Protocol Nr. 3009
The person in question has given us the following information: My father is a textile-salesman; he supported me. Thank god, I have found everybody at home. I was drafted for the labour service company in Hangony on 4 June 1944. I spent there 6 days altogether. Warrant Officers vitéz József Bányai and Szilágyi were our commanders; they were notorious antisemites. They organized that memorable “enclosed visit” when the labour servicemen were surrounded by guards in arms on the Hajógyári Island and the labour servicemen could talk with their relatives only for some minutes, through the wire fence. We were together with sappers on the island, then we were taken to the 101/503 vehicle unit in Zách Street. We lived in quite good circumstances there. We had three commanders: 2nd Lieutenant György Lukács, who did much for us, Warrant Officer László Rónaszéki, who, although he was a member of the Arrow Cross, behaved quite nicely and finally Warrant Officer György Kósa, who did everything for the Jews. He helped women escape from the brickyard. He took us to Józsefváros railway station, and with this last act, he spoiled everything he had done for us. We were entrained on 28 November 1944 at Józsefváros railway station. 72 of us were put in a cattle car. The journey was very tough; we got a loaf of bread at the beginning and a little water at Hegyeshalom. No more food was given to us on the way. The Germans took us over already at the railway station in Pest; they gave us food the first time in Zürndorf. We were staying there for half a day and there we saw the first dead Jews. A German captain delivered a speech to us saying that we would live like civilians, everybody would work at his trade and we would also earn money. It was, of course, all lies. The next station the train stopped at was Parndorf airport, where those going to Engerau were separated from those going to Bruck. As far as I know, 3,200 people went to Engerau. We arrived in Engerau on 2nd December. 160 people were placed in a small room. There were no beds, no blankets, no straw. This was the first time that we got hot food. In the first period we dug trenches, later we did wood cutting and deforestation. They woke us up at 5 o’clock in the morning, then the breakfast followed and we went to the workplace at 6 o’clock. We dug trenches close to the Hungarian border till 6 o’clock in the afternoon. We received lunch out there too. The food was very poor. At the beginning, we got unpeeled potatoes, 500 grams of bread, 20 grams of margarine and, for breakfast, 2 decilitres of black coffee. Later we only got mush soup or turnip soup and simple water. The dinner was the same. Later we were moved to the open attic of the house of a Hungarian civilian. Then we had already been working in the forest, we cut wood, carried heavy logs, we sawed and transported the wood. When the weather turned very cold, they reduced the working hours so we finished at 3 o’clock. We had to go out even in the worst weather in mud, rain and snow without any kind of equipment. The guards called “Politische Leiters” and the SA men beat us and murdered crowds of us. As far as I know, they have already received their punishments. Our Politische Leiter was called, so far as I remember, Baumgarten. I think he has not been arrested yet. We did the same work throughout the winter. The provisions became less and less; we got margarine only on every third day, then the bread rations were reduced to 300 grams. The conditions got worse and worse all the time. Many people were executed and not only for attempted escapes. Absolutely innocent people were also shot dead out of sheer joy, of sadism. Yet, many people managed to flee. I tried it once myself, I wanted to jump on a train but no train was coming. Some fellows of mine and I were ordered from company 29 of Engerau to the N.S.K.K. unit. The provisions were better there, but the accommodation was terrible. Later I was sent back to Engerau through illness. That happened on 16th January. I got back to company 29. On the last week, from 20th to 28th March I worked in the kitchen, although I was a radio technician. There I pulled myself together. That is, I had gone through a serious diarrhoea beforehand. The infirmary was very roughly equipped, there was no medicine; the whole infirmary was a fleabag. If one went in there, he was not very likely to leave it alive. There was a company for ill people, where the weak were taken. They received even less food than we did. When we left Engerau the company of the ill was executed. About 600 ill people were left alive. Disinfection and bathing was organized once a month. On one occasion, they let gas instead of hot water out of the showers, just for fun. We had to run from the hot bath out to the cold. Many of us got pneumonia and a lot died from it. On 28th March we were set forth on foot from Engerau. We got 600 grams of bread and 50 grams of margarine for the march. This was supposed to be enough for three days. We marched 32 kilometres without stopping. We had a horrible night. We marched to Deutschaltenburg. The Politische Leiters and the SA men shot down those who were hardly able to march and fell a little behind. There were terrible massacres, they shot down innocent people too; they simply fired into the row. As far as I know, they shot down 260 people. They put us on a barge in Deutschaltenburg. There we met those from Bruck; as regards the treatment and the provisions, they did much better than us. We were put on barges. We received no food. A horrible eight-day long trip followed without a bit of food. Then we arrived in Mauthausen. Some of us attempted to escape at Vienna; several people managed, but some of them were nabbed and they were shot down immediately. A large number of people died of hunger on the barge, it was a real death trip. The SS men took us over on the barge. Those who did not hurry or could not move fast enough when getting off were all pushed into the Danube. They also shot down the ill people, who could not suffer the journey. We arrived in Mauthausen on 10th April. They accommodated us in a gigantic tent. 16,000-17,000 Jewish prisoners were there, very many of them slept in the open air because there was no room for them inside. It was so crowded in the tent that we could not even sit down. At the dawn following our arrival we received an order to go to Dachau, but it was immediately cancelled because meanwhile the allied forces cut the way off. We did not have to work any more in Mauthausen. The provisions were very poor. The rations for one day were 2 decilitres of black coffee, 8 decilitres of turnip soup, 20-30 grams of margarine or tinned meat and 60-120 grams of bread made of sawdust. People began to die in large numbers and the SS men shot down many of them too. The infirmary was terrible, it was awfully dirty, full of lice and typhus fever; dead bodies were lying on the living people in terrible crowdedness. Medicine and medical treatment did not exist at all. Almost everybody died there. We were ordered to go to Günskirchen on 16th April. 