Protocol Nr. 228

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Name: K. H.
Gender: female
Place of birth: Eötvösfalva
Date of birth: 1923
Ghetto: Sátoraljaújhely
Camps: Auschwitz, Markkleberg

The person in question has given us the following information: I lived with my parents in Eötvösfalva, a little village in Carpatho-Ruthenia, where there were only 8 Jewish families. My father was a farmer, we had a little house and a piece of land, where all three of us worked, and we were just managing to live on it. Our misfortune started already in 1941, when they gathered all 8 Jewish families in our village, although our citizenship was all right, and they deported everybody into Poland. Accidentally, I was not at home that day but with some relatives in Taktahorkány, so I stayed here. I have not heard any news of my parents ever since. I did not dare to go back to our village, and remained in Taktahorkány. I was there on the 21st of April, 1944, when gendarmes appeared in our flat at dawn, woke us up, and told us to pack immediately because we had to leave for Sátoraljaújhely, for the ghetto. We could not pack much, although they would have let us, because we were very excited and nervous, so we only gathered the food we had and some clothes. Before we left, gendarmes told us to hand over all money and gold, because if they found any of it on anyone, they would shoot them. On the road, gendarmes were hurrying us, it was very difficult to walk with the luggage, children, old people, and an even heavier burden was the worry as to what would happen to us. The Sátoraljaújhely ghetto was in town. There were a few small streets assigned for this purpose, which were surrounded by a wire fence. There was very little space, because not only Jews from Újhely, but also those from the neighbouring little villages were gathered here. 30 people were crowded into a small room, also children and old people. The heat was awful, and everybody was very anxious and afraid. Gendarmes kept coming in and out, harassing people to hand over their valuables. Of course, there was plenty of loot every time they came. We did not work at all in the ghetto, and were not allowed to leave the houses either. Time passed very slowly in continuous worry. One day, again at dawn, they woke us up, made us line up, and drove us as quickly as possible to the railway station. We had hardly any time to pick up some little luggage. Entrainment was very brutal. They were pushing and hurrying us, and gendarmes were cursing Jews. They put 80 people in a freight car, and we were given neither water no toilet bucket. We were travelling for three days. It was a tiresome journey; we suffered a lot from thirst and the heat and because there was no space to comfortably stretch our legs. Everybody was just sitting on their sacks or bags with bended knees, we got terribly tired. We arrived in Auschwitz at dawn on the third day. Prisoners in striped clothes jumped into the wagons and hurried us to get off. They told us that they would bring our luggage after us later. Once we were on the ground, we were separated. Men were put in one group, women into another. Then they picked the old, the sick and children, and made them stand on the left. Back then we did not know what this left side meant. Parents and children could not even say good-bye to each other. Germans told us that we would see each other on Sunday. Unfortunately, these Sundays never came. We, who could work, were taken to the bath, where, after hours of standing around, we were made to take off all our clothes, they took everything away from us, all our hair was cut off, and then they washed us. They did not give us towels, but as we came out from the bath, we had to wait again for hours in an absolutely cold, windowless room, then they threw everybody a shabby cotton dress: for one it was so long it reached the ground, others could barely fit in, but they did not care about it at all. By that time we were horribly cold and so tired we could barely stand on our feet. Finally, we were led to a barrack where there were already an awful lot of people, so that there was space for us only on the ground, side by side. But we did not look any more where we lay, just collapsed and fell into a numb sleep. By the way, we were all the time a little numb also later, because they gave us bromidic food to soothe our nerves a little so that we did not think about our fate. Here we did not work at all, still we had no time to rest or relax. We had to get up already at three in the morning. Then came the “Appell.” This meant that we had to line up in fives in the freezing dawn, in a single dress, because they gave us no underwear or stockings, and we stood there for the whole morning either it rained or snowed, or the sun was blazing on our freshly cropped, bald heads. We had to stand erect; otherwise they would beat us with a whip. After the Appell, we had to queue for lunch, then at 5 in the afternoon, another Appell followed. In the meantime block cleaning, courtyard cleaning, at other times lining up for selections. Every hour, every minute had its own anxiety. In the meantime, we found out that those that were made to stand on the left at the station were burned. The five crematoria were continuously working, their tall towers were flaming. 20-30,000 people came every day from all parts of Europe, at least 40 percent of whom were burned. But when all this was not enough, they would gather their victims from the Auschwitz camps. On these occasions we had to line up completely naked, Dr Mengele came with his assistants, he was humming the Donauwalzer, and decided over life and death with a move of his hand. When there were selections, we were picking our faces so to look healthy, and we tried to look at him cheerfully, because first of all he picked the sick and sad people. There were days, however, when he said that today those with blue eyes, or thick legs, or whatever he happened to think of. If anyone had a pimple or the slightest scar, they would certainly end up in crematorium. These miserable people were put on cars naked as they were, and were taken to the crematorium. You could always hear the cries for help and screaming of those condemned to death from one block or another. There was usually block curfew in the other blocks, so it was not allowed to go out. This was, by the way, one of their favourite punishments: not to let us go to the toilet. Considering that almost all of us had diarrhoea, and that we had to hold it back sometimes for 24 hours, we suffered horribly. It happened that somebody could not resist any longer at the Appell, and the accident happened, and then they beat her up horribly. In addition, she had to wash the soiled dress, and because everyone had only one piece of clothing, if she washed that, she had to put it on wet, and walk in wet clothes day and night. One could only get into the bathrooms by fighting one’s way through, and it happened that when someone finally got to the group, then they switched the water off, because they temporarily stopped supplying water. When we did not have to line up, we had to sit in the barracks, but supervisors would beat everybody up for the slightest disorder. Food was very little: a little black water in the morning, turnip soup and a small slice of bread at noon, half a litre of soup again in the evening. We starved a lot and also suffered because of the cold. After 7 months of suffering, I got into a transport that was taken for work. Before that they bathed us again, gave us another dress and so we left. We were travelling for two days in a freight car, we were not allowed to look outside, and they did not give us any food. Finally, we arrived in Markkleberg. Here we worked in an aircraft factory. We had to work 12 hours a day, one week at night, the other week during the day. It was very hard work, all the time we had to stand and screw very heavy iron pieces into the planes. Earlier, this work was done by well-fed men. Our daily portion was half a litre of thin, watery soup and a small slice of bread. Treatment was somewhat better than in Auschwitz, but here we were so weak that we could hardly think and stand. When Russians were approaching us, the whole camp was emptied and we left for Theresienstadt on foot. We kept walking for 16 days, and they gave us no food or drink on the way. They were terribly hurrying us, and whoever seemed a little weak or fell a little behind was shot immediately. It was a horrible trip! I always felt I could not walk any longer, but my feet would carry me automatically. Many people died on the way, they could not bear the suffering any more. Finally, we arrived in Theresienstadt, and fortunately next day the Russians arrived as well. I had typhus at that time and was lying in hospital for three weeks before I could leave for home.
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