Its just too much.  Its just too much.  So, I had enough conflict for a number of lifetimes, in my mind and my spirit and my emotions. 197 00:58:22.0 MH: You used the phrase before; you used the phrase: the content of my nightmares. 198 00:58:25.9 LL: Yes.  I just want to sayIll come back to that.  I was speaking to a groupgraduating class of a religious school, a Christian religious school, a Bible class or something: twelve, fourteen-year-olds.  And one little girl raised her hand.  She says, Mr.  Lubin, do you hate Germans?  Because Im German. And I said, My God, child, no, of course not.  Theyre just people.  Of course not. 199 00:58:56.0 And so, all of this stuff in your headas you were saying, the content of my nightmares.  Yes, the content of my nightmares.  My nightmares are all these things that Im telling you.  And the central theme, the minute I hear the word Holocaustor anything like it that relates to this in that timewhat flashes through my mind is that engraving in my brain of that guy cutting himself to pieces trying to get some nourishment out of that tin can.  That, to me, is the Holocaust.  ButI dont know what else I can tell you. 200 00:59:33.6 MH: You mentioned that you were either a loosely observant Jew or non-observant. 201 00:59:41.2 LL: No, not at all.  I went toas a child, I went to Sunday school, religious school.  Learned a smattering of Hebrew, which I forgot as soon as it was over with.  You didnt know the meaning of the words; you read it phonetically.   202 00:59:56.4 MH: Were you bar mitzvahed? 203 00:59:58.6 LL: Yes.  Youre not Jewish, are you? 204 01:00:1.8 MH: Yes. 205 01:00:2.2 LL: Oh, I didnt know that.  Thought I was talking to a gentile. 206 01:00:5.0 MH: No, no, no. 207 01:00:6.1 LL: Yes, Sunday school, Hebrew school, as you know what that means: very little.  And bar mitzvahed, and that was the last of that.  Walked away from it, and I early on adopted aI dont like the word atheism, because it sounds like a belief all in itself: a belief to have not a belief.  So, I dont like that word, and I dont like agnostic, because thats nothing; its not here nor there.  But Im certainly not a believer in God.  I guess the closest thing to it is atheism, thats it.  So, Im culturally a Jew, certainly not religiously.  No, never went to temple, never went to synagogue unless somebody was getting married or it was a funeral. 208 01:00:49.4 MH: Was that just the way it was, or was that a reaction to what you saw? 209 01:00:54.0 LL: No, no, its the way it was.  Its the way I was.  I didnt come back to anything like Judaism until the end of the war, when I came home from the war.  Then it was Zionism, and it was my mental picture of those people in Europe, and it was a questionthe British were not allowing them into Palestine.  They sent the ship [SS] Exodus back, and it was a matter of saving these people and creating Israel, now Palestine.  I wonder how smart that was, as opposed to having relegated them to the Western societies; maybe we wouldnt be living with this Middle East nightmare now, I dont know. 210 01:01:34.0 But, in any event, that was the extent to which I returned back to Judaism, if you will.  So I had relationship with it, a connection with it, in terms of making speeches to groups, Zionist groups, and public works, toward that end and all that.  But certainly there was never any religious connection whatever, you know?  I dont accept any notion of God. 211 01:01:57.5 MH: Is thatthat has nothing to do with having seen what you saw in Europe? 212 01:02:4.0 LL: No.  No.   213 01:02:5.7 MH: Okay. 214 01:02:7.3 LL: No offense here; if I offend you, I apologize. 215 01:02:11.2 MH: No, youre not offending me. 216 01:02:12.3 LL: When I say to you that I regard the concept of a God as the way usually thought of aswhats a good word?  I dont knowbizarre, a fairy tale?  Makes no sense to me.   217 01:02:30.1 Why should I accept it on faith?  So many things were accepted on faith that are ridiculous and puerile.  So, why?  Because somebody else saw a vision and its his faith and he toldnothing authoritative was ever shown to me that gives me any commitment to the idea.  People are smarter than I am who came up with this notion, and why should I accept them? 218 01:02:54.6 MH: But youve never raised the question, you know, The proof that theres no God, I saw at Wels. 219 01:03:1.8 LL: No.  No.  Ive heard it all around me, of course, but I had already formulated that notion so I didnt need Wels to tell me that.  But in discussion, I could make that point.  I could say that.  It wasnt what formulated my concept, but I could say that to you, yes.  The crazy answers that they give youGod has His own (inaudible).  Yeah, I can go into that, pursue that.  But no, I never accepted that in the first place.  But if I needed any kind of proof, (laughs) thats what it was.  Surely the Holocaust could serve that function. 220 01:03:45.1 And I want to say this to you: Id be thrilled and delighted to meet you if it can be worked out on Tuesday, if youre going to be here anyway.   221 01:03:52.0 MH: I have to come up there and I really would like to come over, if nothing else to meet you and to take your picture. 222 01:03:58.4 LL: Well, youre nice.  I dont want you to come to my apartment.  I just sold my house, the beautiful house I had on the water.  I sold that and Im in a junkynot junky, its okay.  Its an apartment, condo apartment.  Its just a horrible nightmare, so I dont want it to be there.  So, well have to try to meet somewhere else.  I apologize. 223 01:04:15.9 MH: Where do you live in relation to Bay Pines [VA Medical Center]? 224 01:04:20.4 LL: A distance.   In driving time, you can do it in fifteen minutes. 225 01:04:26.5 MH: Would you like to meet for lunch? 226 01:04:30.2 LL: Yeah, we can do that.  Let me get my calendar.  Hold on, Ive got to walk to another place.  But I must tell you that well have to stay in phone contact as we approach the time for the meeting.  Its very possible I would have to cancel; theres something going on in the family that commands my time.  What day are we looking at? 227 01:04:53.7 MH: Tuesday. 228 01:04:54.3 LL: The 27th? 229 01:04:56.7 MH: The 27th.  I have an 8:30 appointment there and an 11:30an 11:00 appointment, so I should be done there at noon. 230 01:05:6.2 LL: Okay.  Youll be where, at Bay Pines? 231 01:05:9.4 MH: At Bay Pines VA. 232 01:05:10.4 LL: Let me make some notes.  Forgive me; lets start over from the beginning, and give me your name. 233 01:05:17.2 MH: Michael Hirsh, H-i-r-s-h. 234 01:05:21.0 LL: H-i-r-s-h, okay. 235 01:05:23.7 MH: Let me give you a cell phone number. 236 01:05:25.3 LL: Good.  Hang on.  Okay? 237 01:05:36.7 MH: Do you have a cell phone? 238 01:05:37.9 LL: Yes, Im going to give that to you right now.  I have to walk to someplace else.  I never have memorized it.  But when Im not in the house, its always on me, with me.  So, thats what we should do, is connect that way.  I have no idea at the moment that I speak where Ill be on Tuesday close to that time. [NAFA 1:05:55.9-1:06:08.1] 239 01:06:8.1 MH: Okay. 240 01:06:9.3 LL: So, why dont we leave it this way: Ill lay it into my calendar for that time, Tuesday the 27th at noon. 241 01:06:22.7 MH: At noon.  Ill call you as soon as I finish. 242 01:06:25.0 LL: Im sorry? 243 01:06:26.0 MH: Ill call you as soon as I finish. 244 01:06:27.4 LL: Youll call me, and wherever I am, eitherand if I have to say I cant meet you, I apologize in advance, cause I would love to. 245 01:06:35.3 MH: Its okay. 246 01:06:36.6 LL: But if I cant, and Im going to try to make myself available, Ill await your call, and then well agree to meet. 247 01:06:44.4 MH: Can I ask you, what career path did you follow when you came home from the war? 248 01:06:51.0 LL: Law.  I went back to school, met a woman, had a pocketful of moneyits a total other story why I had a lot of money, and its not important.  Had a pocket full of money, and I met a womanshe was going to college out there, University of Miami.  It was over summer, and when the summer ended, she was going back to school, so I went back with her.  (laughs) That relationship ran its course, but by the time it had, I was involved in school and accidentally got into law schoolby pure accident, which is also another story.   249 01:07:33.1 I graduated, became a lawyer, and practiced law all this time, up until virtually now.  Ive chosen as a cut-off end date to resign from the bar and close my practice June 30.  Im in the processselling my house was part of the process, and Im in the process of doing what it takes to close the practice out and dealing with hundreds of files and all that one must do.  It takes weeks, and weeks, and weeks, which is why I choose not to meet with you in my apartment, because its just a horrible mess here: all part of the process of selling my house, moving, shutting my practice down, et cetera, et cetera. 250 01:08:14.0 MH: What kind of law did you practice? 251 01:08:15.2 LL: It has been a varied career.  Ive always been, except for just a very short intervalextremely shortIve always been a sole practitioner.  So, its been a varied career.  And the law has changed, as has everything else; were dealing in a new era.  You know Ben Hecht, the author 252 01:08:36.1 MH: Yes. 253 01:08:36.8 LL: who wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning The Front Page with Charles MacArthur?  Ben Hecht wrote a book called A Child of the Century.  And his thesis was, here he is, born on the cusp of the century, the close-out of the last century, into 1900, and here the world was changed and turned over and in parallel with his lifespan, so hes a child of this remarkable century.  Its written as though this is almost the end of everything; weve come as far as we can go, as the song says.  I think of us, people of our generation, as children of the era, because its not a century anymore, its an era.  Its a totally different, incomprehensible world, this change.  Related to the atomic age, whatever you want to call it.  I think were children of the era. 254 01:09:34.4 So, back to my practice; what I practice.  Its a different era today, and you couldnt do that I did.  I thought, Well, they trained me, they educated me.  Im a lawyer, I hang up a shingle, and I can do anything. (laughs) I didnt know that I couldnt.  I thought I could, which I did.  If a criminal case came to me, I handled a criminal case.  Probate, a death came to me, I did that.  Somebody wanted an estate plan, I did that.  So, every day was a new learning experience.  Over time, I did develop expertise in one area or another.  I did appellate law for other lawyersIm very proud of thatfor a time.  I did trial work, tried many a case.   255 01:10:13.0 In these latter years, as I became older and not as agile, I quit trying cases, litigating, and little by little oriented my practice to estate planning and administration and probate.  In other words, arrange peoples affairs during their lifetimes to give them the advantage in the court process of probate and tax advantages and what have you.   And then at death, [I] handled the administration of their estates; the probate part of it.  Because thats essentially a sitting-down practice, and its not one of those where your life is a series of appointments, waiting for judges, waiting for juries in halls with spittoons.  In those days, there were still spittoons out in the halls.  (laughs) You know what a spittoon is? 256 01:11:10.7 MH: I certainly do. 257 01:11:11.6 LL: (laughs) So, Ive done thing or another.  Ive done appellate work, and I think I had a certain amount of expertise in each at one time or another.  I have no regrets, but today I would never embark on such a thing.  Its a new era.  Nobody can do that.  Its insane.  Anybody who can claim to be a lawyer, a whole practitioner who handles everything, is nuts. 258 01:11:35.0 MH: Did you happen to follow the [Terri] Schiavo case? 259 01:11:37.3 LL: Yes.  Well, followed it in a lay sense. 260 01:11:40.7 MH: I wrote Michael Schiavos book. Terri: The Truth, written by Michael Schiavo and Michael Hirsh and published in 2006. 261 01:11:42.8 LL: Did you, now? 262 01:11:44.0 MH: Yes.   263 01:11:44.8 LL: Wow, Im impressed. 264 01:11:47.3 MH: So, I spent a lot of time with several six-foot-high stacks of legal documents.  (laughs) 265 01:11:53.5 LL: (laughs) Amazing.  How old are you? 266 01:11:56.7 MH: Sixty-five.  Did you marry? 267 01:12:0.6 LL: Yes.  I married Lona, L-o-n-a.  She diedwe were married in 1951; she died just short of fifty years, two weeks short of fifty years.  She died in, oh, 2000 and what, four [2004] or something like that. 268 01:12:17.8 MH: You have children? 269 01:12:19.6 LL: Two grown children, a son and a daughter, and one grandchildmy son has a childa granddaughter whos twenty.  Just a few kids.   270 01:12:29.3 MH: Do they live near you? 271 01:12:31.3 LL: Yes, weve been very fortunate; were pretty close to them.  I hear many people complain that their children are so far away.   272 01:12:39.9 MH: My children are in New Jersey. 273 01:12:41.6 LL: And you live where? 274 01:12:44.0 MH: I live in Punta Gorda [Florida]. 275 01:12:45.2 LL: Ah.  Well, New Jerseyat least if theyre all in one place its not all that bad. 276 01:12:49.3 MH: No.  We just spent two weeks up there.  We just had another grandson. 277 01:12:53.3 LL: And your occupation is? 278 01:12:55.3 MH: I write books.  I spent most of my career in television, working in public television and doing documentaries and network specials. 279 01:13:3.4 LL: Amazing. 280 01:13:5.7 MH: This will be my fifth book. 281 01:13:7.6 LL: Amazing.  And youre calling this book what? 282 01:13:11.3 MH: Um, youre going to hate it.  Youre going to hate the main title; the subtitle youll like.  The main title at the moment is The Last Liberators.  The subtitle is Americas Final Witnesses to the Holocaust. 283 01:13:23.5 LL: Okay.  Okay. 284 01:13:26.5 MH: But I certainly will duly note how you feel about the word liberator. 285 01:13:30.5 LL: (laughs) How I feel is not important. 286 01:13:34.6 MH: It is.  I mean, the experience is very personal to you. 287 01:13:41.9 LL: Well, anyways, back toI developed back trouble, and part of why I had to change my law practice was thatsome other reasons, too, but one of them was I cant stand on my feet very long.  Obviously, you cant try lawsuits when youre not on your feet, among other things.  So, as a result, Im impaired, so I dont get much exercise, or any to speak of.  So, I developed belly fat and what have you.  That oriented me to a sit-down law practice, which in turn oriented me to more belly fat and less fitness, and the one thing fed off the other.  Somehow, I got to eighty-two.  I dont know how that happened.   288 01:14:25.0 MH: You keep going. 289 01:14:26.3 LL: Oh, I dont know.  (laughs) 290 01:14:27.8 MH: Do you have any pictures of you from World War II? 291 01:14:30.4 LL: Yeah, I think I do. 292 01:14:33.1 MH: If you could dig one out that I could borrow, Id appreciate it. 293 01:14:36.3 LL: Will I get it back? 294 01:14:37.3 MH: Yes, absolutely.  Ill scan it, or the publisherll scan it, and itll come back to you. 295 01:14:42.8 LL: Let me make a note.  Pictures. 296 01:14:45.5 MH: And when we meet, Id like to take a couple of pictures of you. 297 01:14:50.0 LL: Okay.  Im not much to look at 298 01:14:54.2 MH: Thats okay. 299 01:14:55.0 LL: but Id be happy to do it.  As the song says, Not much to look at. Anyway, yeah, I look forward to meeting you. 300 01:15:0.7 MH: Okay. 301 01:15:1.7 LL: You sound like a delightful man. 302 01:15:3.2 MH: I will call you on Tuesday. 303 01:15:4.4 LL: How many children do you have? 304 01:15:5.4 MH: A boy and a girl. 305 01:15:6.7 LL: What do they do? 306 01:15:7.8 MH: My son is the oldest, and he has twin three and a half-year-old boys.   307 01:15:13.1 LL: Oh, my. 308 01:15:13.7 MH: And my daughter is three years younger.  My sons about to be thirty-eight, and my daughter is thirty-five.  She has a little girl whos four years old, and just had a little boy. 309 01:15:23.2 LL: How nice! 310 01:15:24.2 MH: Actually, not so little.  He weighed nine and a half pounds. 311 01:15:26.3 LL: (laughs) Well, Mike, I look forward to meeting you, and Im going to move heaven and earth to be available when you call on the 27th.  