The chronology, especially of April 1945, is not always quite clear due to contradictory reports.
April 26: About 3500 seriously ill concentration camp prisoners from the Kaufering concentration camps are put into freights car destined for extermination in the Dachau camp (Grinberg, May 31, 1945).
April 27: The train arrives at Schwabhausen where the SS leaves it exposed on the rails as bait for the ongoing Allied air raids. At 10:20 h the French bomb squadron „Navarre“ attacks the train. About 140 prisoners are killed, but about 400-500 escape and hide in the woods, many heavily wounded and nearly all completely emaciated and ill. The train leaves without them for Dachau.
April 28: Dr. Zalman Grinberg arranges the transport of about 50 heavily wounded prisoners to the nearby monastery of St. Ottilien which at this time was being used as a German military hospital after the expulsion of the monks.
April 29: The 4th US Infantry Division reaches the Landsberg region.
April 30: According to a report of the American 12th Infantry Regiment, the hospital at St. Ottilien with facilities in the neighboring village Greifenberg (Theresienbad) cares for 1525 German and 97 Allied patients with 15 medical officers in charge. Under their protection, about 500 liberated prisoners are brought from Schwabhausen to Hospital St. Ottilien where they occupy the former monastery school, the retreat house (two of the three hospital complexes) and the Ottilien villa. A smaller part of the Schwabhausen victims like Dr. Samuel Gringauz and Jacob Oliesky move to military Baracks in Landsberg and start to build up a strong Jewish center in Landsberg.
May 1: First burial of a former concentration camp prisoner (Lewin Mertel) by Rabbi Weiss and speeches by him and Dr. Grinberg. The American occupation force demands that all the German doctors, nurses and soldiers in the hospital are present at the Jewish ceremony. In the following weeks a part of the German patients are brought away to other hospitals.
May 2: The American army obliges the neighboring village of Windach to bring every day a considerable amount of food (milk, meat, eggs, butter, bread) to the DP Hospital St. Ottilien
May 6: Surrender of the German Forces in Bavaria
May 15: Archabbot Chrysostomos Schmid returns from his exile to the monastery. According to the Monastery Chronicle, he finds at his arrival the monastery occupied by around 1800 persons (946 wounded German soldiers, 29 doctors, 128 medical helpers, 96 nurses from Religious orders, 54 red cross nurses, 75 staff in the kitchen and administration, 450 former concentration camp prisoners)
May 27: Liberation Concert conducted by Michael Hofmekler with a programmatic speech by Dr. Zalman Grinberg
June: Under the leadership of three Jewish doctors (Dr. Zalman Grinberg, Dr. Nochum Katz, Dr. Zalman Berman) the German medical staff (doctors and nurses) is continuing its work for liberated camp prisoners. Dr. Grinberg has an agreement with Chaplain Abraham J. Klausner that all Jewish patients from Dachau should be brought to St. Ottilien (soon after a second Jewish hospital opens in Gauting).
602 persons are listed in the hospital: Patients list 1945
July: 750 patients at St. Ottilien
July 25–26: First Conference of liberated Jews from all zones (94 delegates from 46 DP camps) with the election of a Central Committee and declaration of a program with fourteen points: recognition of Jews as their own nation, Israel as a homeland, compensation of concentration camp prisoners, self-administration of the camps etc. Dr. Zalman Grinberg becomes its first president, a position he holds until his emigration in July 1946.
August: The last German patients are brought away.
August 28: 153 children between 2 to 15 years are registered in St. Ottilien who wait for a boat to Palestine.
August 31: Rabbi Judah Nadich visits with Joseph Schwartz (JDC) the Hospital. He describes the hospital work with its 785 patients and especially the children department (Eisenhower and the Jews, p. 84-87).
September: about 700 persons are treated in the hospital. The US troops leave the monastery and entrust their duties to the DP police (former prisoners) who control especially the three entrance points to the monastery/hospital
October: Doctor Zalman Grinberg becomes head of the hospital
October 7: A meeting of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Bavaria takes place in the DP camp Feldafing. Topics are the opening of Palestine for immigration, the creation of an independent Jewish state and the legal status of former concentration camp prisoners. Dr. Grinberg becomes member of the Health Commission.