16,000 people went there in three turns. I was in the first group, among 5,000 people. The ill people were left there; most of them died in the infirmary for lack of food, since they were given nothing to eat. I do not know exactly how many people were left in the infirmary. We covered the 60-kilometre-long way to Günskirchen in three days. We had breaks twice, which we spent in the open air. We got food only once on the way, it was some three-day-old sour, fermented turnip soup. A great many people got diarrhoea and died of it. The SS men shot down a large number of those, who were not able to go. As far as I know, from among the 5,000 people they shot down 600 on the way just for fun; those whom they did not like, they shot dead. We ate grass and rape on the way, but those who stepped out of the row were shot down too. After three days we arrived in Günskirchen. The first night we spent in the open air, and we got wet to the skin. Then we were taken to a barrack, which provided room for 300 people, but 1,800 of us were placed there. There was no straw and no blankets. We could not even sit down, people were hitting and killing each other for a little space. We became bestial. The provisions were terrible: 2-3 decilitres of turnip soup, water, and 120 grams of bread daily, sometimes some black coffee. Appells were held too; sometimes we had to wake up at two o’clock at night. The SS men kept shooting about, only to entertain themselves with it. The whole camp had only one latrine, so a large number of people suffering from diarrhoea died. People could not relieve themselves outdoors, because the SS would have shot at them too. We had no water at all, such thing as washing ourselves did not exist; sometimes we could have access to half a litre of water by queuing up a lot, but even that was very rare. Water was a real treasure! We became infested with lice completely. Those who got typhus fever were taken to the infirmary, and they were said to be executed there. On the first time 200 people, later 600 people died in the infirmary every day. They threw the corpses into a pit and left them there unburied. Two days before the liberation we received charity packages from the French, one for 31 people. These packages we did not get, since the Capos and the SS men stole most of them. By the time we got the first news about the peace, we all looked like living skeletons. On 3rd May the SS guards escaped. The prisoners emptied the food storehouse and started to go to the main road. The ill people and myself were left there without any food. On 4th May the Americans came in. They distributed us tinned meat, each weighing 850 grams. We all fell on the food without thinking. Naturally, the weakened bodies could not cope with that, they got diarrhoea and a large number of people died. 200 of us, ill people, stayed in the barrack for another day. The Americans gave excellent provisions to us, white coffee, biscuits, rice pudding, etc. A truck took us, weak, ill ones away from Günskirchen. The Americans buried the dead. They transported us to Nörschingen, to a training camp for aircraftsmen, where there was a camp. They took the ill people to hospital immediately. The Americans made miracles there, they organized hospitals with splendid equipment, with medicine, with doctors and nursing staff. The American doctors did all in their power. Later we drew food supplies from German storehouses. German medical orderlies and male nurses were there. The German doctors treated us very conscientiously and well. Then we began to receive awful food, we got beans and peas all the time. A great many people died of that, as the weakened bodies could not tolerate that food. They gave us only 50 grams of bread. The city delivered the food for us. We starved much, because the German medical orderlies grafted everything. French, Czechs, Yugoslavians and Romanians left with the first transport. Later the camp was completely emptied and from that time on the food in the hospital became somewhat better. The Americans gave us extra food from their own stocks, biscuits, tinned food and so on, in order to improve our provisions. From the American hospital No.1 I was transferred to No. 11. I was only 32 kilos, I was a living skeleton, and it was only due to the excellent medical treatment of the Americans that I have recovered. I got injections, I received 56 doses of blood plasma, 300 cubic centimetres each, worth of 10,000 pengős. I was able to move and stand up again as late as in mid July. In the beginning I was lying unconscious. The poor hospital provisions were completed by the remainder of that we had got from the American hospital. We often got charity packages too. I stayed in Hörsching up till 7th August. I lost my relatives there, many of them died of weakness still then. Later I was taken to Wels-Lichtenegg. There they found a decree according to which all the Jews had to be taken to a quarry and be blown up there two days before the liberation, but the German captain did not dare to do that. In the field hospital no. 221 we were under the treatment of Hungarian medical orderlies and Hungarian leventes. We received supplies from the mayor of Wels. The provisions were good, they cooked in a Hungarian style. Later we were let go out to the city and they also allocated clothes for us. Unfortunately, nothing was organized regarding our way home and it seemed hopeless. I was still there when I first heard from my parents. I wrote a lot of letters home, which I sent via the Red Cross but none of them arrived. I was compelled to go home illegally. We started on 28th August together with 26 people of the Hungarian staff of the hospital. It was precisely nine months after our being taken away. We travelled on trucks to Linz. There were Czech, Romanian and Hungarian troops in Linz; they were entrained at noon still on the same day. The Czechs and the Russian army took us over in Budweis. It turned out that we were Hungarians and the Hungarians had already been set forth earlier. 56 of us were travelling in two carriages, together with another Hungarian group. We received quite good provisions for the way from the local Red Cross. We came home through Prague and Brno; we got excellent provisions everywhere. To our luck, in Pozsony we just missed the train which later had an accident. My plans for the future: I go to work at my trade immediately. Depending on the circumstances, I either stay here or go to Palestine or to South Africa.