Protocol Nr. 1091

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Name: E. H.
Gender: female
Place of birth: Beregszász
Date of birth: 1914
Place of residence: Beregszász
Occupation: skilled craftsman
Ghetto: Beregszász
Camps: Auschwitz, Nürnberg, Mehltauer

The person in question has given us the following information: In Beregszász, like everywhere else, the antisemitic orders started with obliging us to wear the yellow star. Some time later it happened that one day at around 5 o’clock, the wives of the members of authorities of the congregation were taken in groups of forty to the police as hostages. The Jewry of the town had to collect and hand in 1 million pengõs by 12 o’clock at night, otherwise the hostages would have been executed still on the same night. We were running around all night long to collect the stipulated sum; there were families who gave us their last pennies. For the sake of historical authenticity I must mention that there were Christians who lent us money for this purpose, for example a physician, Dr. Linner. We were begging them for some respite and we were successful; the money was collected by 12 o’clock on the following day. On the next day, however, they gathered another 180 hostages. My mother had been lying in bed paralyzed, absolutely still for three years; one day the gendarmes came in and ordered us to leave the hospital within 15 minutes. I worked with ill people as a nurse in those days; while I was dressing her up the gendarmes were continuously beating me to urge me to hurry up. They did not want to have a car brought either; I was carrying her on my back for a while, but I was not able to go faster with her; they were beating her with a rifle butt even when she was on my back. She lay down on the main road and asked them to shoot her dead because she was not able to go any further. The Christians even passed a remark on us saying: “They are carrying the stinking Jewess”. One of the gendarmes took pity on us after all, and he had a cart brought and they threw her on it like a bag. Hubay was the mayor that time and Sándor Pál was the police commissioner, while Dr. István Jancsó was the assistant draftsman of the police. The latter two were the despair of the Jews. We went away with the first transport, 82 of us in a cattle car. We got a little water when we started and each cattle car received 10 loaves of bread. They stripped us naked completely when they searched us before we started off, we were not allowed to take anything with us. We were told that they were taking us to work in Kecskemét. The Germans took over the train at Kassa and they did not open the cattle cars during the whole journey. The gendarmes kept frightening us all the time while travelling. Three days later when we arrived in Auschwitz around 8 o’clock in the morning, Polish prisoners dressed in striped clothes made us get off and separated the men and the women. I took my mother’s arm, but an SS man separated us immediately. I wanted to stay with my mother, but the SS man hit me on the shoulder twice, saying that I could see her in the afternoon. They did not, by chance, cut my hair in the bath; I received a grey uniform instead of my old clothes. I was taken to Camp A where 1,200 of us lived in a block, 10 of us slept on a bunk. I saw the fire in the chimney already on my arrival and I always smelt the burnt bones ever after. They tattooed me six weeks later. The provisions were: soup made of some grass, coffee, bread. There were Appells twice a day; there was a reveille at 3 o’clock at dawn and many times we were standing on the courtyard for hours, until the number of people was at last correct. I worked in the brezsinka in Auschwitz. After tattooing us, they chose 200 women for the brezsinka. I saw when the transports were brought. At first I worked in the night shift, I always saw the four chimneys burning, they stood about ten metres away from us; the night breeze was continuously bringing us the crying, moaning voices. On the road leading to the crematorium it was written everywhere: “To the disinfecting building”. The members of the Sonderkommando told us several times that the people of the arriving transports who had already been selected, were given towels and they were told that they were going to the bath. Then the men and women had to undress together and put down their clothes in a pile. Then they went in the “bath” and they were left standing there sometimes for two hours. There was a window at the upper part of this room, that was opened and they let the gas in on the people through that window. Sometimes, when the amount of the gas was not sufficient, horrible noises came from there, those who had a stronger heart were shouting; these were hit on the back of the head with an axe. They did not even kill the babies with gas; they threw them into the fire alive. Then they cut the hair of the people killed by the gas and they took out their gold teeth. The husband of one of my friends was assigned to work there; he was a physician at home. He took out the gold teeth. They cut up the bellies of the fatter people and they took out the fat. They cooked soap from it. After burning the corpses they collected the ashes and used it to manure the soil. When we were standing in front of the gates waiting for the morning shift and the transports arrived, we had to turn our back on them. We selected a lot of clothes of the dead people wading in the prayer boxes and prayer shawls. We had to remove the yellow stars; they promised to shoot us down in case we would forget to do it. At any rate, we got a separate basket for this purpose. We had to sort the clothes in three groups; from the children’s clothes we had to keep the new ones only, from the women’s and men’s clothes we had to put the new and the old ones in different groups and the ragged dirty clothes we had to tear up into very small pieces. We did, even