To: The MEDIA
Re: CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVORS
Dear Sir / Madam,
My name is Alexander McClelland I am an
Australian veteran of WWII, a TPI
(Totally and Permanently Incapacitated) and a survivor of a Concentration
Aged 19 I volunteered for the AIF and
fought as a Bren Gunner in 2/1
Infantry Btn in North Africa, Greece and Crete where I was wounded and
captured by German forces. I spent the rest of the war as a POW but due
to my many escape attempts I was finally put into the TEREZIN
Concentration Camp close to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in Czechoslovakia.
I have recorded my experiences in an autobiographical
book entitled :
'The Answer- Justice.' In 1965 I was featured in an award winning but
historically inaccurate Australian television documentary on
Theresienstadt called "Where Death Wears A Smile."
I don't receive my TPI Pension because
of the heavy wounds I received in
the battle action on Crete. I get my TPI Pension because of the inhumane
treatment I received in the Concentration Camp. It is a mistake to
believe that the Germans had enough spare manpower to staff and run the
concentration camps. The Germans only guarded the outer perimeter of the
camps, we Prisoners hardly saw German soldiers, so it was not the SS or
German guards that beat me up daily.
No, the daily beatings that left me totally
incapacitated, came from two
fellow Prisoners called KAPOS.
Kapos (or Camp Police) had extra privileges,
such as their own room and
they also had power, For example the Power to say who got to visit the
Camp Sick Bay or the Camp Brothel, and - because of the absence of the
very disciplined Germans - these Kapos even had the Power over Life &
The two Kapos that beat me daily, using
a heavy wooden baton they called
'Herr Doktor' (The Doctor) were both fellow Prisoners, both were Jewish,
one from Hungary and the other was, I believe, a Ukrainian. I was often a
witness when they dragged other hapless prisoners from their cells onto
the 'Appelplatz' and beat them to death with 'The Doctor'.
So whenever I meet a ' Camp survivor'
now, I look him deeply in the eyes
to see what sort of a 'survivor' they are; were they really a Prisoner
just like me, or whether they were one of the many 'Privileged' ones who
survived the war being more inhumane to other Prisoners than the Germans
As a matter of fact, it was a German SS
Soldier who saved my life after
the Kapos, who after beating me sent me outside the camp on a work
detail, with a dangerously poisoned leg. The SS Soldier walking by saw my
mates helping me, came over and then gave me his medical kit.
I now look deeply into the eyes of the
'survivors,' because I know that
not all Concentration Camp survivors were innocent victims. I know that a
lot of the Prisoners were brutal and inhumane criminals. The world has
never been told the whole truth about what life in the Camps was like.
All we ever hear or read in the media is, how bad the German guards were
and how badly they treated their Prisoners.
I was in more than 8 POW Camps and a Concentration
Camp, so who would
know the truth? Me or the Media!
PO Box 887 Toronto NSW 2283