Protocol Nr. 1538

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Name: B. L.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Bártháza
Date of birth: 1924
Place of residence: Bártháza
Occupation: locksmith
Ghetto: Munkács
Camps: Auschwitz, Gleiwitz, Grossrosen, Buchenwald

The person in question has given us the following information: Only 8 Jewish families lived in Bártháza: physical workers, farmers, people who lived on their daily income with difficulties. In April 1944 military gendarmes searched our house and took my father to another Jewish house. I wanted to follow him, since I did not think of the consequences; I wanted to call the gendarmes to account for beating my father, but the contemporary village chief Miháy Selevi, who behaved in a very honest way towards us, stopped me from doing that. My turn came still on the same day; I had to take off my shoes and socks before the gendarmes, and one of them beat my bare soles with an iron saw until I bled. The military gendarmes took away from us everything they could, even our food, and then they took us to Muckács on carts. The gendarmes were walking among the carts on the way and whomever they reached they beat with a whip. They took us to the ghetto of the Kalus brickyard. The fence of the brickyard was watched over by gendarmes, while inside order was kept by Jewish policemen. There was a Gypsy-faced corporal among the policemen, who, whenever he saw a Jewish girl, he hit her. He beat up the people so much that several of them died from their injuries, among them one called Roth, who was about 32 years old. They often searched for valuables, which was also combined with beating. Girls had to work too, they piled up bricks and they were beaten while working too. We spent three weeks in the ghetto and then they entrained us with the third transport. When we got in the cattle cars four policemen were standing on both sides of the door, and Germans too. Those who could not get on the train or carry the luggage quickly enough were very brutally beaten. Old men and women who fell down were beaten up even more. 120 people were crammed in a cattle car; we could barely move and by the time we arrived 12 people had died only in our cattle car. I tried to cut the lock with an iron saw on the way; I wanted to escape but then my parents held me back. We were not given any water before we arrived in Kassa, where the Germans took over. They gave us water at last. Our journey lasted for four days and when we arrived in Auschwitz, Polish prisoners dressed in striped clothes called upon us to leave our luggage in the cattle cars. Then when we got off, they stood us up in lines, men and women separately. We saw the chimneys emitting smoke already upon our arrival, they were belching fire; it was a captivating sight. They took us to the bath, then they cut our hair, they disinfected us and gave us prisoner’s clothes. 1,200 of us were there in a block, 6 of us were put on a bunk. Our provisions consisted of coffee, turnip soup and bread. We were lining up for roll call for hours, sometimes twice a day. They put me in a transport as an engine fitter and took me to Gleiwitz. There I worked in a carriage and wagon works. The work was very hard, the workplace was 2 kilometres away from the camp and we worked 12 hours a day. We had to work very hard while Germans Capos were hitting us. On top of all, after the workday we also had to work in the camp from 6 o’clock to 11 o‘clock in the evening. We had to tidy up the courtyard and other possessions of the SS. The provisions were very poor there too, since the SS men stole everything. We received very little food and what is the most important, very small bread rations. On one occasion 12 people escaped from the camp and two of them got caught and were hanged. Everybody had to watch the hanging till the end. Strokes with a stick was also very common; they executed the punishments always on Sundays. I worked as a foreman for some weeks, which meant that I had to work even better. On one occasion they raised objection that my fellows did not work hard enough and I did not hit them for it. They trussed me up as a punishment, then they took me to the infirmary wrapped in a sheet. I was lying there for six days. One day before they put me in a transport my arm had been operated on, so I went away with a freshly operated arm. That is, we had to evacuate because the Russians were approaching. We were marching for a month, we spent all the nights in barns. I marched almost naked since I had come from the infirmary. By the way, they had wanted to leave me there but I had not wanted to stay, I had rather gone away with insufficient equipment, because I suspected that if I had stayed there nothing good could have come out of it. We received half of a loaf of bread for the way and a quarter of a block of margarine, one spoonful of jam and something resembling bread as extra food on the third day. We also got a little soup sometimes, but only very rarely, so we had to push for it at the risk of our lives. They also gave us 3-4 potatoes on every third or fourth day. The Capo beat up those who fell behind and if somebody fell down, an SS man appeared immediately and shot him dead. Several people also died of frostbite on the way. 1,200 of us started from Gleiwitz and by the time we arrived in Buchenwald, there could have been no more than 20 people alive. The Lagerführer even called the Capos to account for it on the way, saying: "What is this, have you shot dead only this many of them?” We were marching in the thick snow in rows of five pacing with regular military steps. If somebody could not keep pace precisely enough, he was beaten up heavily. We spent two days in Gross Rosen. The camp was full of mud, our feet got stuck in the mud all the time and those who could pull their feet out of the mud were lucky and stayed alive. We were lining up for roll call all day long and the only food we received was soup. Then, we went again to Buchenwald by train. 70 of us were put in a cattle car, but for a period of six days 90 people were travelling together. In Gross Rosen they had given us three quarters of a loaf of bread for the journey; we ate it up right there on the spot, so we started the one-day journey without any food. When the train stopped on the way and we somehow managed to escape from the train, we looked for some carrot-like food in the fields. Although, if they had noticed it, they would have shot us dead for it. I could not even attempt to get off because my feet were frostbitten. When we arrived in Buchenwald, we were queuing up in front of the bathhouse waiting for disinfection almost all day long. Then, they took us to an open barrack. We were waiting for our turn in the bath in vain and it all started from the beginning of the following morning. After having bathed we were given a litre of soup, which I could not eat, I had become so much unused to eating. The rain and the snow came in the open barrack and we could not lie down, since there were only planks on the ground and they were wet. We could not sleep; the people were crying and wailing from anguish. It was awful. We did not work in Buchenwald, but we would not have been able to work anyway. Soon we were moved to a wooden barrack and that was full of lice. There were three-level bunks standing there, they were 160 centimetres long and altogether 45 people had to lie on the bunks. We were so much squeezed together that we could not move our body in the mornings. The boards pressed our sides so strongly that it is still visible on our bodies. The food was so little that people killed each other when lunch was distributed. The Americans liberated us on 14th April. I had already been lying in a quarantine block then. A large number of people had died by then. The Americans took me to hospital and I stayed there till mid June. I came to Budapest through Prague and Pozsony. My plans for the future: For the time being I am going to travel home, to Bártháza and later I would like to go to Palestine.
váltás magyarra