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[English Page 305]

Five Protocols

The following few pages contain the accounts of five Jews who were concentrated in the ghettos of North-Transylvania: Kolozsvar, Szatmarnemeti, Szilagysomlyo, Nagyvarad and Marosvasarhely and were deported to Auschwitz.
We are indebted to the Documentation Department of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York) for allowing us to publish these Documents, which we present with some stylistic corrections.*

 

1.

PROTOCOL, put down on the 13th September, 1945, in Budapest, at the office of the National Relief Committee of Deportees (2, Bethlen-ter).

Name: Ferdinand Salamon; born: 4.11.1921 at Des; workman; last domicile: Des; Ghetto: Kolozsvar; Camps: Auschwitz--27-31.5.1944; Warsaw—1.6-1.8.1944; Dachau—3.8-10.8.1944; Kaufering—11.8.1944-26.4.1945; Dachau—26-29.4.1945.
The above named reports the following:
Summoned to do laborer service I joined the 13th battalion, 3rd Comp., at Bereck. The commander, Lieutenant Junig and Ensign Boldizsar treated us cruelly. We had to work 15 -16 hours a day and our belongings were seized. We had to dig trenches. Binding-up were everyday occurrences, there were days when 10-12 men were hoisted up for trifles.
Up to January the 20th, 1944, we did work in Haromszek County digging trenches, and undergoing the worst treatment thinkable. Owing to inadequate alimentation, a great many of my comrades fell ill and into a state of perfect exhaustion. A comrade of mine had his left arm amputated, because a piece of rock had hit it.

Until March 1, 1944, I was in the province of Karpatalja; treatment on the part of the Company-commander was rather humane. We spent 8 hours daily on trench-digging.

Then I was claimed as a skilled worker by the “Vitez” house of Kolozsvar, to work up textile-waste. On the third of May, the Tran-

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sylvanian Army Corps issued an order, according to which military laborers were not allowed to walk about, unless escorted by a soldier. But the same Corps let me have a certificate, running to the 19th May, by virtue of which I was allowed to move freely at a time when all Jews were already in the Ghetto. But on the 19th of May a detective took me also to the Ghetto.

There were about 18,000 Jews in the Ghetto, constantly beaten by the gendarmes. When the Jews were proceeding through the streets to the Ghetto the onlookers had loud fits of laughter. We had been quartered in an open shed, having only a roof; we lay on the ground, in a terrible situation. Alimentation was the task of the Jewish Council. Police and gendarmes were at work jointly to spoliate us with the utmost thoroughness; no money and valuables were left in our keeping. And all the robbing was done with accompaniment of thrashings and kickings. Some of us were brought back half dead, on stretchers after these “searches,” but cases of death also occurred.

The men were taken to work at buildings; the women did charring for SS-soldiery.

I spent about 3 days in the Ghetto, after which I was put on a train. It was the first one to leave Kolozsvar, holding about 300 men and women. Departure took place in the evening hours, and we were escorted by Hungarian gendarmes who gravely maltreated us all the time. We were promised that families would not be disunited and that they could keep together under any circumstances.

We traveled in closed wagons, 75-80 people crowded together in one; we could hardly sit or stand, and lying down was not be thought of. The provisions meted out to us for the journey consisted of half a kilogram of bread, nothing else was given; and we had to go without water till Kosice was reached after four days. The Germans, to whom we were delivered, let us have some water to drink, but nothing whatever to eat.

Another four days of travel with full unspeakable suffering landed us in Auschwitz.

We alighted; abandoning all that we still had of packages, and filed out in five rows between bayonet-holding SS-soldiers, before Camp-physician Dr. Mengele, who sent the old ones and the children to the left and the fit ones to the right.

The crematorium smoked all day and night. As we were told at some later date, the unfit and the children were sent on the very day of arrival to the gas-chamber, to be cremated afterwards.

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Selection was followed by bath, removal of our hair and our placement in timber barracks where 1500 of us were huddled together in a space calculated for 500.

I was sent to the Gypsies' camp, and the barrack I went into was, then, quite unoccupied. The barrack-senior was a German Gypsy who did not stop beating his inferiors. Another German was camp-senior. At that time the Gypsies' camp had about 45,000 inhabitants.

We had no work to do, and had to stay about in the blazing sun, for the barracks were only to go into in the evening. At 5 a.m. there was roll-call already which lasted for hours, sometimes even for days.