apart from this, try to do as much harm as we could. We found quite a lot of gold in the buttons of the clothes and in shoulder pads. There was a separate group dealing with the cosmetics; some people had to look through the creams, we found plenty of gold and diamonds in the creams. There was a separate barrack for food and for shoes. They carried away the collected things from time to time. They searched us at the end of the workday, but they usually did not check our shoes and we always managed to bring some underwear or stockings for those outside. If they found it, they cut our hair as a punishment. Later we suffered very much from hunger even in the brezsinka: no more transports arrived and the girls inside brought us the things to the well and we sold them at home to the Polish and the Aryans in exchange for food, because they were allowed to receive packages from home. On one occasion, Dr. Mengele chose the pretty women and sent them to the gas. At another time, a transport was being taken to the crematorium; they were singing the Jewish anthem on the way. They were Slovaks. Once the Oberscharführer asked us why we were crying, when we were standing outside to be relieved and saw a group being taken in the crematorium. We answered that we were cold, we did not dare to tell the truth. At another time we found an eight-year-old boy, who seemed to have lost his mother. He was shouting, crying, so we took him in the camp and the Oberscharführer saw him. He said that it seemed that the boy was predestined to live and I think the child did, indeed, survive. We were always awaiting the transports from Pest; that was why they emptied the brezsinka. That is how I was taken to quarantine. I did not work there for six weeks. We went to cut down willows along the Vistula, so that no prisoners could hide away on the bank. They did not bring us food on those three days, we ate only the bread and sausage they had given us for the day. Men were working there and we wanted to get to know where they were from, at the same time we wanted to let them know where we came from, and we solved this problem by singing the Hungarian folk song: "Good evening, the girls from Beregszász arrived". Soon after that I was taken to the hospital to work as a nurse there. A younger cousin of mine, who was one of Dr Mengele’s favourites, helped me get there. I worked there for a month. There were selections almost every evening in September; there were also Aryans there. Later I stayed in a block for Aryans, where prisoners of every nationality lived. Those who were ill, who had a fever, they took away. I could not withstand the excitement for too long, so I volunteered for a transport soon; they took me with a transport of 550 people to Nürnberg to work there as a nurse again. The journey lasted for four days and we had food for two days only, we starved but the Czech railway employees helped us on the way, if they had some food they gave it to us, moreover, the Czech passengers of the train did the same, although it was a rather hazardous thing to do. When we arrived to Nürnberg I was, as a nurse, taken to the outdoor patient department of a block. We could not give medical treatment to the ill people because we had no medicine; we healed every illness with two kinds of ointment and one type of medicine. There were heavy bombings in those days, once a bomb hit the bunker, two SS men and a woman died, but from among us nobody was harmed. By the time we came up, the barrack had been burnt down. We lived in the bunker for two weeks; everybody got infested with lice. We could not get any food, since there were alarms and bombings every moment. Being a nurse, I got double rations of soup and Zulag. Sometimes the ill people received some milk but the SS people stole half of even that. Otherwise we got better provisions from the Siemens firm, but the SS rifled that too. They shot a 14 year old girl in the leg, because she stole potatoes and they broke her bone for three potatoes. We stayed in Nürnberg up till 2nd March, then they distributed the transport into three groups. Two groups were taken to Mehltauer, near Plauen, where we worked for the FOMAK firm. The inscription “Tüllfabrik” was visible on the factory but in fact, we manufactured weapons. There I worked as a nurse too. The provisions were poor, but there it was the Kommandoführer who stole the food. When the Americans were approaching, an order was given to the Kommandoführer to shoot everybody. 350 of us were staying there, among them 150 women. The Kommandoführer came to us and let us know about the order. He calmed us saying that he would not do it, but he would desert. He gave us the key to the storeroom and said that there was food enough for a week in there, we should keep it safe and cook for ourselves, and that we were free. He advised us to stay together and be sparing with the food, because it was possible that the liberating troops would arrive only to weeks later. However, he did not manage to desert; we told him to stay with us and tried to save him but we could not, they caught him and recorded everything he did to us. The Kommandoführer's attitude was due to a Polish Blockälteste, Laura Zuzinovska, who, with her clever behaviour was able to make the leader like her and she intervened on our behalf. The Americans liberated us on 16th April. We were having lunch when we noticed the American tanks. They supplied us with all the good things in life; it was again the Lagerälteste who acted for our good. We stayed in a holiday home for six weeks; they took us to Karlsbad, then, with a Czech transport to Prague, but beforehand I went back to Germany, Oranienburg, and to Prague where my brother is. My plans for the future: First I will travel home, then I will go back to Prague, from there I would like to go to my relatives in Brazil.
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