October 11: A joint meeting of the Zionist movement of Germany and of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Bavaria takes place in Munich. Dr. Grinberg is part of a coordination team which will prepare a major political event in Munich. At this assembly, the accusation concerning the murder of millions of Jews should be brought forward to the attention of the whole world and especially the four Allied powers.
October 22: The monastery school is reopened with 81 boys who live in the second floor of the main monastery building. The German and Jewish children play at the same places, but don’t mingle.
October 25: Visit of David Ben Gurion in St. Ottilien and afterwards in the DP camp Landsberg.
November 15: The U.S. military administration hands all DP camps over to UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). An UNRRA Office is established in St. Ottilien (Team 551 with Officers D. Lowenbach, Sam Borodicky and nurse Brenner).
November 18-19: Dr. Grinberg travels to a meeting in Frankfurt which unites Jewish representants from DP camps in the different zones. A central office in Frankfurt is founded which serves as communication center between the zones. For Munich, Dr. Grinberg is elected as representant. Afterwards a press conference at which Dr. Grinberg expresses his concern about the lack of food and sufficient room in DP camps.
November 25: At a meeting of the Central Committee in Munich, Dr. Grinberg gives a report of the meeting in Frankfurt.
December 5: Permission to bring some of the hastily buried victims of Schwabhausen to the Jewish cemetery at St. Ottilien
Dr. Grinberg gives testimony at the „Dachau Prozess“ about his experiences in Dachau and the smaller camps („constant beatings and torturing, starving, living in dirt, humiliated and debased“).
December 29: Foundation of the children Kibbuz „Atid“ in the theatre room of the monastery school. David Arownoski is in charge of the group.
January 27-29: Third Conference of the Liberated Jews in Munich with inspiring speech by Dr. Grinberg (documentation film by Chaplain Abraham Klausner). At the press conference which is attended by about 50 journalists Dr. Grinberg underlines as essential question for the liberated Jews: „How do we come to Erez Israel?“
February 2: A meeting of „Fighters and Partisans“ in American zone takes place in Landsberg. The St. Ottilien Orchestra gives a concert at the end.
February 9-11: Medical Convention of Jewish Doctors in the American zone in Landsberg. As president functions Dr. Zalman Berman from the Ottilien Hospital, and other doctors from the Hospital (Dr. Ipp, Dr. Goldman, Dr. Kaufman) are part of the organization committee.
February 25: UNRRA Team 551 becomes Team 903. The reorganization may be due to the tensions between Jewish Hospital administration and UNRRA which among other topics concerned the many Jewish children in St. Ottilien. UNRRA wanted them away in (German) childrens home, the Administration wanted them to stay in a Jewish surrounding.
February/March: Trip of Dr. Grinberg to the US where he attends several meetings with American Jewish organizations.
March 22: UNRRA Officer Sam Borodicky leaves St. Ottilien. In his farewell speech Vice Chief Doctor Chaim Ipp expresses the gratitude of the hospital for Borodicky’s services.
April 6: 743 people are registered in the DP Hospital.
April 18: A Memorial Academy in the Prinzregenten Theatre in Munich is organized in honor of the third anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto rising. Speeches by Rabbi Klausner and Dr. Grinberg.
April 25: Dr Grinberg’s wife Eva and son Emanuel arrive in Palestine
April 28: After the disappearance of two young Jewish men riots start in Landsberg. UNRRA-Director Glassgold and Central Committee President Dr. Grinberg ask the people to calm down and finally succeed.
May 1: The Hospital Administration publishes an anniversary journal („St. Ottiliener Sztime“) edited by Abram Akselrod for the jubilee of the liberation.
May: David Aronowski and the children Kibbuz leave for the DP camp Aschau
May 7: The „St. Ottilien Orchestra“ gives a concert for the military tribunal of Nuremberg and the next day in the DP Camp Fürth
June: Until the end of May the hospital has treated 3792 patients. From now on, weekly lists of arriving and leaving patients are sent to UNRRA
June: Zvi Kadushin visits the monastery and produces a short documentary movie
June: Two Talmud volumes are printed in the Press of the monastery (3000 copies). They are edited by Rabbi Samuel Abba Snieg and Rabbi Samuel Jakob Rose. Rabbi Snieg has started a Yeshiva (Torah School) in St. Ottilien which builds up a library of Jewish literature. The Rabbis Snieg and Rose prepare a reprint of the complete edition of the Talmud in 19 volumes which is done from December 1948 to November 1950 in Heidelberg. The cover image shows the abandoned concentration camp of Kaufering.