Alimentation comprised the strictly necessary, perhaps less: one-fourth of a loaf of bread, and one liter of soup. Hunger was a dreadful torment; the most of us lost all our forces.

There was an infirmary; but we preferred not present ourselves there, knowing that the patients were systematically selected and promptly sent to the gas-chamber.

Cleaning was possible here; we were even regularly, given soap and towels.

After four days in Auschwitz I left with a 2000-people group in the direction of Warsaw; our closed wagon held 45 persons, and the situation was the more passable because we had been given a sufficient amount of food for the journey.

One day's travel brought us to Warsaw. We were lodged in barracks of bricks, with a plank-bed for each of us. We numbered about 4500, Hungarians and Poles in the main.

We had to clear bricks in Warsaw Ghetto, a gigantic heap of debris after the Germans had shelled that quarter.

 

2.

PROTOCOL, taken down on the 13th August, 1945, at the office of the National Relief Committee of Deportees (Budapest, 2, Beth-len-ter).

Name: Bela Rosenberg; born: 27.4.1909 at Avasuj-varos; smith and locksmith; last residence: Szatmarnemeti; Ghetto: Szatmarnemeti; Camps: Auschwitz—4.6.1944-18.1.1945; Grossrosen—23.1.-15.2.1945; Buchenwald – 21.2-6.4.1945; Bissing –7-21.4.1945; Ostrau –22.4.1945.
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The above named deposes as follows:

At my place, persecution of Jews set in already in 1940, when the Hungarians came in. At that time I was employed as locksmith-master by the Transylvanian Textile Industries, Ltd., and on the 1st of November, 1940, I was dismissed for being an “unreliable Jew.” Our governmental commissioner, spinning-mill-owner Edmond Vajda, turned out all Jews of that firm. Subsequently I worked with a private firm.
In March, 1944, the Germans came to Hungary, and from that time on every day brought its anti-Jewish measure. One day we had to fasten a yellow star on our coats, the next our shops were closed, then our radio-sets had to be turned over, and thus it went on no end.

On the 15th of May we were driven into the ghetto of Szatmarnemeti. Our gold-wares, our watches, money, bicycles, all, all were robbed while one was beating us up mercilessly.

The time passed in the ghetto was a kind of precursory training for the nuisances of camp existence. Beside humiliation we were tortured by constant sorrows in regard to our future; we had to endure without resistance all that was inflicted on us, and, at that, could not help our old people and youth being maltreated in the coarsest manner. I often had doubts as to whether these creatures have families of their own; otherwise I am utterly unable to imagine men and women 80-85 years of age being beaten. The Hungarian gendarmes beat them.

On the 1st of June we went into a train, about 80 persons in one wagon for cattle, without food or water. During the travel many of us did not feel well, the children cried and wanted water; but the reply always given by the gendarmes and other Hungarians was: “Go to hell, dirty Jews!” At every station the doors of our wagons were thrown open and we were shouted at: “Jews, hand up your money, gold, jewels, clothes, leather articles! The Germans have a machine that makes them see through anything, even shoes!” Thus they tried to frighten us out of our wits, and when they saw that none of us made haste they attacked women and men and boxed them on the ears, though they should have known by that time that we had nothing in our keeping to hand over. But these brutalities repeated themselves at every station.

In Kassa we were delivered up to the Germans, who shipped us on to Auschwitz, where we arrived on the 4th June.

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The first thing they did with us was to separate us. Families were dragged apart, men and women had to stand in special groups, within of which again the fit and the unfit-looking elderly people were picked out. Our parcels had to be left in the train. I wanted to step back just to let our child have a bit to eat, but I was not permitted to do so; I was told to go bathing, and meet my child afterwards. And we believed it, too. Our train had brought on 3500 persons. Later on a train reached the station, coming from Nagyvarad, and when I turned back to our wagon I saw not one living soul anymore. I wondered where the whole of our group could have been taken to without any selection. I started running to find my wife, but as the SS kicked me to the right or to the left I failed to meet my people.

I went to the bath, was shorn all over, disinfected and given a striped coat. Then I got directed to a barrack; about 1500 people having been huddled together in it, we passed the night sitting n one another's lap, it was the only position to be in.

Alimentation was next to nothing: beet-soup every day, to be eaten by groups of five out of washing-basins or other vessels not at all made for such purpose.

