Protocol Nr. 182

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Name: R. B.
Gender: female
Place of birth: Aknasugatag
Date of birth: 1913
Place of residence: Aknasugatag
Occupation: electrician and mechanic
Ghetto: Bártfalva
Camps: Auschwitz, Janina, Birkenau, Monowitz, Landeshut, Grossrosen, Landeshut

The person in question has given us the following information: The number of Jews in Aknasugatag was 140. They were tradesmen, craftsmen, tailors, and cobblers, who had no financial problems. Our life was particularly easy since we had a mill, a house on our own, a shop and also lands. As a labour serviceman I returned from Russia exactly when Germans entered the country. There were many people of the Arrow Cross in our place who incited others against us. Few people felt sorry for Jews and these were mostly Romanians. Quite a famous doctor of Aknasugatag Dr. Wiener had an unfortunate fate. He was a general doctor of great abilities visited by patients from faraway towns. Even men of the Arrow Cross appreciated his talents and wanted to keep him home but at the end they deported him. He was a short, fat and physically very sensitive man. In Auschwitz they took his shoes off and sent him to Monowitz barefoot, while the SS beat him on the way. In Moniwitz at the gate of the camp he died in a heart attack. When they seized all our possessions in Aknasugatag they took us ten kilometres away to Bártfalva with an escort of gendarmes. In the ghetto of Bártfalva we lived under awful conditions. The leader of the ghetto, who was a sergeant, beat girls and men. They entered the houses to assault us during the night. Every day he collected different kinds of food in the ghetto for himself: eggs, sugar, etc. Three or four weeks later we were forced to walk to Máramarossziget. This trip belongs to my worst memories. This horrible march – of which I was also a part - reminded me of Jud Süss. There were around two thousands of us: women, children, and everyone with a big colourful sack on the back. A train arrived and I met several people I knew and who all loved me and felt sorry to see me in this situation. There were more than one Christians who wanted to hide me and promised to feed me till this situation lasted. But I wanted to share the fate of my parents and my older sister, and I could not leave behind her two beautiful children. Unfortunately, I have lost all of them. The day after, we left behind the ghetto of Sziget as they moved us into a temple where they grabbed all our belongings apart from some food. They gathered us in another temple, where they locked us so we could not even go out to the toilet or to drink. They deported us from here in German freight cars. We did not know where we were heading. We made guesses. Many claimed we were taken for agricultural work to West Hungary. I suspected what would happen but did not want to dash their hopes. The others got scared only when the train started heading towards Kassa. The train arrived in Birkenau at 11 pm. We asked for some water from the Polish boys who were standing next to the train but they said: "Why do you want water when anyway you will be burnt?!” Several of the women started to sob and cry. These were nerve-wracking and harrowing minutes. Everyone shoved his or her belongings and lost all their courage. We had to pass one by one in front of Scharführer Mengele in a long queue. He just nodded with his head: to the right or to the left. A nod like that meant life or death. Already in the freight car we heard the terrible cry of women and children being chased by whips to the ditches. We got to know that there were six crematoria but these were insufficient for killing so many people so they dug huge ditches made immense fire in them and threw in people alive. When it happened they turned off the lights and put on the alarm so that they could handle their victims easier in the chaos. We got terribly frightened. We said a prayer and prepared ourselves for death. At selection also the rabbi of Suhatag was separated from his wife and 10 children but he walked to his family and died together with them. First, we were led into the baths. It was here that I got the first slap from a Polish Capo because I dared to ask for water. They cut the hair off, and depilated us. 15 barbers were at work. They grabbed all our clothes. Suddenly we noticed that they brought a great quantity of clothes and I recognised the clothes of my mother, older sister and her children. I was seized with a horrible feeling as I understood what it meant to see the clothes of my loved ones. When we finished with the baths we got the dress of prisoners. We were put up in a block where 8 people lay on the same wooden bunk. Four days later, they took us into Auschwitz. From there we went to Janina by cars a few days later. Here we shovelled coal in a mine moving 15 kilos heavy shovels. Hunger and cold made our suffering greater. The 10th of August 1944, I was transported to Birkenau as an electrician. I worked in the crematorium. I arrived when the most modern one of the six crematoria was just being renovated. I did the work of an electrician. The crematorium was closed: painters, electricians, bricklayers and carpenters worked in it. It looked the following way: victims first entered a lobby. It was a nice clean room with painted country sceneries and other pictures on the walls. The door of the changing room opened from here. Notes warned the entering people to keep the place clean. All around the wall there were numbered cloths hangers. There was a big note on the wall saying that everyone should remember the number of the hanger where they hanged their clothes, because numerous people wanted to have a bath. The next room was the bath with 600 places. There were four