I pray that I will. 312 01:15:36.5 MH: Okay, terrific. 313 01:15:37.5 LL: Take care. 314 01:15:38.0 MH: Thank you very much, sir. 315 01:15:38.9 LL: Bye. 316 01:15:39.3 MH: Bye-bye. 317 01:15:39.0 MH: Were talking with Leonard Lubin.  So, why do you think that the Jewish soldiers were embarrassed by it? 318 01:15:46.5 LL: Because of my own response, and from my perception of the facial expressions and the body language of those I spoke to; what little speaking we did of it.  Thats the impression I had.  It was my own impression, as well. 319 01:16:0.6 MH: You believe you felt differently than the gentile soldiers? 320 01:16:5.6 LL: Yes, I do.  Yeah.  I think that the gentile soldiers felt that they were seeing something awful.  It was terrible.  They were very compassionate, no question about it.  They were.  Tried to help in every possible way.  But it was an event, an experience in lifea life experiencea terrible one, but a life experience.  I got from them the same kind of, or similar, reaction Id gotten from people Id spoken to who had been in the stockyards and watched the slaughter of animals.  It was an abhorrent event, but it was different, I think, for Jewish soldiers. 321 01:16:43.1 MH: But by the time liberation happened, most of the people remaining alive in the camps were not Jews.  I mean, at Dachau there were 33,000 or 34,000 people still alive, and only 2,000 of them were Jews. 322 01:16:55.7 LL: In Wels, they were all Hungarian Jews. 323 01:16:57.9 MH: In Wels, they were all Hungarian Jews. 324 01:16:59.4 LL: The Hungarian Jews were the very last liberated, as I think you know. 325 01:17:3.1 MH: Yeah. 326 01:17:3.3 LL: The very last.  They were the last taken in and the last liberated, largely through the efforts, I think, ofwhats his name?  The gentile Swedish 327 01:17:13.8 MH: [Raoul] Wallenberg? 328 01:17:15.1 LL: Wallenberg was one of them, and some others who acted for them.  They were the very last.  These were all Hungarian Jews.  It was the very end, the very tail.  Yeah, thats what they were.  It was a visceral experience.  You could speak to a German: he was nourished, looked well.  If you were in such a mode, you could talk with him about poetry or music or languages.  You couldnt talk to these people.  These people were starving to death.  They were whining, begging, repulsive.  Its human nature to be repelled by such things.  I saw similar body language or expressions on others.  Its not repugnant, but repelling you, a thing you turn away from. 329 01:18:7.1 MH: Do you feel guilty because you have that reaction? 330 01:18:10.7 LL: No, no.  I understand its normal.  I dont feel any sense of guilt.  I saw it as a normal thing.  But I had the sense that theres nothing you could be proud of.  There was something, a little voice inside that said, How did you allow this to happen to you?  Why didnt you resist this?  Why didnt you take a bullet, as they did in the Warsaw ghetto?  Why didnt you resist?  How did you allow yourself to be taken this way, and demeaned in this way? This was the little voice speaking to me.  I was angry about that.  I felt a sense of anger as to why they didnt fight. 331 01:18:50.3 MH: Ten years, twenty years, fifty years later, do you still hear that little voice saying that? 332 01:19:10.1 MH: Let me talk about Germans for a second.  When I started working on this project, I mean, I had read Holocaust accounts and history, but not as much as Ive read now.  Two things strike me, one of which is the Germans not only had to kill people, but they deliberately had to humiliate them along the way.   333 01:19:32.5 LL: Something like Abu Ghraib [prison], isnt it?  Something like our people at Abu Ghraib: humiliate them first. 334 01:19:40.1 MH: But at Abu Ghraibthey were trying to get information at Abu Ghraib. 335 01:19:42.7 LL: Well, not all of them.  The woman [Private Lynndie England] who had one on a dog leash, et cetera, she was just having a good time. 336 01:19:47.7 MH: Well let that go for a moment. 337 01:19:50.6 LL: (laughs) Can I give you a broader answer to this, what I went through? 338 01:19:56.3 MH: Let me take the second part.  The second part was: the order came down that no prisoners are to be taken alive, which is why they marched them from Auschwitz to another camp; which is why, as they were leaving Ohrdruf, they emptied their guns.  I mean, they shot boom-boom-boom-boom-boom.  They couldnt say, The war is over, all this crap happened. They had to kill as they were leaving. 339 01:20:22.3 LL: Do you know, do you understand that there were those among the Einsatzgruppen who couldnt do it, couldnt shoot them, who broke down or who resisted and had to be removed from that task, who couldnt do the job, who were disgusted by it or sickened by it?  Because, why?  Because they were human beings, and because we human beings behave as human beings, thats why. 340 01:20:47.8 Let me get to the broader issue about Germans and whether theyre different.  I came back thinking they were different.  My corpuscles were at war with each other, because of my experience with the German couple, whom I mentioned to you, who had the farm.  Here these were compassionate, lovely people, who could not feel sad; the mother who had lost her children, who had been drafted.  And I found them to be human.  I found them to be human beings. 341 01:21:20.0  (to server) Thank you. 342 01:21:20.6 So, my corpuscles were at war with each other.  Part of me was trained to kill, ready to kill without hesitation.  And here I found them to be wonderful, warm human beings, for whom I felt compassion. 343 01:21:41.4  (talking about recorder) Is it getting it? 344 01:21:42.6 MH: Yeah.  Thats what I was making sure of. 345 01:21:44.0 LL: I came back home, and in the course of time the French had their North Africa experience and were accused of atrocities to the people, torture, very much like the Nazis; and then the Dutch in their Indonesia colony, exactly the same thing.  I began to take note of the proposition that people are people, and that what the Nazis did or what the Germans did could happen elsewhere as well.  The French did it, the Dutch did it.  Latterly, Abu Ghraib tells me the same thing, and other similar experiences.   346 01:22:18.4 So, my attitude has mellowed over time.  It doesnt mean that I embrace them.  Im still hesitant about them, the Germans.  I still view them from a distance.  They have to prove something to me.  I have to be satisfied about them first, but I dont derivatively detest each and every one of them because he happens to be of German stock.  That attitude has changed because of life experiences that Ive described to you.   347 01:22:48.0 But, in any event, what brought on that question was the attitude about Jews.  Yes, I think there was, if not guilt, some other feeling; in my case, the anger I described to you.  I would like to thinkI dont know.  We can never know what we will do.  There was a young Mexican American boy who jumped out of a trench and ran under the guns of a Tiger tank, climbed up on top of the tank, and threw a grenade into the hole, the peephole, and destroyed the crew in there.  He was cited for heroism.  They asked him later, What were you thinking? He said, I dont know.  I just did it. 348 01:23:29.9 Which illustrates what Im saying: you dont know what youre going to do and how youre going to act.  But I like to think, I choose to think, that I would not have allowed myself to be taken in the way these people did, and humiliated the way they did.  I like to think, I choose to think, that I would resist.  I dont know that I would, but I like to think so.  So, there was that anger, that original anger, that pitiable attitude and experience, that whining, groveling attitude that was despicable to me.  I dont think that my experience was unique to me. 349 01:24:6.2 Server: Uh-oh, runaway olive. 350 01:24:8.0 MH: Its okay, well manage. 351 01:24:9.2 Server: (laughs) 352 01:24:10.9 LL: Thank you. 353 01:24:11.0 Server: Youre welcome.  This is marinara sauce we serve for the eggplant fries, and that is a mint aioli that is served with the burger. 