Protocol Nr. 129
The persons named above have given us the following information: Alsóapsa is a little community among the hills. It has 10,000 inhabitants, around 200 Jews lived here, who were craftsmen and tradesmen. Mostly they were poor Jews. Our parents were tradesmen and did very well particularly under Czech rule. March the 15th, 1939, the Hungarians came in, and with their first measures confiscated Jewish shops, banned Jews to pray in temples and caused harm to us in whatever way they could. In 1941, they deported 50 families, that is, 217 people into Poland. My father was in Pest in those days (Rózsi Adler says), to bring home the certificate of citizenship but when he returned to Alsóapsa he did not find everyone at home. Altogether they deported 40,000 Jews from Hungary into Poland this time. Hungarians claimed they were all Polish citizens but it was untrue. We were deported with my mother Mrs. Herman Adler, too. All six of us were young children: Sári Adler, Teréz Adler, Salamon, Helén, Izsák, and Henci. The major part of deported Jews were shot, some were taken into the ghetto of Stanislau. They threw many into the river Dnyeszter, cut the breasts of women, cut children into two and buried a lot of people alive. In our village they were the postman Csaholi, the second notary Mandrik, the chief constable Mihály Philipp, and the first notary Mihály Papp who initiated our deportation. They accepted our money when we offered it and promised to resolve our case but they let us down. They mostly deported the poor from the village. Before we were taken away my arm had broken so I hid money and gold in the plaster cast in the moments of deportation, what later saved our lives. Besides us, only 2 people got back to Alsóapsa out of the deported group; the rest had been killed. Between 1942-1944, we could live more peacefully. When Germans entered the country we had to put on yellow stars, could not travel by train and had to whitewash the windows of the house that were looking at the main street. 8 days later, gold, silver, money, typewriters and radios were to be handed over. This law was enforced by gendarmes led by first notary Mihály Papp, and by Csaholi. Mihály Papp had even the earrings plucked off the ears of little children. Jews tried to fight against this law but as soon as our money was seized we could not achieve anything any more. Locals acted really shamefully, they were glad to see the Jews would be deported. We tried to get typhus so that we would not be taken away so we drank salted coffee to have fever. This way we managed not to move into the ghetto for two weeks. The members of the Jewish Council József Landó and Zsida Vég did their best but could not help us. The decree about the ghetto was published the 29th of April. Papp, Csaholi, the teacher Valián, László Dudla and József Benedek escorted us into the ghetto aided by leventes. A family could take 50 kilos of food and 20 kilos of clothes and dishes. In the last minutes they searched the house and the women, and prepared an inventory of the possessions that remained in the house. The ghetto was in Aknaszlatina, it comprised 3 streets and was sealed off. Outside it was guarded by gendarmes, inside by Jewish policemen who had a white armband. In secret, Jewish policemen bought us food as we could not leave the ghetto. There were around 8,000 people kept here. Those who tried to help Jews or brought some food to us in return for lavish compensation or tried to hide a child were also grabbed and taken into the ghetto but of course they were let free later. Food supply was not provided us at all, only those could eat who had taken food from home. Once two girls escaped and ran home for food. They got so severely beaten up that they died. Many went into hiding into the bunkers of the mountains but when hungriness chased them out Christians immediately denounced them, and in the ghetto they cut a half cross in the hair of these women. They had to wear their hair like this every day, and were not allowed to cut the rest but had to wear this disgraceful sign. They told us we would go to work on the plain of Hortobágy, and the young would sustain the old with their work. They claimed they were going to deport us because the frontline was too close. We believed them. It was horrible to experience that authorities did not allow to bury a woman who died in the ghetto. The 22nd of May, they took us into the local school, searched us and took all our money, they even took our clothes leaving us only one change of clothes. They beat up a five-year-old boy so much that he got sick only because they found a pengő at him. On the 23rd of May they put us on train and we could not take anything with us. We were still convinced we were travelling to the Hortobágy to work. Deportation was carried out by gendarmes and leventes helped by Hungarian civilians who volunteered. The last day László Dudla told Margit Lebovits that she would never see her home country again if they take her away from the ghetto. When gendarmes took us to the freight cars they beat us where they could, chased us and trod on the fallen people. There were 70 of us in one car. They gave us a bucket of water, a bucket for the toilet and 4 loaves of bread for 70 people. There were cars where there was not any bucket for the toilet. We travelled for 3 days. Children were begging for water but there was no water. The train headed towards Kassa but we noticed already at Királyhágo that we were not going to get to the Hortobágy. We lost all our hope. In Kassa they opened the cars and Hungarians handed us over to the Germans. Earlier, Hungarians searched us again and seized a lot of money. Here, we already knew they were going to bring us into Germany but had no idea we would get into a death camp. Two women escaped through the windows (they opened the wires) but were caught and taken back to us later. On the way they were shooting in the air all night long and we were worried they were shooting the passengers of the other freight cars. In the evening a German SS soldier entered and ordered us to give him