Protocol Nr. 3395
The person in question has given us the following information: On January 18, 1943 I was called up for labour service in Nagybánya for the battalion no. X. We received a most hostile welcome. They called us communists and threatened to take us to Ukraine to pick landmines and to wrap up defence wiring. They called us “dirty Jews” and told us we would not see the light of day much longer. In November 1943 they took us to Ukraine. We were travelling under fairly good circumstances. However, the journey lasted for 11 days so that we could not arrive at our station in time (that happened in the days of Minister of Defence Vilmos Nagybaczoni Nagy). In Ukraine our guards were replaced and we got a new commander, 2nd Lieutenant Imre Friedrich, a person who you would call a real Jew-killer. He spoiled our well-intentioned guards, recruited from miners of Tatabánya, by turning them against us. The collecting company of the labour service battalion no. II. was established in Kalus. Three hundred and eighty of us formed four incomplete companies that were situated in the pine forests around Kolomea and Nadworna. We were working 18 hours a day and got a very minimal food supply. We got a good share of beating and antisemitic slurs . We got infested with lice and spotted fever broke out. Later we received a report from the headquarters, due to which our severe situation was partly remedied, so that that the typhus would not spread. Following that we were constructing fortifications from 10 pm to 3 am in Sloboda-Rumburska. We were working under the supervision of military gendarmes and sappers. They were quite humane to us while being in the frontline, but when we were seven kilometres away, they started to verbally abuse us again. I got injured and was sent to a field hospital where I was treated quite humanely. They took me to Miskolc in an ambulance train. When I recovered, they sent me back to Nagybánya, where a lieutenant colonel by the name of Reviczky did his best in favour of the Jews. Then I was sent to the Ferihegy airport, where Lieutenant Dr Seress from Újpest treated the company very well. When the front was approaching, we went to Újpest and from there to Vác and Budafok. We acquired various safe conducts and in 53 Aréna Road a separate company was established for those who had such documents. The guards in this garrison behaved terribly with us. One Sunday morning the building was surrounded by guards with bayonets and at 2 am on Monday we were taken to the Józsefváros railway station and entrained. After six days of travel we arrived at Bruck an der Leitha. We travelled in sealed cars to Hegyeshalom. Eighty of us were crammed into a cattle car without any food or water. At the first border station German gendarmerie received us with warm and cold meal. They robbed us of everything, except for the clothes and shoes we had on. Upon our arrival at Bruck we were handed over to the German political commissars. They gave us onlya s much food to sustain us for work. We were working 8-10 hours a day. We were shovelling snow and loading coal as well as doing forest clearing. We were treated the very badly. When the front was approaching, we marched to Deutschaltenburg. We met a group of deportees from Engerau that numbered 1500. Many of them were shot dead on the way. A couple of days later we were embarked and an eight-day journey followed to Mauthausen. We got no provisions at all and we could have only the water we ladled from the Danube. We arrived in Mauthausen completely weakened. No more than 1800-2000 persons survived out of 3000; the rest perished in the barge, partly because of starvation. Those who were not strong enough to get off the barge were shot dead. When we arrived, SS soldiers received us and we walked up to the camp of Mauthausen by armed escort. We were too exhausted to march, therefore some of us were put on a truck, and another three trucks picked up the plenty of dead bodies on the way. People were dying off like flies due to fatal exhaustion. One morning they directed a transport from Mauthausen to Dachau. However, there was no place for us and we were shortly transferred back to Mauthausen. In Mauthausen we were accommodated in an overcrowded tent and we hardly got any food, therefore 500-600 dead bodies were lying amongst us every day. There was a Russian detachment the only duty of which was to carry out dead bodies. Due to the approaching of the front they started to evacuate the camp. They set off 4000-5000 people every day. Fifteen percent of those people were shot dead on the way because they were unable to walk. We did not get any food for the journey. Because of the outrageous hunger, we ate grass and snails, but we could do it only in secret, because if they noticed that somebody picked up something in the fields, they shot him ruthlessly. We arrived in Günskirchen, which was a camp in the forest with approximately 20,000 inmates: mainly Hungarian Jews of which labour servicemen were the majority. There was no WC or water for such a huge amount of people. Two thousand six hundred people were crammed into a barrack designed for 500 and millions of lice were swarming all around us. That was a place which you would call an extermination camp. On May 5 our liberators, the glorious American troops arrived. My brothers-in-arms were crying and laughing with joy, but a couple of minutes later they fell dead because of total exhaustion. The Americans made their enormous supply depots available for us, where we could find everything in abundance: sugar, honey, butter, meat, and everything you can imagine. The consequence of this was terrible diarrhoea and a spotted fever epidemic, because our weakened bodies could not digest the dramatically better and increased amount of food. The American Red Cross soldiers made outstanding efforts to treat us well. They disinfected us and placed us in various hospitals near Linz and Wells. Twenty percent of those who had been ill with typhus and high fever regained strength and recovered. Our homecoming went quite well. We received a very warm welcome by the Joint in Vienna. Some 6600 Jews of various nationalities remained in Wells; the Americans are treating them very well. All of them have the intention to emigrate.