Special Reports

SPECIAL REPORT: A Story of Survival


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) - We've all heard about the millions killed during Holocaust. But what about the death camps AFTER World War II?

It's something many had no idea even existed. But one woman in Aiken County knows all too well that they did. That's because, she survived one.

"It ended up that people ate rats and rats ate people," said Eva Edl, 1945 Yugoslavia death camp survivor.

What these eyes have seen, and what Eva Edl has experienced, is more horrific than most of us could ever to imagine.

"We were considered to be non-human. It was just permission for torture and killing by the government," said Edl.

It was 1945. World War 2 was coming to an end, and just shy of 10 years old, Eva was enjoying life with her older brother and sister in what was then, Yugoslavia.

"We were not affected much by the war. Troops came through, they came and went, and we lived our normal lives," said Edl.

Soon rumors began of Resistance Groups starting to kill those of German descent, like Eva and her family.

"I was a very sensitive child and took all of these rumors in and became very fearful that this would happen to me," said Edl.

Those rumors quickly became a reality as the Russians started to enter her town.

"They were very brutal. They got drunk every night and when on raping sprees," said Edl.

Eva's father vanished, never to be heard from again. It wasn't long before she, her mother, and her siblings were put on a forced march to another ethnic German town.

"That's where they divided us up. We had no clue why. But we found out the 12 year olds and up were slated for hard labor camps, and then the little ones for extermination," said Edl.

Her grandmother was Hungarian and considered 'safe'. But she decided to risk her life.

"Grandmother did not want me to be alone so she joined me," said Edl.

Reality quickly set in.

"They crammed around 20 to 21,000, maybe more people into those areas. We received about a cup full of what they called soup. In the morning and at night. And it was nothing more than warm water with peas which were beetle infested so we had all of these black beetles on top and larva of beetles. And it smelled to high heaven," explained Edl. "When somebody died you wrapped them up in their little blanket and put them out in the street. Wagons came through and they loaded them up like hardwood and put them in mass graves. Layer after layer after layer."

After a few months, little Eva began to develop sores all over her body.

"I had no skin anymore on my legs and couldn't walk anymore. People gagged when they came near me. The flies and the fleas and the lice, and the bed bugs just loved this festering body," said Edl.

While Eva continued to fight for her life, her mother managed to escape from her own camp, only to find out her children had been sent away.

"And she dropped to her knees and said, 'God, let me find my children or let me perish.' Here was this little 5 foot woman with only 6 grades of education, I don't know how she did it. But she managed to break in to camps where she thought we might be," said Edl.

And eventually she found all 3 of her children, including Eva's grandmother. They went to another labor camp where they knew they could at least get food for the moment, and the guards weren't as strict. But still ... conditions were unbearable.

"People were just skeletons, I mean ... ya," said Edl.

After 18 months of facing death, they escaped one last time.

"That's another miracle story. I mean the guards were shooting, and the dogs were coming and we were running and I got stuck in the swampy area and couldn't move anymore," said Edl.

After crossing the border into Austria, they spent 8 more years in refugee camps. Thousands joined them, and conditions weren't the greatest, but freedom was.

Her family eventually made it to the U-S, where she got married and started a family. Never forgetting the horror that she left behind, and never forgetting the strength that kept her alive.

"There is nothing in life that can happen to you where God can not help you get through it," said Edl.

In 2006, Eva returned to the death camp where she was forced to live.

She said she prayed over it, asking God for forgiveness for those who killed so many.

Eva's full unedited interview can be watched below:

(WJBF) - World War II. The unimaginable horror of Nazi death camps is well documented. But I spoke with one woman and her incredible story of survival that took place after the war ended.

"That's when the real killing started, for the next four years..."

Why is so little known about this historical event?

"The guards were shooting and the dogs were coming...and we were considered to be non-human."

Hear her story Thursday, February 1st at 6 p.m. on NewsChannel 6

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