Protocol Nr. 3552
The aforementioned persons present the following unanimously and complimenting each other: We lived under very good financial circumstances on the income of our mill and real estates. After the German occupation we would have liked to leave Balassagyarmat, but my husband was a well-known person, therefore we did not have a chance to flee. On April 22 he was interned, on the absurd plea that “he can have a bad influence upon the public in the upcoming era”. There was no chance to appeal. He was taken to the detention house on Mosonyi Street in Budapest. From there he was taken to Nagykanizsa and deported on May 1. We lived in constant anxiety because of the ghettoisation. We did not know what would happen to us. They took inventories of our flats and every item was delivered to the Financial Directorate. On May 9 we marched in the ghetto. There was a communal kitchen where they cooked for 80-100 people. Later it stopped working and we were taken to Nyírjespuszta. They set up an interrogation centre at 15 Kossuth Lajos Street, where they took people almost every day and tried to extort the secrets of the poor victims by exquisite torture. I was also taken there, but I escaped beating, because I told them immediately where I had hidden my valuables. On June 5 we went out to Nyírjespuszta. At 5 am leventes came to every ghetto house and ordered us to be on the street in half an hour. We were ready by 6 am, but they took us only at 6 pm. Some of the ghetto inmates went on foot, some were transported on carriages. The Gentiles were watching our march curiously. Plenty of them looked astonished, but there were a lot of people who were laughing as well. In Nyírjespuszta we were housed in tobacco-drying sheds and our resting place was merely a little straw. They took away people every day to question them. One of the detectives came to visit chief rabbi Deutsch and told him “I am so tired, I was beating people all night” and he showed him his swollen hands. The local gendarme and police officers came to Nyírjespuszta constantly as well, including draftsman of the police Óriás, who has just been arrested, so we are informed, and we hope he will get what he deserves. Younger men and women were taken to work in the fields. We generally thought we would get away with it. Unfortunately we could not be under that delusion too long. We could feel that there was something in the wind. Our misgivings came true on June 10, when we were arranged in transports and the entire population of the ghetto was transported to the railway. Before entrainment, they had told us we were allowed to take two sets of clothes and underwear, two pairs of shoes and an appropriate amount of food with us. We were entrained on June 10. In the beginning they put 60-70 people in one cattle car, but later they forced more people in, and eventually there were 80-85, even 90 people crammed into one car. We suffered very much because of the lack of water. The usage of the toilet bucket caused many problems and inconvenience as well. In Kassa we realized that we were unfortunate enough to be taken to Poland. We arrived in Auschwitz in the morning of June 13. When getting off, soldiers warned us to leave our luggage in the cars. They said we would get the luggage back in the afternoon and we would meet our relatives as well. Events happened like in a motion picture. We did not have time to ask questions. They lined us up, and men and women, the elderly, the children and the ill were separated from each other. I lost sight of all my relatives, except for my daughter and I never saw them again. Afterwards we were taken in a disinfecting building where they shaved our heads, and gave us rags in return for our clothes. Some women could not even cover their breasts. Later we got better clothes. We were put into camp B 3 where 1000 people lived in one block that had been built for 500 people. Later they put 1300 and then 1500 people into the same building. We were lying on the bare ground, packed like herrings in a barrel. A few days later we got blankets. We had to fight every day for our resting place. We had stayed in this barrack until the end of July, then we were taken to another one, and then they kept aimlessly putting us into new barracks. We were not assigned to work. Later on there were selections every day, but somehow we managed to get away, even though it was very difficult for us to stay together. We know the crematoria only by hearsay. Following a selection we were put into camp A, where our fellow prisoners drew our attention to the crematoria. There was no work for us and therefore we spent most of our time with reporting for roll calls. It was still dark in the morning, when we had to wake up and we got only five minutes to get ready for the roll call. We did not even have time for washing ourselves. One thousand five hundred people were streaming out of the block in one single entrance. The guards were beating us during that process. Our food supply was mouldy bread and half a litre of soup that was like dishwater. We got it in the morning and in the evening. The only edible part of our food was the Zulage. In the beginning our rations were fairly good, but later they were getting worse. On September 20 we were taken away in a transport of 4500. There were 40 women from Balassagyarmat on that transport. Some 40-50 people were put into one freight car. We got provisions for the three-day-long journey. We arrived in Bergen-Belsen where we were given