Protocol Nr. 2423

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Name: S. J.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Hévmagyarad
Date of birth: 1916
Place of residence: Párkány
Occupation: hat-maker's assistant
Ghetto: Léva
Camps: Auschwitz, Holleschau, Brünn

The person in question has given us the following information: I was a labour serviceman and after 13 months of service, I was given leave, so I travelled home to my parents to Párkány. It was then that they began to move the Jews to ghettos. When the Jews of the countryside were collected, we knew that it would be our turn next time. We hid much of our valuables away and some of them we gave to Christians for safekeeping. We were taken to the ghetto of Léva. The gendarmes were quite rude but it did not surprise us, because we had expected that. Some streets of Léva were marked out to form a ghetto. We could take there whatever we wanted. We barely spent a week there when they took everybody to the tobacco factory. 2,500 of us stayed in two small rooms. There, we were not allowed to take with us more than a small basket of food and the clothes we were wearing. Most of the inhabitants were happy to see our ill fortune. There was a separate room for interrogation, where detectives from Pest dressed in civilian clothes beat rich people terribly to make them confess what kind of valuables they had hidden and where they had hidden them. If somebody fainted, they splashed him with water and continued beating him. We were entrained at the tobacco factory. 63 people were travelling in my cattle car. We received 150 grams of bread once during the whole journey. They did not give us any water. The Germans took us over in Kassa. We arrived in Auschwitz towards evening. Polish prisoners jumped up in the cattle car and chased us down. I was separated from my family within some minutes. A physician asked me if I was healthy. I said yes, he waved and I had to go with a group immediately. I was taken to a bath. They stripped me naked, they cut my hair and after bathing they gave me prisoner’s clothes. We were standing on the cold concrete floor throughout the whole night and it was already four o’clock in the morning when we were taken to the block. There they called upon us again to give them everything, because they said they would examine us with X-ray and those who had swallowed something they would shoot. As a result, a lot of things were found surprisingly. In the block there were a thousand people sitting on each other’s laps on the ground, dressed in light linen clothes. I spent two and a half weeks in Auschwitz. I spent the whole time lining up for roll call and queuing up for lunch. Meanwhile, of course, the SS men were beating me. I was taken to Holleschau with a transport of labourers. About 1,000 of us lived in the building of the concrete factory. There we already got blankets and everybody received a separate berth. The treatment, however, was horrible. The lightest punishment was 25 strokes. A large number of people died from diarrhoea and complete exhaustion during the winter. One day they began to give us dried vegetables and from that time on 8-10 people died a week. We worked in a quarry. We had to remove stones, break them and put them in freight cars. We had to go on foot to the workplace and the march was three quarters of an hour long. We worked at night too, even in heavy rain. The overseer beat everybody with a thick stick from time to time. Once he was reprimanded, because somebody saw that the back of every prisoner was full of bloody stripes. That did not help at all. He was a sadist. He hit a man in the stomach so strongly that he died by the next morning. Our provisions consisted of some bitter and watery black coffee in the morning and in the evening, 2.5 litres of empty soup for lunch and 250 grams of bread. Everybody who was able to withstand that sort of life was completely weakened and was thin to the bone. I had already been in the infirmary because I was so weak that I could not even walk. When we had to escape before the Russians, we spent three days locked up in the infirmary without any food. We thought we would be left there until the Russians would come. Unfortunately, the ill were put in cattle cars too. 70 of us were there in a cattle car. We were travelling for 6 days and we were not given anything to eat or drink. They took me to a small hospital near Brünn and I was there until 3 months later the Russians liberated me.
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