Protocol Nr. 1330

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Name: R. P.
Gender: female
Place of birth: Miskolc
Date of birth: 1921
Place of residence: Budapest
Occupation: merchant
Camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Breslau, Hundsfeld, Grossrosen, Mauthausen, Bergen - Belsen

The person in question has given us the following information: The 5th of July, 1944, I was arrested. I had Christian documents but a member of my group let the cat out of the bag in the wrong place. Someone denounced me and it led to my arrest. They took me to Csillaghegy to interrogate me. They were interested in my political views and financial situation. They beat my sole very hard with the baton. From Csillaghegy they took me to Budakalász. I was in a single piece of dress without any food, and they put me like this into a departing transport. This is how I got into Auschwitz the 9th of July, 1944. Men were immediately separated from us still at the station. They created groups of people who were fit for work and unfit for work so they separated us from the elderly, children and the mothers who did not let their children go with the elderly. Christian Polish men worked at the station. They did not tell us the truth but mislead us. They must have known what it meant to sit in one of those huge black cars. Germans used these cars as kind of baits. Not only the elderly got in them but also many others happily jumped in not to go to the camp on foot. And none of these old Polish prisoners told them: “do not jump in as it will be your ride to death”. We learnt soon that a gas chamber functioned in Brežinka, and gassed people were burnt in crematoria. Smoke penetrated the air above the camp and some peculiar strange stink dominated everywhere. When we asked what it was, we believed what they answered: they were burning hair and bad clothes, shoes, etc. When in the baths we undressed completely in a huge hall in front of SS soldiers and Polish male prisoners women “hairdressers” cut our hair off and depilated us one after the other. After disinfection we got dresses – of course not ours. We could keep only the shoes from the stuff we used to have, but sometimes not even the shoes. If an old prisoner liked the shoes of one of the newcomers she would take them off her feet without saying a word. And she would give wooden slippers in return. They put me into Camp C, in a block where there were no berths. We lay on the floor in dirt and mud, since this block was not fully finished, yet. The first night a few went mad as they could not stand the idea that such a life was waiting for them. Every day the same was routine repeated: roll calls outside in the morning and the evening that lasted for hours so that they could count us and could report to Berlin how many prisoners were still alive in the Birkenau camps. Waiting for lunch. For bread. Fighting for the right to go to the toilet not only in groups of five people but when it was needed. Fighting for a single sip of water, and for the opportunity to bath. Fighting for a raw potato, for a cabbage-head, for a turnip, which we had fearfully stolen in the area of the kitchen. Fighting to evade curfews in order to sneak into another block where by chance lunch was distributed and to obtain this way two portions. And fighting the most nerve-racking fight not to be separated from my younger sister because we knew that the SS separated relatives with delight. We did not stop keeping the hand of one other making sure that neither of us got into a transport without the other one. At the beginning we did not want to believe gas chambers existed. We saw the flames, and the continuous stink was also unmistakable but we believed they were burning only people who had died of natural death. The idea that parents and children did not exist any more could drive us crazy. Once, during a roll call we noticed a long queue of prams far away, further from the wire fence. We started to celebrate thinking that there was surely a separate camp for them... Then the queue of prams got closer and we saw that … they carried only duvets... Once in October, Mengele came with a civilian to do the selections. They were looking for 250 women to do work of civilians. We were told that good transports were the ones when few people were wanted. My sister and me managed to get into this group. They took us from Camp C into Camp A into a barrack of transports. We spent a week in this block as real prisoners. We left it only to report for roll calls; otherwise we were not allowed to go even to the toilet. Once a comrade of us found one of her close relatives here in Camp A. She managed to escape from the barrack of transports and got into the barrack where her relative stayed, so a person resulted to be missing at roll call. We had to stand there for hours and then to kneel down. Late evening, we were led back to the block. Suddenly there was complete darkness. The woman block leader appeared with a candle in the hand. She demanded we told her where our fugitive comrade stayed. She threatened to send us all in crematorium. This was all awfully ghostly: the frightening darkness, the silence that followed the threat. It was unbearable. We somehow had the feeling that this threat might be carried out, that we could get prepared to depart this life. They did not bring us into crematorium since our comrade was found. It was all very simple because they found out that there was an extra person in the block to where she had run away. No, you could not run away in Auschwitz, you could not go missing. Finally, a week later, they entrained us. We got the due rations and could leave. Two days later we arrived in Breslau-Hundsfeld, where there was the plant. The camp could be almost described as great. We lived in a two-storey building; there were four rooms on the ground floor and four rooms upstairs. It looked like a small resort hotel. It appeared so particularly to us after Auschwitz. The company took proper care of us. It was very modern, with central heating. We worked eleven hours a day. Under the circumstances rations were quite decent, too. Only our clothing was very poor. We only had a dress. The 16th of December, we received short stockings. Before, we had walked with naked legs. We received also small jackets but no shawls. Once the news spread that we had to leave since Russians were approaching us. The real misery started only now. The 23rd of January, 1945, we started a 60- kilometre-long trip on foot. We marched in horrible blizzards, in minus 15-20 degrees Celsius without any food. During the five days of our trip we received only once a spoonful of jam and one eighth of a loaf of bread. 1,500 of us left, and around 180-200 people fell behind. Those who sat down became cold and could not continue. We just stepped over them. They did not shoot these unfortunate; it would have been a pity to waist bullets for them, as they got frozen anyway in a few hours. They shovelled a little snow on their bodies. Eventually, we arrived in Gross Rosen, where we stayed for two weeks. They had already started emptying this camp. We carried on in open wagons in freezing cold. I do not know for how many days we travelled before we arrived in Mauthausen. This was a huge camp for men on a hill; there were no women in it. After two weeks “rest,” we were forced to move on. We were wondering through Germany for 10 days, and for 5 days without food or water. There were towns where we returned even twice. It seems that not even the SS knew where to bring us. Finally, we ended up in Bergen-Belsen. They put us into a work camp, which meant that we carried 20-30 kilos heavy logs in completely enfeebled condition while they would beat us and give us minimal rations. I was already on my own having lost my younger sister. A typhus infection started to spread and I fell sick with it, too. I had paratyphoid fever and oedema. I was not any more a human being when American troops marched in the 15th of April, 1945, and ended my suffering.
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