I was put to work in a garage for tractors and in a repair shop for agricultural implements. This meant that at least we were given 20 dekagrams of bread and one liter of soup every day. Working hours were from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.; we had to remain on our feet 16 hours out of 24. And when we got home, we had to stand about 3 hours at roll-call, or even to 11 p.m., when somebody was missing.

Selections were very frequent, and when in the evening we reached the camp, our first question invariably was: is the selection terminated or not? In September they once arranged one selection at midnight. 17,000 people were looked over: each barrack's inhabitants were taken to the bath-building, where they had to strip naked completely and the SS-officer Kaduk, the selector of that occasion, pointed out the men whose faces happened to displease him, and that man did not go to work, but a motor-car fetched him, and he finished in the gas-chamber.

A selection in January was to furnish workers for Grossrosen. We were transported in trucks – 70 to 80 in each – and almost frozen to death. There was not a wagon without 5-15 corpses in it; we piled t hem up to have more space, and even lay on them if necessary. We

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felt dreadfully cold and hungry, and our mood was in accordance with that state of matters.

In Grossrosen things were equally lamentable. Again 1500 men were crammed into one barrack, so we hardly could stir and not sleep at all. It goes without saying that our rage about our helplessness resulted in ugly quarreling, which rendered our position and existence still more wretched.

No productive occupation was given us here, only tasks lacking all sense; it was just to amuse the SS-men who enjoyed us being absolutely at their mercy.

 

3.

PROTOCOL, put down at the office of the DEGOB, National Relief Committee for Deportees (Budapest VII., 2, Bethlen Gabor ter), on September 11, 1945.

Name: Dr. Joseph Szerenyi; born: at Edeleny, February 18, 1900; occupation: physician; last residence: Szamolsudvarhely; Ghetto: Szilagysomlyo; Number: 44573; Camps: Auschwitz – June 8-29, 1944; Westegiersdorf – July 2, 1944-February 6, 1945; Hildesheim – February 11-March 10, 1945; Hannover –March 14-22, 1945;' Bergenbelsen – March 26-April 15, 1945.
The above-named reports the following:
I acted as a district-physician at Szamosudvarhely. The Jews domiciliated there were gathered and taken away on May 1. I, as a physician, remained there for further three weeks and then was taken to the ghetto of Szilagysomlyo. There we were stripped of everything and starved from the first day on. The chief-judge (sheriff) was the commander of the ghetto. Every day he visited the camp, escorted by an SS soldier speaking Hungarian, tied and tortured the people in different ways. The most shameful thing was the latrine. It was frequented by men and women alike. There being no walls, only a thin hedge leaving everything visible marked its limits. The sheriff would come here and take snapshots of the people being in the latrine. Can a regime supporting on such clerks, such executive officials, be good?
In the camp there was a room for trials to be held there; people taken there were beaten and tortured, thus confessions being wrung out of them as to where they had hidden their valuables. I very often

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offered old people first aid in front of this room. They had fainted owing to the tortures suffered.

At last we were put into trucks and left for Germany. The ride lasted 11 days; we were escorted by local gendarmerie. The doors not being opened on the way, men and women being crowded together, bare of any possibility to ease themselves in a decent manner was what was the worst about it. We suffered terribly from want of water. Men thumped the door like madmen; but it was unlocked only in Auschwitz. . .

 

4.

PROTOCOL, was taken 18th June 1945 at the Deported Home (Budapest, Ajtosi Durer-sor 37).

Name: Mrs. B. Eisenberg (M. Steiner); born: 14 of August 1914; birthplace: Nagyvarad; occupation: cabinet-maker's wife; Ghetto: Nagyvarad; first station: Auschwitz, 5 June 1 944; Camps: Riga – from 14th of June – end of August; Magdeburg – beginning of September-until 13th of April 1945
The above-mentioned states the following:
There lived 25-30,000 Jews in Nagyvarad, mostly merchants, but many physicians, lawyers and tradesmen as well, mostly well-to-do people.
My husband was a cabinet-maker, he did good business and in the time of deportation his store was 30,000 Pengos worth. We had our own lodging, furniture which was 100,000 Pengos worth too.

