The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. What were the conditions there, as regards food and

A. We were to take food from home.  We were told to take
food for three days.  But we did not eat, for we were unable
to do so.  We sat there huddled together without moving.
These soldiers who wore the Arrow Cross moved around, all
the time shooting and throwing hand grenades.  They said
that in this way they were killing those trying to flee, or
warning them.

Q. What happened after that?

A. Early the next morning, we had to line up in rows, and we
walked past a committee which included several SS officers
and several men in civilian clothes.

Q. Were they German SS?

A. Yes.  They lined us up in rows, and we began walking.

Q. Did you know where you were bound for?

A. No.  They said we were going to work.  We walked from
early in the morning until the dark of night.  There were
many people who already on the first day fell by the wayside
- they were unable to walk.

Q. What happened to them?

A. They remained on the road; either they shot them, or they
beat them until they died, or they simply left them dying
until they were finished.

Q. Did you yourself see such cases?

A. I saw more than one case.

Q. For how many hours did you walk each day?

A. I don't know.  My watch was taken from me.  But we walked
from the earliest light until darkness fell.

Q. Were you given food?

A. In the evening, we were given some dirty water.  They
said it was soup.

Q. Where did you sleep?

A. Wherever darkness overtook us.  Once it was a stable into
which we were crowded.  There was no possibility of lying
down, we merely sat down, huddled together.  Once, it was in
the open, when we did not reach any place where there was a
farm, or a village or something.  On one occasion they put
us into a cargo lighter.

Q. How many people were there in this group in which you
were walking?

A. About 1,500-2,000 people.  We walked in fours.

Q. How many days were you on the road?

A. The march lasted about eight days, excluding the fifth
day, when we came to a camping place, as it were.  It was a
large farmstead for raising pigs, and there they cleared one
pigsty for us.

Q. Where was this - do you remember the name of the place?

A. It was near Gyoer.  There they put us into these stalls
which were designed for pigs.  We were herded together there
all night; by then large numbers of people had already
contracted dysentery, and their feet were injured.  Then the
gendarmerie which had accompanied us that day - for they
changed them every day - selected a group.  There were about
twenty of us who still managed somehow to remain on our
feet, and we had to remain there every morning to clean up
after the sick and bury the dead.

Presiding Judge: Were there men and women in this group?

Witness Fleischmann: Both men and women; however, there were
only a few men, since the men had already been taken by then
for forced labour.  There were only those whom they caught
on the way or who managed to escape, who thought they had
managed to escape, or those who were on leave and were

State Attorney Bach:  Was there a doctor at this place, in
Gyoer, in this pigsty?

Witness Fleischmann: There was no doctor.  We had a
professor in our group.

Q. A professor of what?

A. He was the chief doctor in a hospital for lung patients.
He was already an elderly man; he fell sick with dysentery
and could not walk.  He remained there, on the spot.

Q. Who attended to him?

A. We did.  What attention did he get?  We were able to give
him water.  Two days later, he came across his daughter
there.  She arrived with a fresh transport that night.

Q. How old was this girl?

A. She was a girl of fifteen.  It was a tragic encounter.
Two days later, the father died.

Q. Was the daughter with him during these two days?

A. Yes, she remained with us.  Amongst the men, there were
lawyers and engineers.

Q. How long were you there?

A. We were there from 15 November until 3 December.

Q. Did you have medicines?

A. No.  We also did not receive food.  We stood there and
watched while they gave the gendarmerie their food.

Presiding Judge: What did you eat?

Witness Fleischmann: Occasionally, one of them had pity on
us and threw us a bit of bread.

State Attorney Bach:  Was this place a kind of way station?

Witness Fleischmann: Yes, it was an overnight stop.  Every
evening new transports arrived there, and in the morning
they continued on their way.

Q. They continued in the morning, and only you people
remained because you had to clean up?

A. Yes.  To clean the place, since most of them suffered
from dysentery.

Q. What treatment could you give these patients, if any?

A. None.  We had to rake together sand and the straw from
inside, together with the filth, and burn it.

Q. How many people died there during the time you were

A. Hundreds.

Q. You wanted to tell us something about your mother.
Perhaps you could tell us what happened to her?

A. I only learned of this afterwards, after my return, that
on 15 November they removed a group of people from the house
once again, and then my father and my mother were separated.
My father was dragged to the ghetto, and my mother was taken
to the march.  She was unable to walk, her legs were ailing.
She dragged herself along for five days.  We got to know
that she walked with her sister, with my aunt, who smuggled
out of the place, managed to send a postcard where she wrote
that my mother had remained there, she was not able to walk.
So in this way I learned of her fate.

