Protocol Nr. 221

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Name: S. C.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Munkács
Date of birth: 1910
Occupation: barber

The person in question has given us the following information: I was called up for labour service in Abaújszántó on October 13, 1943. I worked as a barber and that is why I had a very good time during the two months I was staying there. Two months later I was entrained and we were transported to Stari Oskol on a nine-day journey. The military gendarmes took my wedding ring and money and allowed to keep only one set of underwear. We were treated cruelly. They beat everybody, but especially picked at the intellectuals. For instance, the gendarmes beat Dr. Vilmos Reismann, a lawyer from Nyíregyháza, to death. Three days later they set us off on foot for the Don River. After a few days of marching we arrived. We were accommodated in barns at a farmhouse. It was piercingly cold, the wind was blowing into the buildings and it was minus 46 degrees Celsius. We acquired a petrol barrel and we made a stove out of it. We picked grass and we used it as fuel. By the time we had settled down, the Russians suddenly advanced and we had to retreat. We covered 1600 kilometres to Kiev. Our journey was indescribable. We were cold and starving. We could only live on the food we sometimes managed to beg from the peasants. Out of my 213 brothers-in-arms only 26 of us arrived in Kiev. I have to add that Lieutenant Theodor Schrank, an engineer from Kassa and the Sergeant Pál Orosz treated us very badly. Later I fell ill with typhus in the hospital in Doroshich. Terrible conditions prevailed there. We did not receive any medical treatment or medication. I had the feeling that I would share the fate of my brothers-in-arms who were dying off one after another unless I fled that place. One early morning I pulled out my golden tooth and sneaked out of the building in the rising sun. I bribed the guard and I got out of that inferno on all fours. By that time only three of us had been alive from the entire company. We were transferred to another company. We had been working there under good circumstances and then we were entrained in Warsaw on July 8, 1944. After four days of travel we arrived in Szentmárton. We were fine in Hungary. We were digging trenches and anti-tank ditches near Szombathely until February 15. Then we were subjected to a search, they took away all of our belongings they could and took us to the border. In Schachendorf they handed over 600 people to a German captain against an acknowledgement of receipt. The Germans treated us well and gave us proper clothing. Two thousand labour servicemen lived in a huge provision store where we received good food supply and treatment. We had been building fortifications around Vienna until April 8. The Russians were advancing rapidly and therefore one day we were set off for Graz. The journey lasted for 20 days, but we got provisions only for four days. The local people assisted us and gave us food. Our Wehrmacht escort also behaved decently. However, they were replaced with the secret police in Graz, who treated us cruelly. We were starving and those who fell behind or just stopped for a moment were shot dead. Out of the 2000, only 1000 prisoners arrived in Mauthausen. There we were disinfected; we got coffee for breakfast and soup with 100 grams of bread for the whole day. The bread in the camp had a very strange taste and I often could not eat it however hungry I was. It was found out after liberation that it had been poisoned with arsenic and that is why people were dying off one after another. I did not have to work, but the SS soldiers were beating me all the time. Three days later I was taken to Günskirchen. I do not know how I survived the march. Physically and mentally weakened, I was just dragging myself along. We arrived there on May 1. It was raining, but we spent the night under the open sky. The following day they crammed us into barracks, where we were packed together like sardines in a tin and there were plenty of lice, bed-bugs and fleas everywhere. Our daily food supply consisted of coffee, turnip soup, 10 decagrams of bread and sometimes two decagrams of margarine. I was digging holes in Günskirchen, as we buried 500 corpses every day. The people there were beginning to get totally dehumanised. They were skin and bones and they were just gazing into space frightened and half-mad. We heard heavy shooting on May 4 and the din of battle lasted for two hours. Then the commander of the camp entered and he looked for 100 ex-servicemen. I was among those who reported. At first he disarmed the SS soldiers, handed over the keys of the store to us and asked us to maintain discipline until liberation. We did not have to wait long, as a few hours later an American tank speeded into the camp. We were crying of joy and they showered all kinds of goods on us. I met my wife at home and I want to immigrate to Palestine with her.
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