Protocol Nr. 1852

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Name: W. G.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Ungvár
Date of birth: 1927
Place of residence: Ungvár
Occupation: barber
Ghetto: Ungvár
Camps: Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dora, Nordhausen

The person in question has given us the following information My father had quite a prosperous tailor’s shop in Ungvár. When the Germans occupied the country, the Jewish men of the city, especially the young ones, were ordered to work for the German soldiers. After Passover the Jews from the surrounding areas were transported to the city. The Germans entered the Jewish flats and they occupied those they liked. Soon we were also taken to the ghetto of the city, but there was another ghetto in the brickyard, where the Jews of the nearby settlements were collected. Some people were taken to work outside the ghetto. There was no objection against the work of the Jewish council and its members, e.g., Dr Frischgut, etc. On one occasion I saw when a Jewish policeman reported to an SS man and he could not make himself understood well enough. The SS soldier slapped him on the face and from that time on nobody dared to undertake a policeman’s position. Certain wealthier people tried to hide away in the city, but they did not manage, because the detectives caught them and beat them all up very much. They searched us very often; they took away all our valuables, and when we went to the train from the ghetto they encouraged us to take with us as little baggage as possible. They also said that the baggage would be taken to the train station on carts anyway. A number of people did not trust them and they wanted to take their baggage themselves. When the gendarmes saw that, they beat up a lot of them. The police officer broke the skull of one man. We went away with the second transport; 90 people were crammed in a cattle car. In another one, there were 120 people at that. We were given some water when we set off, but we received no more on the way. Nobody escaped during the journey, but a man poisoned himself on the way and he died. We were always told that they were taking us to the Great Hungarian Plain to do agricultural work there. The Germans took over at Kassa and at the end of a three-day-long journey we arrived in Auschwitz. Polish prisoners dressed in striped clothes received us there. We got off the train and we were separated from the old, the weak and ill people. When I arrived I saw the huge chimneys emitting smoke and belching fire; I learned only later that it was the crematorium. There I was still together with my younger brother and we were taken to the bath together. They cut our hair and they gave us prisoner’s clothes and wooden shoes. After three days we were put in a transport of laborers and we were taken to Buchenwald. We were traveling for two days; we got half of a loaf of bread and some margarine for the journey. 50 people were traveling in a cattle car. In Buchenwald 350 of us stayed in a block and 6-7 of us slept on a berth. The provisions were somewhat better than in Auschwitz. Since we spent only a week there we did not work. Then we were taken to Dora. When we arrived, a friend of mine told me that when they had arrived there the SS men took them immediately to the guardhouse and they had beaten them up very cruelly. One can understand that after that introduction we were very scared. The accommodation was very poor: there were no berths and we slept on the floor on straw bags without blankets. Later we got some blankets. The food was poor compared to the work we did, namely, in the beginning we participated in hard construction work and we worked 12 hours a day. Later we worked with pipelines. They demanded a great performance and those who did not finish the work assigned to them for the day had to finish it on the following day. What is more, they received 25 strokes. If somebody stopped, he was called out immediately and he got 25 strokes too. The Appells were 2-3 hours long. An SS officer of lower rank used to look around at us and once he noticed an older man in the back row. A truncheon was always there in the sleeve of the SS officer‘s coat and he stopped before the man and began to hit him so strongly that he fell down. Then he continued to hit him on the wet, muddy ground. That happened on a hill and the man rolled down; the SS man followed him and kicked him forward. The poor prisoner had to go on working after that. There was a man there from Beregszász, who, in spite of being fat, was not strong and he could not move fast enough. He could not lift and throw the heavy stones into the trolley. The foreman had him called to him and ordered him to lift an enormous stone; meanwhile he hit his back with a piece of a board. The fat man said that he could not lift the stone and the foreman beat him up very harshly. Finally he went to the infirmary but they did not accept him there saying that he was lazy and that he should go back to work. The foreman kept an eye on him. Once, when he beat him something broke in him and he went to the infirmary again. He stayed there for three days and he died. I worked there till the end of October, than I was taken to Nordhausen. We went there on foot and when we arrived they put us into a smaller block for 250 people. We had our own beds and we had blankets too. We built a tunnel there: we bore through and exploded stones. We had to work a lot in the polluted air: it was full of dust because of the explosions. We worked in day and night shifts. Appells were held there too, but we had to be lining up only for about a half an hour. That was a smaller camp. I got sepsis and I was taken to hospital. I stayed there for one and a half months until I recovered. I stayed there till April, then they took us away, because the American army was approaching. We were marching for 8 days. Everybody received half of a loaf of bread for the journey and nothing else. We only ate what we found on the way. Sometimes we ventured in the villages and we tried to get hold of some food, some pieces of potatoes. Those who fell behind, who could not march any more were shot down by the SS. Everybody tried to make every effort even if it was hard; we went on marching. In the field between Bire and Borne, the American troops liberated us on 12th April. The Americans took us to Borne village; I stayed there for 6 weeks, than I got to Magdeburg, finally to Stutthof. I stayed there again for a month and at the end I came home to Budapest through Leipzig, Pozsony and Prague. My plans for the future: For the time being I am going home, than I will go to Palestine as soon as possible.
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