Protocol Nr. 2043
The people in question have given us the following information: Mrs Meisels’ husband was a doctor, who had many patients in Munkács. Mrs Moskovics’ husband was an articled clerk, but he had no office yet. Mrs Meisels tells: After the Germans’ entry German soldiers were ravaging in the city. They shot in the locks of the gates to frighten us, they woke up people who were sleeping peacefully and they committed thefts and burglary. They asked one of the tradesmen in Munkács for money, but he refused them; later they called on him and shot him. We went into the ghetto on 19th April. Those, who, for some reason, registered at the police in the preceding two years, were taken to the ghetto at the brickyard outside the city. There was some disturbance every day, there were scuffles here and there; sometimes the area of the ghetto was reduced. On those occasions we had to pack up and move within half an hour. This provided a good opportunity for our belongings to disappear, to get lost, slowly. Once my uncle asked us to help them pack and move; the above mentioned Zsuzsa Bernstein gave us a helping hand. During the moving one of the SS henchmen kicked her from behind. Usually they beat every Jew as they could, by hand or with butts for no reason. Soon after that, they took us to the brick factory. They gathered about 12,000 Jews on the market place, they queued us up in lines of five and set us off. Old and ill people were put on trucks, then military gendarmes and policemen stood on both sides of the lines and beat us with clubs. Those, who could not march fast enough they gave a sound beating. From the ghetto they took us first to the police for interrogation, where detectives from Pest performed the noble duty of questioning. They were, of course, equipped with lashes. They were most interested in hidden or supposedly hidden valuables. This journey claimed lives: those who could no longer march were shot, other people collapsed as they were unable to proceed further. Towards the end of the three-kilometre-long march people began to throw their baggage and food away, in order to bear the march better. Sometimes a child was left on the way; children unconscious from exhaustion were lying on the edge of the road. Most of those who did these cruel things were probationary policemen. Dr István Engelbert was the mayor at that time, while the police superintendent was called Csetényi. The latter behaved quite correctly. Although there was General Fehér too, who ordered Jews to wear a yellow patch in his own sphere of authority, already before the official decree of the yellow star. He was also the one to designate six streets where Jews were forbidden to go. He organised raids; a lot of people were beaten up at those occasions. Men were taken out from the brick factory for physical exercise, during which serious beatings were common. Policemen came almost in every hour to ask whether we still had handbags, suitcases or other valuable belongings. We spent a week in the ghetto of the brick factory, then we were entrained with the last transport. Mrs Moskovics tells: I was, by chance, staying in Debrecen in April 1944. I was visiting my relatives there. Some days later, after the Germans had entered, a ghetto was designated in the city, which was reduced several times. All the windows opening to the street had to bee covered completely with planks. We spent about three weeks in the ghetto of the city, then they took us to the brick factory ghetto. The roofs of the buildings had holes in them and we were lying on the ground in the mud in the brick factory. There was, among others, a young SS soldier, who wanted us to jump to attention when he entered. If, by accident, we failed to notice him entering, he beat us all up for our inattention. There were roll calls all the time, the wealthier people were taken to the counter-intelligence, where they were beaten terribly. They often held house and body searches after which only 2-3 pieces of clothing were left. Towards the end of May we were entrained. 75 people were put in one cattle car. Nobody died in our cattle car, nobody escaped either. We were given only a little water when we departed; we suffered a lot from the lack of water. We heard and we were also made believe that we were only going to work on Transdanubia. Mrs Meisels: 72 of us were travelling in a cattle car. We got water and buckets to serve as toilets on the way. There was a teacher called Dr Irma Schul among us. I began to talk with her when suddenly two bullets hit her while talking. We do not know how, from where they came. This happened already at the entrainment. We, who were in the cattle car, did not notice the shot, we only noticed that a thin line of blood was running down on Dr Schul’s face. When an SS man asked how old she was and we answered 38, he responded indifferently: "Sie hat schon genug gelebt, heraus mit ihr!" We arrived in Auschwitz after a three-day-long journey. The train arrived at the station at night but we were let out of the train only at dawn. Our baggage were left in the cattle cars, we were made to stand on the left side, they took us into the disinfecting building, there they stripped us naked, cut our hair, while the officers were walking up and down laughing at us. We had to do everything quickly, while the lashes were working. After having bathed us, they set us stand in the courtyard, where we were standing for hours. Finally they took us to a block in Camp C. One thousand or one thousand and fifty of us stayed in a block, eleven- thirteen women slept side by side or on top of each other on a bunk without blankets. Later it happened that 16 of us slept there; our sweat stuck us together. We