About Serge Miller
Serge (Avremke) Miller born in Varniai, Lithuania was awarded the Prix Liberte and the author of “Le Laminoir – Recit d’un Deporte”. He escaped from Buchenwald and its sub-camps, twice.
“Serge Miller as himself. Obliged to make a living from his young age, he began to write in the sports news. Prisoner of war, he escaped and joined the Resistance. At the end of October 1943, he was taken by the Germans and deported to Buchenwald. These are the eighteen months in deportation that he tells in this book”.
Le Laminoir by Serge Miller
“Serge Miller, soldier in ‘39, prisoner in ‘40, escaped in 42, militant in the Résistance when he was stopped in Lyon by the Gestapo on 23rd October 1943. Held at Montluc then in Compiègne, he was deported to Buchenwald in January 1944. From there he was transferred to the terrible Ellrich camp where the forced labour organized by the Nazis was the most atrocious seen. Thanks to his belief in victory to be had, his intelligence and his knowledge, he managed to survive. He even managed to escape from an evacuation train which, as the Allies were approaching, was taking camp survivors to be exterminated at Bergen-Belsen. Back in France, he wrote Le Laminoir, and was awarded the PRIX LIBERTÉ in 1947. Without prejudging and without hate, but with a remarkable sense of observation, Serge Miller wrote with great detail about the world of the camps he lived day to day over fifteen long months. In its simplicity, his recollections constitute the finest homage that this Resistant could give to his comrades of all nationalities and all beliefs, who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.
The 1944-45 winter camp Ellrich Serge MILLER Serge MILLER - Serial Number 44809
Winter returned, bringing snow and cold. In Autumn, some days when the sun gave the trees and golden hue, we had a few dreamy moments dreams. Now it was just the funereal colors - the white of the snow, the black trees and mud everywhere with perpetually grey skies.
A ravaged coat was our only supplementary piece of clothing. It was only the dead who allowed the survivors not to go barefoot.
In the Blocks, there was space, but we packed in voluntarily to be less cold. The "without clothes" could have been dressed well or not, but all those who survived after three months on forced half rations, were practically incapable of moving. Real skeletons covered with skin but did not want to let go.
What torture was theirs. There was no call for them, but twice a day, with all due respect to regulation, an employee of the Arbeitsstatistik, passed through the bunks with a list to control the bodies lying all day. It looked like it was as a sect of fanatics doing a hunger strike or imitating Gandhi.
The SS who had the oversight of our block had remarked: "I think if we do not finish it, they will never die" and one of those dying had said: "When I think of that, in France we say: any sentence except death and yet it is better to receive twelve bullets in the skin or spend a few moments in the gas chamber than being there, like us, we are witness to a slow death over for weeks and months. They would do better to remove altogether any food, but this half-portion, I wonder if they do not give us on purpose to prolong our agony. We can still not commit suicide.”It seems it's cowardice, I think it is rather the courage we lack. "
The courage or the cowardice, a small Hungarian Jew from the convoy evacuated from Auschwitz, had been throwing herself at the time it departed, under the train that had brought us, as it did each day to the worksite. The body had been cut in half. It was in the icy morning fog that we packed in like a herd of sheep fearing a storm, while watching, mesmerized, tattered pieces of the man who had left us.
Some of us tried to display a shade of compassion, before this tragedy, in the eyes of the sentinels, but they seemed to themselves no longer know in what world they were. And then they had it all in our heads that we were all destined to die in the camps, then these representatives of the race of Lords, these giants, these thugs, these automata were shaking in their pants before even the least of superior officers, and it was obviously no question of asking for any human solidarity.
Christmas, the largest traditional festival in Germany, brought us a call in six hours. A simple mistake in the accounts had prompted the decision of the Commander.
Gathered at 11a.m. to be released normally thirty minutes after - the break did not occur until 5p.m. Dozens of prisoners had collapsed in the ranks, struck by congestion or simply starvation. It is true that it was -30 ° cold, but dead or alive, one had to wait for the whistle to be blown by the liberator.
The true liberation came only after four months, four months during which most of us should have died, either in camp or in the evacuation convoys which had to travel to Bergen-Belsen to be liquidated.
The Red Army had to rescue the escapees, some had escaped from the train ... It was twenty years ago! Text published in November 1965
See Association Francaise Buchenwald Dora et Kommandos [http://www.buchenwald-dora.fr/3temoignages/listedep.htm]