354 01:24:13.5 MH: Thank you. 355 01:24:16.0 LL: Do you sell limeade? 356 01:24:18.3 Server: Limeade?  No. 357 01:24:20.2 LL: How aboutwould you bring me one of those iced teas? 358 01:24:21.5 Server: An iced tea? 359 01:24:21.7 LL: Yes, please. 360 01:24:22.3 Server: Sure.  Anything else I can bring for you? 361 01:24:24.0 LL: No, thats all. 362 01:24:24.7 MH: Were good, thank you. 363 01:24:25.4 LL: I dont thinkIm pretty sure that my attitude to experiences is not unique.  Others may deny it, they may not have thought it through, or they may have chosen not to think about it.  I dont know.  But I believe that theres merit in what Im talking about.  Bon apptit. 364 01:24:56.4 MH: Thank you.  Same to you. 365 01:24:58.2 LL: You know the joke about Goldberg, of course.  Goldberg? 366 01:25:1.7 MH: No. 367 01:25:2.5 LL: Goldbergs taking this exotic cruise.  He gets to his table where hes assigned, and theres another man sitting there, who gets up when he comes in and says, Bon apptit. SoIm terrible at telling jokes.  Ill think of it later.  (laughs) I forget how to work the punch line. 368 01:25:22.8 MH: Wait a minute.  I dont get the punch line? 369 01:25:25.0 LL: He says, Bon apptit. So, Goldberg says, Goldberg, and they sit down to eat.  The next meal, the same thing. 370 01:25:34.2 MH: (laughs) 371 01:25:34.7 LL: Finally, Goldberg decides that hes going to be as debonair and as worldly as the other man is, so he beats him to the table for the next meal.  When the Frenchman comes to the meal, Goldberg stands up and says, Bon apptit, and the Frenchman says, Goldberg. (laughs) So, anyway, Goldberg to you.  Bon apptit.  I hope thats good. 372 01:26:3.7 MH: It is. 373 01:26:6.7 LL: You want to turn that off, or let it run? 374 01:26:7.8 MH: (talking about recorder) Let it run.  You wrote this in response to something? 375 01:26:20.0 LL: My son had been talking to somebody about something, and so he got on the Internet to look up something about a camp.  I forget the name of the camp. 376 01:26:33.6 Server: There you go. 377 01:26:34.0 MH: Wels? 378 01:26:34.7 LL: Wels was the sub-camp of 379 01:26:36.8 MH: Buchenwald? 380 01:26:38.3 LL: No, no. 381 01:26:38.9 MH: No, Mauthausen. 382 01:26:40.1 LL: Mauthausen.  Well, he looked it up on the Internet.  He knew something about the Holocaust, of course, but he hadnt looked at that part of it in depth.  He did, and he became overwhelmed with what he saw, and disturbed by it.  So, he wrote to me: he wrote that to me, in which he saidhis central point was, I dont see, Dad, how could you live in the world?  How could you believe in the decency and nobility of man?  How did you make it work?  How did you get by in the world? It was in response, in answer to that, that I wrote this, in which I started out by saying, Well, first, before I answer you, let me tell you about liberators. I did, and then I answered his question at the end, in which I tell him how I acted or how I felt I could live in the world.  So, it was in response to his question. 383 01:27:45.8 MH: Why do you seem almost embarrassed to be referred to as a liberator? 384 01:27:52.8 LL: For the reasons that Ive told you. 385 01:27:56.0 MH: You dont think you did anything? 386 01:27:58.2 LL: A number of reasons.  Its an artifice.  It has no validity.  Were creating artificial heroes.  I dislike to see them relish in it and come to believe that theyre heroes, who are doing only what they were doing.  We didnt do anything to liberate.  We didnt fight anybody.  We didnt do a damn thing.  We just happened to be there, thats all.  I feel that its wrong for them, and Ive seen them, other so-called liberators like myself, wallow in this and start believing themselves to be heroes, thinking of themselves as heroes who did something, and I dont think they did.  The heroes, for examples, were those in the Polish Warsaw Ghetto who fought.  Those were heroes. 387 01:28:47.1 MH: How much combat did you see before you got to Wels? 388 01:28:50.1 LL: Very little, very little.  It was the tail end of the war, and we were racing across Europe.  The whole thing was a couple of months.  Got there shortly after the first of the year 1945, and the war ended in May, and it was a chase.  We got there, my unit relieved the 100th, which I had been in before, and from there on we crossed the Rhine River and then it was a race, chasing them; the Russians were chasing them the other way.  We were meeting in the middle, and they were running from the Russians towards us.  There were just hordes of people coming toward us, and the Germans were running this way and that way and didnt know which ray to run.  So, they ran mostly toward us.  Most of what we were doing was telling prisoners where to go, or to go back.  There were thousands, hundreds of thousands of them on the roads. 389 01:29:35.3 MH: When you say it was a chase, you were running across the Europe, youre in what, deuce-and-a-half trucks? 390 01:29:41.1 LL: All kinds.  We had troops on foot, and to keep up pace, we ferried them back and forth.  The column of troops was going this way, and what can they do, twenty miles in a day?  Maybe fifteen, twenty miles a day. 391 01:29:57.2 Server: Gentlemen, how are we doing?  How do you like the lamburger? 392 01:29:59.2 MH: Its very good, thank you. 393 01:30:1.5 LL: So, trucks would go aheador go backload up some of them, take them forward and drop them off and go back.  Instead of moving fifteen or twenty miles in that day, you could move forty miles.  So, all kinds of situations.  We were chasing across the countryside trying to beat the Russians to the area.  If you see some of the collateral material, we were trying to get the German scientists and their materials, wanted to get to the sites before the Russians did.  If we intruded three feet into the Russian zone, when they got there they made us go back out of what they called their territory.  There was some combat resistance, usually in the form of snipers in the churches in the small towns.  As you approached the town, they would utilize the church, as the highest point in town, as their sharpshooters sight.  And some combat, but not extensive, not elaborate.  It was mostly just a chase.  I tell you, we werent heroes. 394 01:31:16.1 MH: Okay. 395 01:31:18.2 LL: I think it should be debunked.  They should not be allowed to think of themselves as heroes, when they didnt do anything heroic.  I didnt. 396 01:31:28.9 MH: There wereIve interviewed guys who were in the war much earlier: North Africa, Anzio.  In one case, a man who lives near me did all that and ended up at Dachau.  When I listen to him and listen to other people about the combat experiences they have, and compare them to the combat experiences I know we had in Vietnam, what the World War II guys generally went through, at least at that stage in the war, makes Vietnam look like a party. 397 01:32:3.8 LL: My personal feeling is those who had it the very worst were those in the Pacific, the South Pacific.  I think they had it worst of all: jungle fighting, on the beaches.  There was no civilization around them.  You know, we had the option, the potential, to sleep warm at night by taking over a village, doubling the Germans up, putting guards around them, and taking their houses, and sleeping warm.  Fireplaces and warmth, food, the potential to get food out in the countryside; there was bacon, eggs, we had chickens, potable water: some civilization.  The guys in the Pacific didnt have any of that.  You were in the sand.  You were in a stinking hole.  You were rotting with insects driving you crazy.  I think they had the worst of it. 398 01:33:5.6 In any case, mine was easy.  It was that winter.  I say it was easy: relatively easy.  It was very cold; we were in the Alps.  It was a very cold winter, January, February, and on to March. 399 01:33:21.5 MH: They say it was one of the worst winters on record. 400 01:33:23.2 LL: It was a very bad winter.  We were very, very high in the Alps, very high.  There were some nights when we couldnt get into quarters, when we had sleep outside and had to dig into the snow to sleep.  