were not allowed to go to the toilet, we continuously suffered from cystitis. Often we could not wash ourselves for 3-4 days. They woke us up at three in the morning, then we had to be lining up for roll call till seven o’clock, but beforehand we had brought in the cold and bitter slop, nicknamed coffee from the kitchen. Block curfews were held all the time, then we were only hanging around, we did not know what to do. Our feeding deserves a separate chapter. Food was brought in a pot. 12 people were fed from the same pot, we had to go to the pot one by one and eat the food without a spoon. Several times we got painful infections of the mouth from each other, which lasted for days. They were said to have put bromide in the food, which also caused the erosion of the palate. There always were selections; those who lost much weight or caught scarlet fever in the days of the epidemic were taken away and we never saw them again. We did not see the crematorium, we only heard that those miserable ones who were taken there were given a soap and a towel, as if they were going to the public baths. We also heard that they threw small children in the fire alive. After three months they selected us for a transport. They took us to disinfection, but this happened only the next day. We were standing there on the road, we were so tired that we lay down in the dust. We had no food, no blankets. The disinfection was done at dawn the following day, then they took us to another camp. There they stripped us naked, they took our shoes and clothes away. We thought they were taking us directly to the gas, since we had heard that those, whom they intended to execute in the gas chamber they stripped naked beforehand. Then they gave us a pyjama coat and a skirt, but we had no underwear and no shoes, we were lining up for roll call like that. There was no water in this camp, neither for drinking, nor for bathing purposes. There was no toilet either. They brought water from the street, which was not sufficient for 30,000 people. People killed each other for the water; we had to be queuing up for hours if we did not want to miss the chance to wash ourselves. We spent four days in that camp, then they put together a big transport and took us to Unterlüsse. We were given one and a half loaves of bread, 3 portions of sausage and 3 portions of margarine for the journey. 50 people were travelling in one dirty cattle cart, we could not even find place for our bread because it was so dirty there. In Unterlüss we had a better time. We had separate beds and blankets. Although, there was an SS woman called Susanne Hille, whom we never saw without a rubber lash. She beat us without any reason: it was enough for her if somebody passed by her. If she gave us something and we thanked for it she told us not to thank for anything, because if it depended on her she would not give us anything. She held back the toe rags, she did not distribute them throughout the winter. Even if we managed to get hold of some rag we received 25 strokes from her for it. There were groups of people who worked in a factory. We did building work, then we worked in a forest: we cleaned and levelled the ground after the building operations. We marched five kilomettrd to the workplace and back every day. The work time was eight hours. In the factory they worked in a day-shift and a night-shift. They woke us up to go to work at night, when the stars were still shining, and we got back to the camp and we could go to sleep late in the evening. If we got wet in the rain and our only clothes were soaked through we could not dry them, we had to work in wet clothes on the next day. We had only one piece of underwear, which, if we washed it, we dried on the stove-pipe. Although, if they noticed it, they beat us for it, because we damaged the government property. Before the English entered, the SS men escaped on 12th April, and we were handed over to the chef of the kitchen. He surrendered us to the police. They transport us to Bergen-Belsen. There we were housed at the same place where people suffering from serious typhus fever were lying and lice were climbing on us by the thousand. Dead bodies were lying beside the living people in their own excreta. When we saw this, we said it was the end. We sat on the ground not having enough room to lie down. Brawls, killing, howling were going on all night long for a foot of place. It was hell! Dead bodies were lying there among the living for two or three days after they had died. It was already the third week since there had been any bread there and the water was cut off, there was no possibility to bath at all. People got typhus fever or died of hunger one after the other. One day after our arrival an SS man came and said that we had to work. We were all healthy, so he took us to the place of work: a gigantic heap of cadavers. It consisted of female bodies only; they wanted us to clear it away. But we were reluctant to touch them, since all of them had died of typhus fever. Our Lageralteste asked whether we chose execution by shooting for refusing the work we were assigned to do. We were so desperate that we said we did, then we escaped. We were extremely lucky: on the following day, on 15th, the English liberated us and thus we were saved. It made us very satisfied to see that the SS men cleared away the heaps of cadavers. After our liberation we lived in tents, then in SS flats. Meanwhile we fell ill, and they took us to Bergen, where we were lying in typhus fever for nine weeks. After we had recovered, we came home to Budapest with a Czech transport through Prague and Bratislava. Our plans for the future: We are absolutely bewildered as yet; later we may decide to emigrate.