lines of showers. Instead of water gas flew of the taps. If they had sufficient time, people got first gassed but if there were many transports and they had to burn a lot of people at the same time and had no time for gassing them the floor simply turned and people fell in the fire alive. The floor had an invisible metal axis, which was made to function by electricity. The switch was pushed by an SS-man who stayed close in a cabin. If he pushed one of the switches the floor turned in an upright position and the victims slid on a conveyor belt that was invisible before, which carried them into the crematorium. I worked here in a Sonderkommando (special Kommando) that had 200 members, mostly Polish men. One day they learnt that they were going to kill us soon, too. As there was nothing to lose they decided to counter the SS with arms. The way they got hold of weapons will always remain a secret to me. They threw three SS-men into the fire of the neighbouring crematorium, while they killed four others. They tore them into pieces in front of my eyes. 40 of them could manage to get away the rest were captured. I ran into another block. In Birkenau, in this Sonderkommando we had a great quantity of gold and silver, which had no value, no one wanted it. Food was first class. Once a son of a Transylvanian rabbi was also selected for the Sonderkommando. He refused to work here and ran against the electric wires and got shot by the SS. The next camp was Monowitz, where we worked for the plant of I. G. Farbenindustria Buna. I worked in a Kommando of 170 people as a high voltage electrician. We controlled the transformers of the neighbouring area in a walking distances of 10-15 kilometres and did the electric works of air raid shelters. The camp was evacuated the 18th of January, 1945. 12,000 people were taken away from here and we did know where we heading. The people who could not walk were simply shot and left dead in the middle of the road. At the beginning, they did the same also in towns but later they forced us to carry the people who could not walk out of town and they slaughtered them later. We crossed Batibor, Glatz, and Waldenburg. German Capos gave us only the eighths of a loaf of bread instead of the fourth, what was due. When we were so weak that we could hardly walk we rebelled against the SS. Consequently, they beat everyone hard with clubs. I still wear its sign on my head; the hair does not grow there. We did not get food, and if sometimes we got something the Capos stole it and swapped it for cigarettes. When we arrived in Landeshut, I escaped together with two of my companions. A comrade of mine told me later in Pest that others continued to walk on for 43 days, 30-40 kilometres a day, by the end only 300 survived out of a group of 3,000. After the escape the first thing I did was make the number on my arm disappear but I did not consider that the wound would remain visible. Six days later, we went to the house of a German and asked for food. While we were eating he left and denounced us to the SS. We were thin and pale and he realised we were prisoners. We did not have to wait much to be captured by three SS men who took us into the camp of Landeshut. The Lagerrälteste gave my companions immediately a fatal blow. I was saved by the fact that I was an electrician. We worked till 4 pm and would receive lunch and dinner at the same time after we returned home. The worst part of the day started only now: they would give us the order to look for lice since there was no disinfecting here. We were tired, nervous, and depressed and had to start looking for lice. An hour later that we finished an SS man controlled us with a torch. He called our numbers and we had to appear in front of him and if he found more than two lice on the shirt or the underwear he gave us as many strikes with a rubber crop as the number of lice he had discovered. Our job was anyway the same also here: we had to dig trenches because Russians stayed in a distance of 40 kilometres for three months. We left this place for Grossrosen. It was also in Silesia # kilometres from Landeshut. Here we suffered the most of dirt. There was neither a bathroom nor a proper place for sleeping. We slept three of us in a bed, and of course lice spread even faster. So we had to go on looking for lice. In the meantime electricians of Landeshut wanted to get away and as they were shot I had to replace them in Landeshut. The Lagerrälteste drunk together with the SS and during this revelries in the night he often came into our bedrooms, selected 5-6 people and took them up where they were drinking and shot them because of sadism. Once I was also selected and taken away. As he did it with everyone he asked about my profession. I replied I was an electrician and would repair his lighter if needed. He came back with a lighter and declared that I had an hour to fix it otherwise I had to face a dim future. Naturally, I fixed it and from this time on I did not go out working but fixed lighters. Later, I constructed an electric disinfecting device. During this period my life got better, I had a lot to eat. Meanwhile, the others dug trenches around town, as the Russian was getting closer. I have to note that I was the only Jew in Landeshut; and also in Grossrosen the proportion of Jews was at the most 10 percentages. The rest were convicts and political prisoners. The most awful days for me were the last ones in Landeshut since the Polish Capo decided to do me in within two weeks. He would beat me every day, would push me on ground and kick me in the ribs. He managed to break two of my ribs. My life was saved by the liberating Russian troops. My goal is to leave Europe at any price. As an old Zionist I hope that I manage to get to Palestine.
váltás magyarra