But I cant call it a hardship that measures in any way like those fellows went through. 401 01:33:46.2 MH: Have you ever gotten into this debate with other vets from World War II who feel differently? 402 01:33:52.0 LL: Who did? 403 01:33:52.8 MH: Who feel differently. 404 01:33:53.6 LL: No.  No, but Ive talked to Vietnam people whose experiences are different from yours, and who describe a very horrendous experience. 405 01:34:4.6 MH: The people in Vietnam who I believe had it worst were the Marines up north near the DMZ [Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone], where they had the North Vietnamese army lobbying artillery at them day in and day out. 406 01:34:19.0 LL: No, relatively, our experience was a lot easier.  It was combat, saw a lot of dead bodies and a lot of misery, lot of rubble.  Munich waslast night on the public channel WUSFno, no, on the Travel Channelthis fellow Steve Reeves [Rick Steves], who does Europe, did Munich and the foothills.  I tuned in for just a little bit of it, because I had time in Munich.  Its a glistening, gorgeous, beautiful city, but what I saw was rubble.  You couldnt go five feet that it wasnt rubble.  So, I just wanted to see what it looked like today.   407 01:35:7.1 ButI lost my point; couldnt have been worth very much.  (laughs) 408 01:35:13.9 MH: The night 409 01:35:18.5 LL: IIm sorry. 410 01:35:20.0 MH: No, go ahead. 411 01:35:20.8 LL: I was going to say, I suffered more mentally and emotionally than I did physically.  It was a tremendous shock.  We werentits inexcusable that we were not prepared in any way to encounter the concentration camps, in no way.  Nothing.  It wasnt discussed, wasnt mentioned.  We had no clue.  Thats why when we were told, when I got there and wanted to stay and help, though I didnt know what I could do, we were told, No, no, no.  There are outfits behind us equipped to do this, and Im saying to myself, If they knew we were going to encounter this to the point that they created outfits capable of it, why werent we told? Something didnt make any sense to me.   412 01:36:7.2 And the example of the German couple that I talked to you about.  All of this, and running into a camp full of Jewsthese were all Jews in Welsall of this did a number on my head.  Theres no question about it.  I didnt have any breakdown, but theres no question about it.  It was extremely disturbing.  And as I said in this note to my son, to come home is a terrible shock.  You come home to this society, lets buy cars, whoopee, everything is great.  Its a disconnect.  I was just over here, and it was one thing, and now Im over here and its something else.  It doesnt make any sense.  And then Germans; and who are German?   And what are Germans?  And how could this happenall of it.  Pretty big shock. 413 01:37:3.8 MH: But you didnt talk about it for decades, you told me. 414 01:37:8.9 LL: From high school, a couple of months of college just to pass the time till Im called, so essentially from high schoolI was a kidinto this: a disconnect, tremendous disconnect and emotional upheaval. 415 01:37:31.1 Lets see, what else can I tell you that might be of help? 416 01:37:39.5 MH: Were there points in your life when this, you know, came rushing back to you? 417 01:37:43.2 LL: No.  If you mean flashbacks and whatever the word is for emotional breakdowns and all of that, no. 418 01:37:53.4 MH: Not necessarily emotional breakdowns, but times when something in the news would come up 419 01:37:57.8 LL: Yes.  Something in the news or something would remind me, yes, and tears would come to my eyes, and I would choke up and I couldnt talk.  For the longest time, I couldnt discuss it at all.  The first time I was ever interviewed was for radio, not with pictures, and was being tape recorded as you are here now.  I had not ever spoken of this, and I was shocked when I reached the point where I encountered the man trying to get nourishment out of the tin can, that I described to you.  I was shocked to find myself breaking down in tears.  I had no idea that that was in me.   420 01:38:43.8 Of course, as time went on and I told the story many more timesthis interview with you now must be at least the fifth or sixth in one form or another: some for radio; one was filmed, of course, the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah project.  Like anything else, you get used to things, and as you talk about it, it becomes easier to do.  If I were being interviewed now and it was the first time, you would find me to be a very different person youd be looking at.  No, we didnt talk.  Again, as I mentioned, that was the other shock.   421 01:39:28.9 When I went to the exhibit at our museum, our Holocaust museum, they had the pictures all around the wall: a big picture of the soldier as he looks today, up in the corner a little snapshot of how he looked then, and then his narrative.  One after one, after one, we didnt talk about it, we didnt talk about it.  I tuned in for just a moment, switching channels to last nights Memorial Day thing out of Washington.  They had the actor Charles Durning doing histhe same thing.  We didnt talk about it, he didnt talk about it.  I could understand why Jews didnt talk about it, perhaps, but I couldnt understand why others didnt.  Why didnt they talk about it?  I had a hard time understanding that in myself and in others.  The answer that Ive gottenonly latterly, not in those earlier days, only recentlywas nobody wanted to talk about it.  You couldnt get next to anybody in talking about it.  You could see it on their face.  Forget about it.  I dont want to hear about it. 422 01:40:42.7 For a time, I had an associate in my law office who was the child of a survivor.  Never was in the camps; he was in the Polish woods as a partisan.  His father had all this World War II experience, some of it very brutal, and my associate in my officewhen I asked him about this, his father had never discussed it with him.  Isnt that the damndest thing?  His own father never discussed it with him.  I said, Didnt that concern you?  Werent you concerned? He said yes.  I couldnt understand why his father never discussed it.  Again, until very recently 423 01:41:28.4 MH: Sometimes, in order to discuss it, you need to be asked. 424 01:41:31.3 LL: Even when asked. 425 01:41:33.3 MH: Really? 426 01:41:33.5 LL: Oh, they asked. 427 01:41:34.7 MH: And his father wouldnt talk? 428 01:41:36.4 LL: He and his brothers asked, and the father would dismiss it, wouldnt talk.  So, you suspect things.  Is it guilt?  Was he a kapo, a collaborator?  Was he alive because he collaborated?  Thats another brutal thing to confront; thats another issue.  Can you imagine? 429 01:41:57.1 So, theres something in the human makeup at work here: too many people who didnt talk about it.  You have to ask yourself why.  Some may be because they were kapos: they cooperated.  Some may be because its overemotional for them to do so.  I dont know.  But when I asked my associate about it, he said, No, he didnt talk about it. I said, Does it bother you? He said, Yes, it did. I said, Did you ask him? Yes, he dismissed it.  Wouldnt talk about it. Perhaps in the telling of it its too disturbing to the one telling it, I dont know. 430 01:42:41.7 MH: Do you recall the Nuremberg Trials?  Do you remember what you were thinking about when those trials were taking place? 431 01:42:53.5 LL: Im not sure I know the meaning of your question. 432 01:42:56.0 MH: Well, Ill tell you where Im going with it.  One of the thingsagain, in researching thisIve discovered, is that there were peoplethere were Nazis convicted of war crimes who were hung.  There were others who were given long prison sentences.  Around 1950 or so, most of those sentences were commuted. 433 01:43:16.1 LL: I know.  Youve seen Trial at Nuremberg [Judgment at Nuremberg] movie?   434 01:43:21.2 MH: Yeah. 435 01:43:21.5 LL: Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich.  It ends with that recitation: that by such-and-such a date, all of them were free.  You have a point there? 436 01:43:35.2 MH: I dont understand it. 437 01:43:37.6 LL: About [Wernher] von Braun?  We bring him here, we fte him, and we wine and dine him, and we make him a citizen and we give him everything.  