June 9: At a second meeting of the Committee of Sherit Haplata in the American Zone, Dr. Grinberg gives a report about developments after the first meeting. Especially the Central Committee has to overcome a certain distrust from the side of the American Military Administration which had pointed out that no other nationality in the DP camps has its own political representation. He reports that the new UNRRA director has dissolved the Jewish administration of the Ottilien hospital and ordered Dr. Grinberg to leave St. Ottilien. The Committee decides to send a protest note to the UNRRA direction.
June 11 and 14: The chess club of the DP camp Landsberg travels to St. Ottilien for a match, and three days later the Ottilien chess club travels to the rematch in Landsberg. Both times the players from Landsberg win with 5 1/2 : 4 1/2.
July: Dr. Zalman Grinberg emigrates to Israel. His successor as president of the Central Committee is Dawid Treger, also from Kovno. The St. Ottilien DP Orchestra moves to Fürstenfeldbruck and becomes the „Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra“.
September 1 to 15: At the „chess olympics“ at Landsberg, players from 15 Jewish DP camps take part. It is won by Ch. Aleksandrow from the Ottilien hospital. About this event see the article.
October 9: Announcement of the Jewish Landsberg Hospital in the „Landsberger Lager Cajtung“: Due to a reorganization plan and the better facilities of the St. Ottilien Hospital, all pregnant women will from now on be brought to St. Ottilien two weeks before their delivery. After the delivery, they will remain another two weeks in the Ottilien Hospital for recovery. The pregnant mothers in the DP camp Landsberg have to present themselves with their DP card and food card to Dr. Melamed at the Landsberg Hospital. They will be brought with a hospital car to St. Ottilien. The Social and Food office will be informed about the arriving child. The maternity ward in Landsberg will be closed and in future be used for sick children.
October 19: 557 persons in the DP Hospital
December: A report speaks of 531 persons in the Hospital and distinguishes between patients (246) and inhabitants (285)
January: The conductor of the Camp orchestra Michael Hofmekler moves to Fürstenfeldbruck. The „St. Ottilien Orchestra“ changes its name to „Reprezentanc Orchestra for Bavaria“.
January 13: Second meeting of the Jewish doctors in the American zone which takes place in Berchtesgaden with more than 200 participants. The assembly is moderated by Dr. Berman. In the newly elected committee of the Conference only Dr. Kaufman remains from the Ottilien Hospital.
January 19: Elections for the Committee and the Revision Commission in St. Ottilien. About 300 people have the right to vote and about 90% take part in the election. From the two lists, List 1 (the Progressive-Zionist Party) receives 139 votes and three mandates, the List 2 receives 130 votes and two mandates. The mandates from list 1 go to Dawid Ars, Jonatan Milrad and Mordchai Canje, the mandates from list 2 to Dr. Zalman Berman and Dr. Chaim Ipp. As member of the Revision Commission are elected Hersz Klajnhendler and Ajzyk Chroszeniszck from list 1 and Dr. Wolf Windzberg from list 2.
January 25: 565 people in the DP Hospital
January 28: Expression of gratitude by the Hospital Direction for the gift of 1000 Mark from the Jewish Committee of Olching.
February 8: 561 people in the DP Hospital
March to July: The monastery wing is completely returned to the monks. The medical staff located there moves to the school building, the operating rooms, x-ray facility and dispensary follow in July.
March 22: 522 people are registered in the DP Hospital
June: A delegation of the Central Committee headed by Dawid Treger has a meeting in Frankfurt with the director Edwards of UNRRA, General Daff from the American army and Rabbi Bernstein. Among other topics the fate of the St. Ottilien hospital is discussed. Director Edwards expresses the following principles 1. Jewish D.P.s will not be obliged to go to German hospitals, 2. Jewish D.P.s will not be obliged to go to hospitals for other nationalities, 3. The existence of Jewish hospitals will be guaranteed and only in exceptional cases such hospitals will be transferred to other places.
June 6: The Jewish Historical Commission in Landsberg visits St. Ottilien and documents testimonies.
