Protocol Nr. 3507

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Name: R. G.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Budapest
Date of birth: 1921
Place of residence: Budapest
Occupation: merchant

The person in question has given us the following information: I was drafted for labour service in 1942 in Galánta. Lance Corporal Mihály Bece terrorized even the commander of the company. He beat people up, he took away their baggage, he withdrew every concession from us. So, he banned writing letters, he would not hear of soldier’s pay or of replacement support for worn-out clothes. We worked only in the bound. I remember one cold winter day, when we were waiting barefoot at the train station for hours. We went to Rimaszombat at Christmas 1942. In Rimaszombat, Lieutenant # Csomor received the company with the following speech: “I forbid the Jews to use informal language with the labour service guards. There is no leave, do not even ask me for that.” We were prepared for the worst, but we were pleasantly surprised, because our commander turned out to have a heart of gold; he was practically at our beck and call. We did not have to ask him for anything, because he gave us everything without asking. We were given leave and everything. His tender-heartedness, which does not suit a soldier, was exactly the reason why he wanted to appear a cruel and fierce man, at least to himself. But however hard he tried, his heart always triumphed over him. It is also interesting that once he admitted that as a civilian he was a member of the Arrow Cross, but for the time being he was a soldier. He was unable to torture defenceless people. There was a warrant officer with us, called Henrik Ronti, from Miskolc. There were men from Miskolc among our comrades; he graduated from high school together with them. He was the rudest to those people, and once he even said: “Is it not interesting that the other day we were sitting beside each other in school and now you are doing calisthenics on my orders? It is because you are Jews, and I have become a commander of company. This is what the final examination resulted in.” Later several parts of the company were ordered to different places. That is how I got to Lőrinci. We were building a water dividing plant in Lőrinci. Later we were taken to Ungvár, then to the triple border, when I fell into captivity on 10th October 1944. The Russians were bringing me with them towards the interior of the country, then I was taken to a collecting camp in Focsani. From there I got to Korosten. All 150 of us lived in excellent conditions in Korosten; I worked in a bath there. Sadly, 60 of our fellows died, and it is mostly due to us, since when they were ill we did not make every effort to provide them with the necessary treatment and provisions. That depended on us then. This is a spot, which will always remain sore when I think of it, because we could have done it; we could have helped. Maybe it serves as an excuse that in such cases everybody is selfish, man becomes beastly when he is overcome with natural instincts. It is too late to be sorry!
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