This man used slave labor, who died.  As at my camp, they came in the back door, front door, and they were worked to death and died, and they went out the back door.  It was a constant revolving door.  Von Braun used those people.  We took him in.   438 01:44:6.3 The larger issue, supposedly: the larger issue, the more important issue.  Why didnt we bomb the tracks, railroad tracks, and facilities going into Auschwitz and save lives?  The larger issue.  The best way to save the Jews is to end the war as quickly as we can, that was the notion.  Tonight, one of the movies playing on the television will be Ship of Danger or something like that.  Its about the St. Louis turning back, with the ship. The MS St.  Louis, a German ocean liner; in 1939 it sailed from Germany to Cuba with 937 Jewish refugees, who were refused entry to Cuba and then to the United States.  The captain, Gustav Schrder, refused to return to Germany until the passengers were given entry to some other country: ultimately, they were dispersed between the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.  Lubin is probably referring to the 1976 movie Voyage of the Damned, based on the 1974 book of the same title by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts. So, why, why, why?  All these things are why?  Because, its the kind of world we live in, a political world.   439 01:44:49.0 When the war was over over there and there was much to do, we used the Germans because they were effective.  If you wanted to get something done, the way to do it was to have their German overseer in charge of the project, or the German sergeant.  Thats how you got things done.  We worked with them, with the Germans.  Many became friendly with the Germansunseemly to me; unseemly disgusting, to me.  But thats the human condition.  Thats the way it works. 440 01:45:34.3 MH: I was asked recently how I felt about somebody who had been one of the guards, I guess, at one of the concentration camps, who was deported from the U.S. at the age of eighty-three. 441 01:45:48.2 LL: Yeah, we have right here in St. Pete a lot of them.  Theres a substantial Lithuanian community here.  Remember the Lithuanians?  Yes. 442 01:45:58.4 MH: How do you feel about letting them off, or deporting them?  What would you do with them? 443 01:46:5.4 LL: I suppose it was the extent of their involvement and what it is that they did.  If you dig too deeply, you find youre not left with too much of a German population: as this young man [Daniel Goldhagen] writes in his now-book, Hitlers Willing Executioners.  How can you kill six million people, involving the entire railroad system, involving all of those people and all of those mechanics and all those resources, without people knowing about it?  How do you keep such a thing secret?  Its not possible to do so.  People had to know about it.  They had to be involved.   444 01:46:50.5 Yet, if you look at the pictures that were taken when the Third Army, of which I was a part, liberated a camp, Patton insisted on getting the German civilians in from the town and making them go through.  If you look at their faces, you can see theyre truly in shock.  They didnt know about this.  They knew the camp was there, they may have even known that people were getting killed, but they didnt know about the ABCs of the brutality they were seeing there. 445 01:47:26.2 MH: I just watchedI found some on the Web, and then I found a place to buy a DVD that showed the footage that George Stevens, the Hollywood director, did at a number of camps, including Ohrdruf, the first camp we liberated, and Hadamar, the hospital.  And at Ohrdruf, you see the German civilians being brought in on a truck and being compelled to walk past.  The first thing they walk past was a displayI keep surprising myself, cause I find things that I never knew.  On the display, they had one of the lampshades that was made out of skin, but then they had painting that were done on dried human skin.  And then you see an Army sergeant put two shrunken heads on the table. 446 01:48:11.1 LL: Yes.   447 01:48:12.4 MH: And 448 01:48:14.3 LL: How?  You ask yourself how? 449 01:48:18.5 MH: Yeah.  And then you see the German citizenstheyre all dressed up.  The men are wearing coats and ties, and theyre carrying shovels cause theyve been told, Youre gonna have to carry these bodies. But theyre still the same people who said, We didnt know. Just like when I went to Auschwitz: the little village of Owicim is literally right outside the gate.  They didnt know.  Those trains coming back and forth, they didnt know. 450 01:48:50.8 LL: Did you know, or were you old enoughmaybe you werent old enoughabout our Japanese Americans whom we put in concentration camps? 451 01:48:59.2 MH: Yes. 452 01:48:59.5 LL: Call them what you want; they were concentration camps.  You can say what you want; these were American citizens.  They had been removed from their homes 453 01:49:8.3 MH: I would agree with part two; I dont agree with that theyre concentration camps. 454 01:49:11.7 LL: Call it what you want. 455 01:49:12.5 MH: Well, theyre not slave labor camps, and they werent there to die. 456 01:49:15.7 LL: Good.  (inaudible) touch.  Nevertheless, nevertheless, they were uprooted from their homes, American citizens, many of them born here.  Uprooted from their homes, their businesses were taken away from them, and they were put in camp.  The larger point that Im making, the point Im leading to, is I would have been, about that time, sixteen or seventeen, something like that, years of age.  I knew that we had put these Japanese Americans in a camp, but it never dawned on me that they could be brutalized, tortured, or killed.   457 01:49:48.0 Thats the very point.  Its conceivable that there are Germans who knew that there were these camps.  The government, the society, was telling them that these people are undesirables, whatever it was.  They knew, they saw, that people from their village had disappeared, their houses were taken over, and they knew that they were taken over somewhere to the camp, or out to the east.  But they might not have known, as I didnt know about the Japanese.  If, in the end, it had turned out that the Japanese were routinely tortured and brutalized or killed 458 01:50:20.7 Server: Can I take that for you?  You still working on yours, sir? 459 01:50:22.4 LL: No, Im through. 460 01:50:23.2 Server: Enjoy it? 461 01:50:24.1 LL: Yes. 462 01:50:24.4 Server: Can I bring you anything else? 463 01:50:25.8 LL: Let me think about it for a couple minutes. 464 01:50:27.8 Server: Okay.   465 01:50:28.5 LL: Thank you. 466 01:50:30.6 Server: Youre welcome. 467 01:50:31.3 LL: Would I have been guilty if I had known?  I didnt know.  How could I know?  Would the guilt attach to me?  So, I accept that there were Germans who didnt know.  Very conceivable.  I accept that.  I dont think that each and every last German in the society knew the extent of what happened. 468 01:50:51.5 MH: Do you think in America today thered be a significant part of the population that would say we should put Muslims in camps? 469 01:51:1.6 LL: Do I think that there are Americans who feel that way?  Absolutely.  Ive talked to Americans who do think they should be expelled.  Yes, absolutely.  They think of them as enemies, all Muslims.  Yes, they do.  Absolutely.  Do you? 470 01:51:19.0 MH: Think they should be put in camps, or do I think that there are people like that?   471 01:51:24.0 LL: Uh-huh. 472 01:51:24.1 MH: No, I know there are people.  I just wondered how large a population itd be. 473 01:51:28.7 LL: I dont know that we can ever measure that. 474 01:51:30.3 MH: Yeah. 475 01:51:30.8 LL: I dont know that thats possible.  But, yes, Ive spoken to them.  Its the first time Ive ever heard that reference that they should be put in camps, not specifically as such, but Ive talked to many who think they cant be trusted, think that theyre enemies, who think that that religion indoctrinates them in these ideas and these notions, harsh notions.  Ive tried to think about that myself.  I dont know all that much about it, but theres a lot of tough language in there.  