a better, or at least a more silent reception. The camp was four to five kilometres away from the railway station. Tents were set up near a beautiful forest. Three or four hundred people were housed in one tent. There was a lot of straw and everybody got two blankets. It was relatively comfortable. To our great surprise we also got dishes. There were no roll calls and we got better food as well. There was no work for us. Unfortunately that relatively better situation lasted only for two to three weeks. Plenty of people came in the camp; the more people arrived, the worse the food supply became. After that we got only turnip soup for seven weeks. The bread ration was about 160 grams per day with a minimal amount of Zulage. Twice a week we got some bread soup, flour soup or sometimes fruit soup. The supervisors behaved more humanely than in Auschwitz. However camp commander Heinemann started beating us, and from that time on the treatment was getting worse. They started the roll calls, during which numbers were never correct. Even the ill were chased out of the barracks. Those were already terrible times. The baths, however, were perfect. Hundreds of women could wash themselves there at the same time. The latrines were satisfactory as well. We had been living in tents until November 6, then they accommodated us in wooden barracks: 800-1000 women in each. Two of us slept in one bed and 12 of us on the same bunk bed. We had blankets. On the second day of Christmas they put us on a transport again. We were put into the transport barrack, and then 500 of us were set off on January 2 for Aschersleben. There were some 15-20 women from Balassagyarmat on that transport. We arrived on January 5. There we were accommodated under really good circumstances. We had rooms of central heating and baths with hot water. The Junkers aircraft factory, where we were assigned to work, was in front of the camp. We were working 12 hours a day in shifts. They treated us relatively well at work. We had civilian foremen, to whom it was strictly forbidden to talk. We worked along with Belgian, French and Dutch prisoners, with whom we were not allowed to communicate either. However we got round the regulations whenever it was possible. The foremen provided us with broadcast news, which kept up our spirits. When we were informed that the Russians were only 30 kilometres away, of course we were very happy, but could not believe that it could be true. They quite often imposed penalties upon us; we were most frequently punished with the shaving of our heads. We were evacuated on April 14. We were set off on foot in a group of about 500. We were housed in stables and similar buildings and got only boiled potatoes to eat. After marching about 100 kilometres, our guards and overseers left us. When we were 18-20 kilometres away from Halle, they put the ill onto trucks. We had hardly gone five to six kilometres, when we reached a village, where we got accommodated. There were 32 people in our group, out of whom four were from Balassagyarmat. The following morning they took us on by car. The transports were being organised on a big square in front of the military headquarters, but they did not care about us. Later we clambered on a passing truck, which took us 15 kilometres forward. Then it dropped us at a forest full of dead bodies. There were constant low-altitude attacks; the aircrafts were raking the place with machine gun fire and bombs. There were fires everywhere. We continued the march and then scattered to the surrounding villages. By that time our group consisted of only nine persons, including the four from Balassagyarmat. Thanks to a village mayor, we could sleep in a stable and they gave us ration cards, potatoes, tinned food and even some money. The locals provided us with food and clothes. The name of the village was Ponch. We spent four days in the Reformed pastor’s home. We cooked in his kitchen. They probably suspected that we were Jews. Upon the pastor’s request, the village mayor finally ordered us to leave the place. Escorted by a guard, we went towards Muédau where they ferried us across the river and then let us go free again. In the meantime the ferryman asked the guard what to do with us. He wanted to know whether to carry us across the river or throw us into it. The guard just waved his hand and told him to do what he wanted. There were many fleeing German soldiers on the ferry as well. Finally the ferryman put us ashore and we went to the nearest village, Döbern. The Americans liberated us there on April 23. We were living in stables, like before, and then the Americans accommodated us. They solved that problem by throwing out the German inhabitants from a two-roomed flat. From that time on, American soldiers provided food for us, which was so rich that we put on about 20 kilograms in two months. Two months later we went to Halle where we reported to the Czech consulate, claiming that we were Czech citizens. Six of us travelled together, because three women from our group left one week before. From Leipzig we departed on a mixed transport: there were Serbians, Romanians, Czechs and so on. We reached Pilsen partly by train and partly by American trucks. In the Czech territories we were given a warm reception. They gave us directions, provided us with food and so on. From there it took us 14 days to come to Budapest. As for our plans for the future, we are waiting for our family members to come back. We would like to find our way to America.