Protocol Nr. 86

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Name: F. P.
Gender: male
Place of birth: Berettó
Date of birth: 1927
Place of residence: Kassa
Occupation: student
Ghetto: Kassa
Camps: Auschwitz, Wolfsberg, Wüstegiersdorf

The person in question has given us the following information: My father was a grocer in Kassa. He had two houses, the third one had just started to be built then. We lived in a five-room flat with my parents and my two siblings; my father was definitely considered a rich man. He buried somewhere a lot of money, jewellery and receipts written by his Christian friends stating what and how much they had accepted from him for safekeeping. He, the poor man, died in Auschwitz. I am the only one at home as yet and I do not know where he buried those valuables, so I do not know if I can ever get hold of them. My father was, on account of his decorations earned in the other war, exempt from Jewish law together with his whole family. We did not have to wear the yellow star and when all the other Jews from Kassa were sent to the ghetto, we were told we did not have to go there. Yet, this was the time when my father tried to find a safe place for his valuables. Although, some days later a gendarme appeared and said that we had to go. After half an hour another one came and said we could stay. It went on like that for days, we lived in continuous anxiety; finally one day they took us to the ghetto nevertheless. We had to get ready within an hour, and we could take with us what we wanted. I could have escaped but my parents insisted on our staying together. If they had suspected that our being together would last for such a short time, they might have let me escape. They crammed the Jews in the brickyard of Kassa, plenty of people in a very small place. We stayed there for four weeks. We lived mostly on what we had brought with us. Chief inspector Dr Csatári was continuously beating people with a dog whip. When it came to his mind, he went in the block and he hit whomever he found there with the dog whip. On one occasion he ordered through a microphone every young girl to come out. He took them out and forced them to dig out thick wooden stakes from the ground with their hands. Even the SS soldiers were scandalized by this; they said that for them, such things are done with spades. Many people escaped from the brickyard. We were told that we would be taken to do agricultural work but we would stay in Hungary. We would have liked to believe this, but we found it suspicious that German soldiers were there with us. One Sunday morning, they woke us up at 4 o'clock in the morning. Policemen occupied the brickyard. We all had to gather at a large place and stand there in the blazing sun till 3 o'clock in the afternoon. They did not let us eat or go for water. A friend of mine escaped even from there. We were allowed to take a pillow and a duvet with us in the cattle car. 72 people were in our cattle car together with plenty of bedclothes and packages of food. It was terribly hot in the cattle car and we were horribly thirsty. After a three-day journey we arrived in Auschwitz on 21st May. We had to jump out of the cattle cars and we were told to leave our baggage there, they would be sent after us. They lined us up and by the time I became aware of what was happening I had been in a group with one of my younger brothers but without my father. We who were able to work were taken to the bath; they stripped us naked and bathed us, then they took us to block No. 13. 5 people had to find space on one berth. We made a lot of noise and then the overseer came in and struck us with a truncheon. That was the first beating. We lined up twice a day for "Appell" and if somebody was not standing as upright as a ramrod, they struck him. Those who went out to the toilet were also beaten up. Three days later we were taken to Wolfsberg. We were put in tents made of cardboard, 3 metres in diameter, 20 people in each. We did a very hard work there, first at road construction, then chiselled concrete in a tunnel. Our provisions consisted of 1/3 of a loaf of bread, some black coffee in the morning and some soup without any content. We starved terribly and became very weak. If they saw somebody getting hold of a raw potato, he received 25 strikes on his soles and they took the potato away. One of their favourite punishments was that when we came back from work and were tired, they made us do somersaults, or we had to be crouching or jumping for a quarter of an hour. They called it doing sports. After 12 hours of hard work and being provisioned like that it was difficult to survive. 10-12 people died every day. My leg developed a tumour and I had already been very weak then, so I was taken to hospital. I spent four months in hospital and my leg was operated on but I could not regain my strength after that. It happened sometimes that the leader of the hospital did not give the patients food for a day. I was discharged from hospital on 15th January and they took me to Wüstegiesdorf. 800 people lived there in a big building. I was very glad, because that camp was clean and washing in hot water was a daily obligation. The provisions were better in the sense that we could go to the city and there we could acquire some food. I was a gatekeeper and for this I received double rations. Much to my delight I met one of my uncles there, who worked at the kitchen and always gave me a little food. When the Russians were approaching, two of our comrades escaped. We were packed up and we marched 70 kilometres within 2 days in terrible cold. We arrived in Qualisch on a Monday, but we were given something to eat only on Friday. We suffered terribly from hunger. What the peasants threw away, like rotten potatoes of turnips, we picked up from the rubbish pile and ate them. We already looked so bad that we did not even like to look at each other. Finally they put us in open freight cars, 60 people in each. We were travelling for six days; it was snowing and we were suffering terribly from cold too. 6 people died in my freight car during that journey. Many people went mad. 800 people started from Wüstegiesdorf and 500 of us arrived in Hildesheim. And from those only 400 were able to work. We had to rebuild a train station destroyed by bombs. It was very hard work to carry rails and sleepers when we had already been almost unable to drag ourselves along. The provisions were getting worse and worse every day. We received 1/6 of a loaf of bread and some soup once a day, but it often happened that the bread was omitted. The following case made a terrible impression on me: a freight car containing food destroyed by a bomb was standing on the train station. Those who could tried to get some food from it. One of the Scharführers saw when a boy of 14 hid a tin of food under his jacket. He ordered the boy to sit down on the ground and pressed his gun to his temple. The child began to beg, so he removed the revolver from there but he put it back in a minute. This game repeated again and again and it was awful to hear the fear of death in the child's voice, he was practically howling and whimpering of fear. When the German soldier became bored with this amusement, he grabbed both hands of the child and shot him in the head. There was another case when a prisoner escaped from the camp but he was caught. The whole camp had to appear at the hanging and the boy's father was placed in the first row, right next to the gallows; he had to watch his son's death till the end. In Belsen the whole camp got typhus. We had to carry or pull the corpses in our arms to the place of collection. In Hannover, we worked all the time at night in a tunnel; they said they were building an underground airplane factory. They beat us awfully there. Hits were raining upon us practically every minute. People were falling down like flies in the autumn. We received half a litre of soup every other day. We were suffering from hunger. It happened there that one wretch cut some flesh out of the thigh of a dead man and he also took his lungs out. The dead man's fellows saw that and they took the man to the back and they beat him until he collapsed full of blood. When he recovered consciousness, they began to beat him again until he died. I will never forget that horrible episode. An SS man shot dead a physician called Schönstein, because he had gone out to pick some carrots. When the English came in, they only found skeletons in our camp. We belonged already to the dead, rather than living people.
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