Poke out their eyes and cut off their hands; judicial systems deal with the people in those ways.  I dont know.  Language and words can affect us over time, can influence us over time.  I dont know. 476 01:52:26.0 MH: As an attorney, how did you react to Guantanamo [Guantanamo Bay detention camp], to incarcerating people without charges, to habeas corpus disappearing? 477 01:52:39.5 LL: Well, obviously, I dont have to tell you thats terribly disturbing to an attorney.  A special orientation to constitutional, civil rights, self-determination, personal liberty, the rule of law?  Of course, its very disturbing, no question about it.  The torture issue is something else.  There are those who say that torture doesnt work, that people will give you, tell you what you want to hear.  But it does work: thats why its used, because it works.  No?  You dont think so? 478 01:53:18.4 MH: I think the people who really have to use the resultsI mean, what they basically say is, If you torture somebody badly enough, theyll tell you what they think you want to hear.  Theyll tell you anything to get it to stop. 479 01:53:30.0 LL: Well, if what you want to hear is, Where is the bomb planted?  Where did you plant the bomb? youll very quickly learn whether youre being told the truth or not.  Its not a question of what you want to hear.  Youll go look and see if the bomb is there where he told you it was.  If you elicit that information in that way and you go there and you find the bomb 480 01:53:53.7 MH: Then it worked.  Then it worked.   481 01:53:56.3 LL: It worked.  It does work. 482 01:53:59.2 MH: To go back to my own 483 01:54:0.8 LL: My joke about is, if theres something you dont want the enemy to know, dont tell me, because under torture Ill tell. 484 01:54:6.7 MH: To go back to my Vietnam experience, there was a storywhether true or apocryphal, and Im sure it was bothof capturing two VC [Viet Cong], taking them up in a helicopter to 1500 feet, throwing one of them out to get the other one to tell you what the plans are to attack the division in the next twenty-four hours.  And its with no little embarrassment 485 01:54:36.0  (talking about the check) Let me get this, please. 486 01:54:37.0 LL: No, please; youre making a hero out of me, so let me pick it up. 487 01:54:39.8 MH: Thank you. 488 01:54:40.2 LL: Incidentally 489 01:54:41.8 MH: Its with no little embarrassment that I say I didnt find anything wrong with that, having been one of the troops on the ground. 490 01:54:47.9 LL: Well, its interesting you say that.  As a boy in my teens, I read a true story along those lines, along that same theme.  They wanted some information, they had a handful of black prisoners in a jail, and they said, Until we get the answers, were going to hang you one at a time. They took the one out, kicking and screaming, and tied his hands and legs and hung him right there, in front of them for all to see, came back in.  Next! 491 01:55:19.8 Server: You gentlemen having anything else? 492 01:55:21.1 LL: And they got the information. 493 01:55:22.5 Server: All right. 494 01:55:23.2 LL: They got the information that they wanted, whatever it was.  So, yes, torture works.  A medical patient in horrible pain and anguish, you tell him that itll cost him $10 for pain medication thatll relieve his pain immediately, hell pay it.  Would you pay $100? Yes.  Would you pay $1000? Hell pay anything. 495 01:55:49.1  (phone rings) 496 01:55:50.2 LL: (regarding phone call) Theres a prescription that may be ready to pick up. 497 01:55:53.4 Sorry, we got interrupted. 498 01:55:54.8 MH: You were talking about the medical patient, how much hell pay for the pain. 499 01:55:59.1 LL: Hell pay $1000, hell pay $100,000.  While hes lying there in pain, hell say, Everything!  Take everything Ive got!  It doesnt matter! So, yes, torture works; perhaps not always, perhaps not perfectly, but it certainly works.  I cant stand the notion of torture.  I cant stand the notion thatthe alienation of the rule of law, not only as an attorney, as a person, as a human being, the moral standpoint, especially augmented by my posture as an attorney, educated in this.  At the same time, I wonder about myself.  What would I do?  Would I invoke the torture?  If I have the guy 500 01:56:39.0 Server: Gentlemen, thank you. 501 01:56:39.6 LL: Thank you, maam. 502 01:56:40.7 and the bomb is planted, its going to go off, and its going to kill an awful lot of innocent people, children and all the rest, and I have really good reason to believe that this guy has the information, what to do?  Am I gonna sit there holier than thou and say, Absolutely not.  I foreswear it.  Im not going to use it.  Im not going to do it. And if, then, the bomb goes off and I didnt do it, am I going to suffer the rest of my life the anguish of knowing that I might have saved all those people?  I dont know. 503 01:57:20.5 MH: But the extension of that is Guantanamo, where weve got x number of 504 01:57:24.8 LL: Youre preaching to the choir.  (laughs) I understand, I understand.  Thats the whole reason for it, its expression.  It only takes a minuscule amount of pork to treyf [make un-kosher] a whole barrel of stew. 505 01:57:40.3 MH: (laughs) Ive never heard it put like that.  Yes. 506 01:57:44.4 LL: You follow the meaning? 507 01:57:45.0 MH: Yes.   508 01:57:45.2 LL: Same thing here.  Its the slippery slope.  That little bit of pork there to allow for a Guantanamo, special circumstances.  That little pork treyfs the whole damn stew, and pushes you on the slippery slope.  Thats the reason; thats why we have such very strong rules.   509 01:58:6.8 You stop a guy in a car, as the police do, and you search the car and theres all kinds of incriminating stuff: paraphernalia and God knows what.  If the attorney for the defense is able to show that the stop was improper, if the police did not have an adequate reasonnever mind compelling reason, an adequate reason to stop the car, you ask for the suppression of the evidence.  In other words, all of that evidence gets thrown out.  The prosecution is charged with the task of trying to process the case without the evidence, and the man walks out the courtroom free.  The layman says, What the hell kind of law is that? 510 01:58:43.6 MH: You let him off on a technicality. 511 01:58:45.0 LL: You let him off on a technicality, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Go try to explain to them, We lawyers have the task Bad enough to be a Jew; to be a Jewish lawyer, let me tell you! 512 01:58:52.5 MH: My brother-in-law is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago. 513 01:58:56.1 LL: Bad enough to be a Jew; to be a Jewish lawyer is something else.  Go try to explain to the average layman what thats all aboutYou let somebody off on a technicality?  What, are you crazy?  You catch him with all this stuff on him?to try to make them understand that it can be you next time, that the cops can be wrong. 514 01:59:17.8 MH: Tell me a little bit about talking to schoolkids about the Holocaust, about your experiences. 515 01:59:22.6 LL: Well, when you say tell you a little bit about the experience 516 01:59:27.1 MH: Or a lot. 517 01:59:27.7 LL: (laughs) Dont know what to tell.  You try to tell them.  My notion 518 01:59:35.5 MH: What was it like the first time you talked to the kids? 519 01:59:37.2 LL: Very difficult, very emotional.  Very emotional.  What is okay to tell them, whats not okay to tell them?  What are you trying to get across to them?  Whats the point?  Do you just want to make them feel bad, or do you have an issue?  What are you trying to get across?  Whats your objective?  So, I dont know what you mean when you say, What do you feel? You hope youre connecting with them, hope that theyre understanding. 520 02:00:7.2 MH: Well, I mean, you wouldnt have gone unless you felt there was a point to be made, there was a reason to do it. 521 02:00:13.6 LL: Yes.  To be ever alert; to protect your liberties and your freedoms, to understand that; to inject some humanism into the system; to recognize, as they should recognize, that there are such things as bad laws, and that your duty is to try to change things, try to change bad laws.  