June 28: 421 people are registered in the DP Hospital
August 23: 389 people are registered in the DP Hospital
September 9: 358 people are registered in the DP Hospital
September 20: 320 people are registered in the DP Hospital
October 3: 322 people are registered in the DP Hospital
October 8: Hospital library: 300 books, Kindergarten: 40 children. „Admittance to the hospital seems to be difficult. As a result, it is not being used to advantage. Medical staff are competent and hospital compares favorably with the best“ (IRO-Report)
October 17: 325 people are registered in the DP Hospital
October 31: 316 people are registered in the DP Hospital
November 1: The Procure St. Paulus (served as store room for the Hospital) is returned to the monks. The Jewish Camp Police reduces her controls to the downsized Hospital, i.e. access to the monastery is possible without passing a checkpoint.
November 6-7: The Association of Jewish authors, journalists and artists of the Sherit Haplata meet in St. Ottilien.
November 20: 301 people are registered in the DP Hospital (among these 134 patients and 25 DP-Policemen). „This hospital is a waste of space and should be given back to German economy“ (Report of IRO)
December 9: 299 people registered (134 patients). According to an IRO report about 350 books in the hospital library. The same report recommends a transfer of the maternity ward into the monastery because the present building has only one staircase which would be dangerous in the case of fire.
December 14: The Aguda Israel group of St. Ottilien sends a greeting message to an assembly of this movement in Munich.
January 23: According to an IRO-report the entry/exit-checks exist no longer. Attendance of primary school: 23 children. The hospital offers movie presentations two times a month. Concluding remark: „The administration of the hospital is satisfactory, but due to its remote location and size, it is recommended, that this hospital be consolidated with other large installations.“
January 30: 315 people are registered in the DP Hospital
February 20: After a fire in the neighboring Kibbutz in Greifenberg a part of the Kibbutz inmates move to St. Ottilien.
March 3: 318 people are registered in the DP Hospital
April: A string puppets play by a group from Israel is offered. It was attended even by Jewish visitors who live outside of St. Ottilien and the children from the primary school were especially interested. A special thanks was given to the director of the traveling group, Dawid Ben Shalom for coming from Israel to the Sherit Heplata.
April 9: 315 people are registered in the DP Hospital
April 18: As last registered patient of the Hospital, Libe Gordon is born
May 5: 255 people in the DP Hospital
May 6: Dissolution of the Hospital and transfer of the remaining persons (patients, nurses and doctors) to Bad Wörishofen
May 10: The Camp Orchestra performs under conductor Leonard Bernstein in the camps of Feldafing and Landsberg
May 24: Final inventory of the DP Hospital after the dissolution: Inventory, May 12, 1948
May 31: Official return of the sequestered monastery to the monks of St. Ottilien: Release
August 10: The Hospital cemetery is used for a last time. Prof. Nicolai Aleksandrow who had already moved to Bad Wörishofen wanted to be buried close to his son Rostislaw A. who had hanged himself in the hospital on March 12, 1947
December: Rabbi Snieg who now lives in Bad Wörishofen publishes the first volumes of the „Liberators‘ Talmud“
After several exhumations, all the tombstones on the KZ-cemetery are placed along the fence. The bodies remain where they are.
Robert L. Hilliard’s memoirs Surviving the Americans: The Continued Struggle of the Jews After Liberation bring again some attention to the former St. Ottilien DP camp
Documentary film by John Michalczyk based on the Hilliard’s memoirs: Displaced: Miracle at St. Ottilien
November 15: Jubilee Liberation Concert (St. Ottilien Reuniun & Liberation Concert Program 11.15.2015) in Delray Beach, Florida
June 10 to 12: Opening of the Exhibition „The Benedictine Monastery and its Jewish History 1945-48“ (until September 23) and of a Symposium with the same topic. Many participants are personally related to the Hospital or even born there. See the photographic documentation by © Benyamin Reich, Berlin: Ottilien Babies_web
May 5: Yom Hashoah Commemoration: In the multimedia presentation at Fair Lawn, NJ, Dr. Yair Grinberg shared recollections of his father, Dr. Zalman Grinberg, and his work with DPs.
June: After a long renovation period, the former Maternity Ward of the Hospital is again open to the public and used as a guest-house.
September 27: Second Liberation Concert at Munich and St. Ottilien with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra Moskow directed by Maestro Vladimir Fedosejev