According to the general bills, we moved into the Ghetto on the 5th of April 1944. A part of the town, 25 streets were designed for the purpose of the Ghetto, and we were driven by the gendarmes there. We took everything we wanted to the Ghetto with us. We were not permitted to leave our houses. In one room, there were placed about 12-14 persons, owing to the lack of space, everybody had to sleep on the floor. Provision was sent by the city. Some worked in the kitchens of the city, but most of us did not work anything. Gendarmes were watching over us. They told us, we shall work on the fields of Hungary and shall not be taken to Germany. Some even tried to escape through a canal and some succeeded. Many committed suicide in the Ghetto as Dr. R. Gals, Mrs. S. Klein, Dr. Pollacsek with his family. Many people died in the Ghetto, there were 10-12

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funerals daily. The wealthier Jews were taken to the brewery, where they were thoroughly beaten, and tortured in order to make them confess their hidden values. My sister-in-law had been so much whipped on the soles that she could hardly go. Electric current was led to the womb of the women. A certain merchant Motz who was extraordinarily rich, was so much tormented t hat he was brought out on a stretcher. These tortures were executed by strangers. Once there was plunder in the Ghetto when the gendarme had taken all our values, watches, provision etc. We could only take a knapsack into the wagon and we were threatened, if money were found with anybody, all Jews would be shot. 80 persons were driven into the wagons. A small jug of water and a bucket served the W.C. We arrived on the 5th of June in Auschwitz after 5 days of dreadful travelling. While on the journey we got water in Debrecen and Kassa, but we were not allowed to get off. In Kassa the Hungarian gendarmes searched us and what was left they had taken from us: money, shoes, dresses, rags and so on. S.S. soldiers took the guarding from the gendarmes and one of those delivered a speech saying that if we shall work we will get food. The arrival at Auschwitz was terrible. It was pouring in the late evening when we arrived. They made us leave the wagon very quickly even politely told to leave the luggage in, it will be brought later to our places. At the station we were selected immediately: in one group were the old, children and weak, in the other one those who were able to work. Until midnight we were standing hungry and feeble and tired out from the gruesome journey. Now we were led into the bath, where we undressed and our last rags were taken. We bathed in hot water and the only thing we got was a ragged, tattered dress without any underwear. We were shorn completely. . .

 

5.

PROTOCOL, was put down, on 18th June 1945 in the National Relief Committee's Home for Deported (Budapest, Ajtopsi Durer-sor 37).

Name: Mrs. M. Grun; born: Kofarka, 15th March 1895; occupation: household; last residence: Marosvasarhely; Ghetto: Marosvararhely; Number: 39.021; Camps: Auschwitz--May-August 1945; Stutthof--
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6 weeks; Thorn—2 weeks, Madgeburg—until liberation.
The above-mentioned reports the following:
Many families were living in Marosvasarhely. Merchants, intellectuals mostly in favorable financial conditions. My husband was a tailor, and lived fairly well from his income.
After the German occupation, the synagogue was destroyed. The licenses were withdrawn. The different official organizations carried out the different orders. We could not do anything to prevent the coming events. We had nothing to say against the Jewish council. I do not know the names of the members.

On the 13th of May police fetched us, and drove us to the Brick factory. We could take everything we pleased there. The ghetto was surrounded with machine guns, it was guarded inside and outside by gendarmes. Jews were also watching over us but without rifles. We were jammed in a small room. Men worked, women did not. The rich were especially beaten, to make them confess their hidden values. Dr. Schwartz, gynecologist, and his wife were so severely beaten, that they were obliged to lie one week with swollen feet. There was no possibility of escaping.

One day the gendarmes came, made us pack, and we were driven to the station. We did not know where our journey would lead, they did not tell us, we could not speak to them, for they never answered us besides, the gendarmes were always rude to us. We could not take anything with us. We left our clothes, provision, and bed linens in the brick factory. The set-of-cars started to Kassa. I do not know where it stopped for the first time. Sometimes we got water. At the Polish frontier the German took our guarding, they immediately threatened us with a bullet. After 3 days travelling we reached Auschwitz. German and Polish Haftlings met us at the station. I was separated from my husband, after some minutes from my sister and little daughter. I was shorn, in the bath, my dress was also confiscated there. I had several on, for I thought I could save those. I got a pair of wooden shoes and rags. Later I was driven to a barrack consisting of 400 people. 12 persons slept on a wooden bed. We had very little to eat. It was little and inedible.

Footnote

*File: W.J.C.A. 3DC and J.A.f.P. No. 2872; 2716; 772; 776. Return

 

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