These are the purposes.  Thats my objective.  I didnt go seek it.  You get a telephone call and they ask you would you speak to the group, and youre either going to say no or yes.  If youre going to say yes, then you have to ask yourself what youre all about, what are you trying to do. 522 02:00:56.5 MH: What did you decide was proper to tell them, and what did you decide they dont need to hear? 523 02:01:2.5 LL: I felt it wasnt necessary to burden them with great detail about the brutality, the physical, to describe to them the physicalin depth, the physical condition of the people.  I didnt feel that was necessary; I could make the point without that.  Didnt want to terrify them, send them home in tears.   524 02:01:32.1 And as I saidI think I told you on the telephonea lovely little girl raises her hand.  Do you hate Germans?  Because Im a German. My heart went out to the poor child.  Shes hearing this stuff.  Is she a bad seed?  Is it endemic?  Has she no choice in the matter?  Is it beyond her?  Thats a terrible thing to visit on a child.  Is it my fault?  We hear that in divorces, the children suffer, often wondering whether they caused the divorce.  Could they have behaved in some other way so that the divorce might not have happened?  Same thing here.  You have to recognize that youre dealing with tender years.  I have friends who are survivors of the camps themselves, who display the tattoo and all the rest, who do go into excruciating detail, who guess its necessary to make the point.   525 02:02:43.7 MH: Did you ever ask them why they do it?  Ever had a discussion with them about it? 526 02:02:49.2 LL: Yes, I did. 527 02:02:50.5 MH: Where did that go? 528 02:02:51.3 LL: Well, one I have in mind became angry with me for even raising doubts about it.  So, thats where that went.  And, back to that earlier discussion about what the Germans knew or didnt know, to what extentis each and every last citizen there complicit in the thing in one way or another, by acts or by omissions?  I dont know.  I have to believe that there were decent people among them.  Were all human.   529 02:03:34.5 I had one survivor of a camp who described this scene to me: Hes there digging in a ditch, and hes up to his ankles in slop and mud.  Theres a German Nazi captain there, who happened to be walking by.  It was wintertime, freezing cold.  The guy had just the prison uniform on, no warm clothes, and hes there in freezing water and ice.  The German captain is there, and walks by and sees him, and theres no one much else around him.  He sees the captain looking around this way, and he reaches into his pocket like this and, as he walks away, lets an orange drop out of his pocket onto the ground to him, right next to him there.   530 02:04:24.5 What does that mean?  What the hell does that mean?  You got to think about a thing like that.  What was he doing?  What was it all about?  So, what do you say about such a man?  You paint everybody with the same brush?  I dont know.  We had ourwhat was the name ofour own American troops in Vietnam, go destroy a village and kill every man, woman, and child 531 02:04:58.2 MH: My Lai [Massacre]? 532 02:04:58.8 LL: My Lai.  These are Americans.  They had not been indoctrinated into the Nazi hatred.  They were indoctrinated by something else: by experience, by their time there, by anguish. 533 02:05:18.1 MH: But when it came out, the country was repulsed by it. 534 02:05:22.3 LL: Yes. 535 02:05:23.1 MH: Thats a major difference. 536 02:05:28.0 LL: But can you take that to mean that Americans are good and are different from Germans, who are bad across the board, and paint them all the same?  You cant do that.  Its nuts.  You cant do that. 537 02:05:37.3 MH: I dont know, except that 538 02:05:38.9 LL: Please, dont misunderstand.  Im no apologist for the Germans. 539 02:05:43.6 MH: No, no, I understand that.  But its just the monstrosity of 540 02:05:46.4 LL: Of course.  Thats why were here. 541 02:05:48.7 MH: Yeah. 542 02:05:49.1 LL: We wouldnt be here.  You wouldnt be writing this book, except that its monstrous.  Thats why youre writing this book.  Incidentally, when it comes out, Id like to buy one from you.  I dont want it as a gift.  I wish to buy one.  Really. 543 02:06:0.3 MH: No, Ive already made an arrangement with the publisher that everybody I interview will get one. 544 02:06:6.8 LL: My daughter will chase you down with the cadres to your grave if you lose these [photos].  This is all we have. 545 02:06:12.3 MH: (laughs) Okay. 546 02:06:12.7 LL: Theres one in Garmisch [Garmisch-Partenkirchen]; the war had just ended.  That was in Garmisch, when we dressed in rehabilitation.  Thats one thats self-explanatory; Im told I look like a Nazi there. 547 02:06:23.1 MH: I dont think so. 548 02:06:24.7 LL: These are all separated by papers to keep them fromthis is just as I got back after the war, in a nightclub, just days after I was back. 549 02:06:40.3 MH: Let me not take that one.  Id like to take these two, and I will not lose them. 550 02:06:51.5 LL: All right.  Thank you. 551 02:06:52.7 MH: I will get them back to you. 552 02:06:55.2 LL: And you do have my address.  If you wish, theres an envelope for them. 553 02:06:59.1 MH: Oh, great.  Thank you. 554 02:07:1.1 LL: What were we on? 555 02:07:3.7 MH: Your daughter is in town here? 556 02:08:6.4 LL: Yes.  (laughs) Oh, I thought thats the pen for a moment.  So, I suppose there will be questions that will never be answered.  I understandthese responses I give you that roll off the lips easily and allI didnt come to these notions in two minutes.  These developed over years. 557 02:07:43.7  (phone rings loudly) Hello? 558 02:07:48.4 MH: You were saying the responses developed over years. 559 02:07:53.0 LL: Yeah.  It took a long time, and all of the things developed with time.  I suspect that if you were interviewing me within weeks or months after I had returned home after the war, the responses I would give you to these same questions might be very different.  I came to these ideas over time.   560 02:08:16.8 At the time I left there to come home, Germans were evil, fundamentally, and it was endemic in them.  They were worthy only of being killed, and I would have had no hesitation to do it.  It took the French experience, the Dutch experience and all this, and now confirmed latterly by our own experience to bring change in my thinking about these things.  I had to think back on the couple, and I had to think back on the German captain with the orange, and all of these.  It took time.  It took time to come to these conclusions.  And Im sure theres still questions for which nobody has answers.  I dont know.  Are you familiar with the [Stanley] Milgram experiments? 561 02:09:6.7 MH: Yes. 562 02:09:6.9 LL: Well, what the hell did 563 02:09:8.7 Server: All set, gentlemen?  Thank you very much. 564 02:09:9.7 LL: Are we holding you up from the rest of your life? 565 02:09:11.5 Server: From the rest of my life? 566 02:09:13.1 LL: Yes. 567 02:09:13.3 Server: The bussers going to vacuum in here soon. 568 02:09:16.5 MH: Okay, wellwere done. 569 02:09:1.8 LL: Well be out of here in a few minutes. 570 02:09:7.9 MH: In fact, it just came up in a conversation I had last night. 571 02:09:21.0 LL: Yeah.  Where do you go with that?  And there were other spinoffs from it.  There were the blue-eyed/brown-eyed children in school.  You know about that? 572 02:09:30.8 MH: Yeah. 573 02:09:31.0 LL: And there were the jailers and the inmates [the Stanford prison experiment]: the same thing, the responses of people, human beings.  So, you look back at the Germans and the German experience.  How could they behave this way?  Well, then you look at the Milgram experience and you say, Here are common people who behaved in a bizarre kind of way. It took very little to influence them to behave in that kind of way.  And, yet, there were some who didnt, who didnt comply.  (laughs) Again, where do you go with that?  It unnerved Milgram, I understand.  He didnt finish the experiments. Well! 574 02:10:9.0 MH: I thank you. 575 02:10:12.3 LL: I thank you.