Protocol Nr. 5

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Name: E. B.
Gender: female
Place of birth: Nagyvárad
Date of birth: 1914
Occupation: wife of a joiner, houswife
Ghetto: Nagyvárad
Camps: Auschwitz, Riga, Magdeburg

The person in question has given us the following information: About 25,000-30,000 Jews lived in Nagyvárad; tradesmen, physicians, lawyers, craftsmen etc. Most of them were wealthy people. My husband was a cabinetmaker, he earned a very good living. Furniture worth 30,000 pengős according to the contemporary value of the money was stored in his warehouse at the time of our deportation. Our own flat and its furniture is worth around 100,000 pengős. According to the general decrees people began to be moved into ghettos from 5th April on. A part of the city, about 25 streets, was marked out to make a ghetto and the gendarmes took us there on trucks. We could take with us whatever we wanted. We were not allowed to walk in the ghetto. About 12-15 people lived in one room and we slept on the ground in a very small place. A communal kitchen provided food for us. Some of us worked at the communal kitchen, the others did not work at all. They were guarded by gendarmes. They were told that they would work in fields in Hungary and that they should not be afraid, since they would not be taken to Germany. Many people tried to escape through the drain, and a number of them managed. A large number of people committed suicide in the ghetto: Dr René Gal#, Mrs Simon Klein and Dr Polacsek, together with his whole family. A large number of people died in the ghetto otherwise too, there were 10-12 funerals every day. The wealthier Jews were accommodated in the brewery. They were beaten all the time; the guards used a variety of torments to force them to confess where they had hidden their valuables. My sister-in-law was beaten so much that she could not walk, because her soles were hit. They conducted electric currents into the women's wombs. A feather dealer called Notzen, who was extremely rich, was tortured so much that they took him back from the brewery on a stretcher. These torments were executed by people from Budapest, who were dressed like civilians. Once there was a looting in the ghetto when the gendarmes took away every valuable, watches and food from us. We were allowed to take only one knapsack with us in the cattle car and they said if they find money on somebody, they would shoot down 10 Jews for it. They put 80 people in a cattle car, a small jug of water and a bucket to serve as a toilet. We arrived in Auschwitz on 5th July, after 5 days of travelling. They gave us water on the way in Debrecen and Kassa, but we could not get off. In Kassa, Hungarian gendarmes searched the cattle cars and they took away everything we still had: money, clothes, blankets, shoes, etc. SS soldiers took over in Kassa and one of them addressed a speech to us saying that we should not be afraid, because we would work and he who works would receive food. Our arrival in Auschwitz was horrible. We arrived in the evening in heavy rain and we had to leave the cattle car very quickly. They told us to leave our baggage there, they would take it after us. They selected us immediately. They bathed us in hot water and put a single ragged dress on us, then they chased us in an enormous toilet building where we were terribly cold after the hot bath, standing on cold stone ground in a single dress at night. A large number of us were crammed there and we were terribly tired, we could not even sit down. Many people died there that night. On the next day they made us line up for roll call, they put our names down and put together a transport. On the third day they sent us to Riga. from there they took 500 of us to a village called Urbe, where we cut down a forest and built a railway. For us women, the work was terribly hard. I had to carry beams, so heavy that my neck became twice thicker and it will have to be operated on. We lived in a camp in Urbe, 14 of us slept in a tent on the bare ground. We picked moss in the forest; that was our pillow. Our provisions consisted of some soup once a day and half a loaf of bread, later only one quarter of a loaf. Very few people survived the hard work. In the beginning of September they took me with a transport to Magdeburg. There I worked 12 hours a day in an ammunition factory. I worked one day at daytime, on the other day at night. The work was not hard, only the workday was very long and the night shift was especially difficult to endure. They did not harm us, moreover, the civilian overseers sometimes gave extra food to a woman. However, I had already been so weakened by then that sometimes I could hardly walk. That was caused by the prior events and the overwork. When the Americans were coming closer to Magdeburg, soldiers from the Wehrmacht took us to a village called Nedlitz. We had to leave everything there and we had to march very fast. They put down the whole camp on a square. Later we learned that square was an airport and there was an air raid that night, on account of which about 4,000 people died. The Wehrmacht soldiers had escaped from us before the air raid and those who survived met the American troops already on the next day. One of my most terrible experiences was in Auschwitz. A woman of about 50 did not want to leave her daughter at the selection. Then an SS woman began to hit her. The woman was already quite beside herself and she hit the SS woman back. Then the SS woman took a dog whip and looped it around the woman's neck and she dragged her like that along the whole long way. The woman's screaming was horrible and unforgettable. When she was barely alive, two other SS soldiers shot at her. The corpse was left before us all the time, so that we learn from the case, because "that is what happens to those who contradict them". The suffering of an acquaintance of mine, a young diabetic girl, was also terrible; they took her insulin away in Auschwitz, so she died there, in Auschwitz.
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