On January 27, 1945, Oleg Mandić was the last child to leave the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. During his visit to Maribor, he saw an exhibition about the Holocaust and drew attention to the revitalization of neo-fascist ideas in the 21st century.
International Research Center II. World War II Maribor hosted Oleg Mandić; he described part of his experiences in the context of a public conversation. he is sure that luck followed him from the day he arrived at Auschwitz by train and also when he landed with the infamous doctor Josef Mengele.
Oleg Mandić was born on April 5, 1933 in Sušak pri Reka, but today he lives in Opatija. As an 11-year-old boy, together with his mother and grandmother, he was brought to the German concentration camp Auschwitz, where he spent seven and a half months, and Red Army officers were the last to escort him out of the camp, along with his mother and grandmother, on January 27, 1945. Their departure from the camp is documented on a film tape, part of which was also shown today at the press conference in the premises of the museum or former prisoner of war camp Stalag XVIII D in Melj in Maribor. Since January of this year, a documentary exhibition about the Holocaust entitled Despite everything – Survive!, which the International Research Center II. Maribor prepared together with the Maribor Synagogue and the Victory Museum in Moscow.
Mandić, who was given the number 189488 in the Auschwitz camp and is also mentioned in the exhibition, also saw the exhibition today. He remembers that the liberation of the camp had been expected for about a month, especially after January 20, 1945, when the Germans left and took around 60,000 people with them on this death march.
Several close encounters with deathSam then found his grandmother and mother again and stayed in the camp with about 5,500 people. “The realization that freedom was near was in each of us,” he said. At the same time, he said that around 4,400 of them lived to be liberated, while the remaining 1,100 died of exhaustion in the last days. Mandić, who was later a lawyer and marketing expert by profession, also wrote several books, says that he was accompanied by luck ever since the first day he was brought to Auschwitz by train. At that time, as a boy, he was assigned to the women, and not to the rest of the prisoners. He was also lucky a month later, when there were too many people in the camp and every fifth one was sent to death by selection. Sam was then fourth in line.
He was also lucky when he landed with the infamous doctor Mengele, who experimented on twins. He had a special relationship with Mandić, the director of the International Research Center II said today. World War Maribor Janez Ujčič.
Mandić added that being with Mengele was actually lucky for him, because he didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go to work. Ujčič pointed out that he was also lucky that he did not go on the aforementioned death march and that he lived to be liberated by the Red Army.
Defeated, but never completely defeated dangerWhen asked how he sees the new spread of neo-Nazism in the world, Mandić said that it is senseless that such ideas are still being promoted in the 21st century. He added that politicians should do more about this and take action each in their own country.
The president of the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia is of the same opinion Franjo Habulin, who, among others, accompanied Mandić on today’s visit to Maribor. Habulin pointed out the danger of pro-fascist parties appearing in Europe and the world, and the problem of strengthening and revitalizing Nazism.
At the same time, Ujčič announced that they will hold a special conference on this topic this year within the framework of the research center he heads.