everything we had as all men of the car would be seized and killed if they find as much as 2 fillérs. We gave him what we still had and as we did not have the courage to give them money we ate a part of it and burnt the other part. The 26th of May, we arrived into ill-fated Auschwitz. During the morning, they made us stay in the freight car; we were greeted by Polish Jewish boys who talked German and advised us to leave the children with the elderly. On the station there were 2 doctors waiting for us, Mengele and his companion, who selected the old, the sick and also took many of those who were holding the hand of their elderly mothers. The school mistress Judit Lebovits and her brother Malvin were leading the children of her sister-in-law holding them by both her hands and when she did not want to put the crying children down, she also had to keep with the old. Mengele said it was not a problem, the whole family would reunite in the evening. Children, the old and the sick were immediately away taken into the crematorium. Children were thrown into the fire alive, the old were only partially gassed. In the lobby of the gas chambers there were numbered clothes hangers. Those who entered were warned to memorise the number of their hanger but no one ever returned. We, the young were led into a bathroom, where I had to undress in front of German men and had to leave all my clothes there. They cut our hair, we were shaved and got bad striped clothes with a sign of a white cross without underwear and shawl. We looked so terribly that fathers, sons, and brothers staying the neighbouring camp did not recognise us in the evening. Leaving the baths we saw great smoke and flames. We asked what it was. They told us there was a factory here and now they were burning the rags that remained from the transports. We believed it for a few weeks but later we had to realise what the heartbreaking truth was when we saw nude people taken into gas chambers. Six crematoria did not suffice them. They dug also holes, made fire there and burnt people alive. There was a selection each time a transport arrived. Every day we had medical visit in the lager, which also meant a new selection. Who was slim, had pimples or put a bandage on a painful point of his body or put wad into his or her ears was at once taken away. In our camp of children it happened more than once that when someone was selected as frail often also his or her brothers and sisters left. The youngest in our place were 15-year-old but even 20-year-old girls claimed they were only 16. This was the only way we could stay alive, too. During the night we saw huge fire in different points and felt an awful smell coming from the direction of fire. One night I saw on a ###car grown up men and on two vehicles bigger children completely nude. They were crammed like herrings and were crying and shouting. “Oh, God, ‘Crematorium’, why do they take our life so early?!” But SS showed no mercy. If one day no transport arrived they took victims from the camp into the crematoria. Gas chambers were never empty. Transports arrived day and night, from Slovakia, Hungary, France, Poland, and Italy. Every morning between 4 and 7 there was an Appell. We queued up five of us in a line and were waiting for the SS. In the evening we did the same. If someone was missing we had to stay on knees all the night and if they found the missing person he or she was taken into the gas chambers right away. There were very many suicides. People only needed to touch the wires surrounding the camp which conducted electricity. Many died this way out of those who could not stand the miseries any more. Pregnant women were asked to report their pregnancy so that they would get extra ration, bread and margarine, which they did indeed receive a few times till they were taken into the gas chambers on Mengele’s order. The 1st of November, we got to Ravensbrück with a transport of labourers, where we were already treated in a more human way. We got numbers and these numbers were our names. One day the head of an aircraft plant Henckel came here and selected labour force. This is how we got to Barthe, where we worked very hard, 14 hours a day. We had to wake up at 4,30 am and the Appell lasted until 6,30 am. We worked from 7 till 12,30, then we had lunch and went on working till 8,30 pm. We suffered a lot from cold. Food was bad without grease and salt. We got only cabbage or turnip and 150 grams of bread. We were very content in Barthe as we just got out of a death camp but the other workers of 16 different nations grumbled because they had no idea what Auschwitz meant. We had to go to the plant till the very last day although there was already no electricity. The 22nd of April there was no Appell. First, we did not know what it meant but later we saw that civilians started to escape and SS soldiers left with them till the evening, when there was an Appell again. Now, the Kommandoführerin told us to group according to nationalities. We were in despair as we did not know what would happen to us. At 8,30 pm it was dark and we did not see anyone when the Germans started to bomb the factory. We were very scared as bombs were falling just a few steps from us. We could not escape as we were surrounded by electric wires. We were given some food and Germans forced us to start marching. In 6 hours we did 40 kilometres, then realised that our commanders stayed behind as they wanted to shoot those who came slower but 10 minutes later the Kommando ran away. There was no more Appell and we were saved. We hid in the forest next to Ribnitz and waited for the Russians. Russians then gave us food and clothes. In Neubrandenburg we met a Czech soldier who was heading towards Prague from where they sent 40 cars for us. There were 700 Czechs and 200 Jews in this transport. In Prague we were treated very well, we got money and clothes from the Joint, we lacked nothing. If we had wished to, we could also have stayed there. Now we go home to look for our relatives, then we want to leave together with them for our own homeland Palestine, and start a new life.