Q. What was her fate?

A. They killed her.  She could not walk - so they killed

Q. What were the weather conditions at the time of this

A. It was November, the second half of November; there had
already been heavy rains and frost, especially at night.
Much of the clothing which we had taken with us we threw
away along the road, for we could not carry it.  We dragged
ourselves along with difficulty, but we could not carry
clothes as well.

Q. Where did you come to, in the end?

A. When we heard the gendarmerie talking among themselves
that the transports on foot had been stopped, and that the
group that had remained there had also to be taken onwards,
then they took us to Gyoer, to the former ghetto, which by
now had been emptied.  There were some tens of people who
were lying there, dying.

Presiding Judge: Gyoer Raab - did it have this German name?

Witness Fleischmann: Yes.

Q. Is it close to the Austrian border?

A. It is not so far away.  We walked from there for two days
to Hegyeshalom.

State Attorney Bach:  So then you walked to Hegyeshalom?

Witness Fleischmann: Yes.  We remained there for a few more
days, until they collected some more people.  There were a
hundred and two of us, exactly, who were led to the border.
We wanted to know what would happen to those who were lying

Q. Who were lying where?

A. Who were lying inside the ghetto, completely abandoned,
already exhausted, people who did not even want to reply
when we spoke to them.  We implored them: Let anyone who is
able to stand up come with us.  They could not even hear us.
Then we were told that they would be taken care of.

We arrived at Hegyeshalom.  There they put us into a large
barn full of straw.  There they kept us for two days,
completely locked in.

Q. How many of you were there?

A. One hundred and two.

Q. That was the same group?

A. The same group, for by then there were no more foot

Q. Those who arrived earlier had crossed the border?

A. They had already crossed the border.

Q. What were the conditions in that barn?

A. We were closed in and received neither food nor care nor
anything.  We sat there.

Q. How long were you there?

A. Two days.

Q. And then?

A. In the morning, they called us together, counted us to
see if by chance anyone was missing.  We were taken to the
Austrian border; if my memory is correct, there was a
village there called Tiggendorf.  We reached it early in the
morning, and the German soldiers did not want to open the
border barrier.

Judge Halevi:  Who did not want to?

Witness Fleischmann: The German soldiers.  They said they
had to receive orders.  They told the gendarme who was with
us to take us back.  He said he was not prepared to return
the Jews to Budapest, that he wanted to get rid of them.
This was actually a day of snowstorms.  It was December - 15
or 16 December.  We stood on the border from morning to
evening; we were freezing from the cold, without food -
until they opened the barrier.  We were taken across - there
was a railway station there - and we were put into two
coaches.  They gave us one loaf of bread and a bucket of
water and locked us in.  There we heard - we understood a
little German - soldiers saying that they were going to
transport us for eighty kilometres.  We remained in the
coaches for three days.  All the time the train went forward
and back again.

State Attorney Bach:  Where did you get to?

Witness Fleischmann: To a village called Lichtenwoerth.

Q. What did they do with you?

A. They placed us in a building surrounded by a brick wall.
Inside, it resembled a factory building with large internal
halls.  All around there were walls and large windows that
were broken.  We found that fifteen hundred women were
already there from previous transports.  They told us this
was a women's camp.  We were sixteen hundred women including
ourselves, and in addition there were a hundred men who had
been caught on the road and who were added to the groups.

Q. Who guarded you?

A. There was a Lagerfuehrer (camp commander), an SS officer,
and soldiers who were SS men.

Q. What was their attitude towards you?

A. It was a special camp, a "Vernichtungslager" of
"Flecktyphus," (an extermination camp of spotted typhus).

Q. Is that what it was called?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: What was the name you mentioned?

Witness Fleischmann: Flecktyphus (spotted typhus).

Q. Is that what the Jews called it?

A. They said we were in quarantine.  We heard that name from
the guards.  They warned us that no one should dare go
outside, for we were in quarantine, and if we were to go
outside, we would carry the disease outside.  The place had
a concrete floor.

State Attorney Bach:  Was there, in fact, such an illness?

Witness Fleischmann: Yes.  The floor was of concrete, and
straw had been thrown on to it.  It was full of lice bearing
the disease.  Thus, after a few days, we ourselves removed
the straw and lay down on the concrete - that was better.

Q. Did you also contract this disease?

A. Yes.

Q. Were most of the people there taken ill with it?  What
happened to them?

A. We were there, our group, from 18 December to 2 April,
until the day of our liberation.  Of the sixteen hundred
women, four hundred were liberated - the rest died.

Q. Apart from the question of illness, what can you say
about the treatment you received there?

A. Yes.  They did not take us out to work, for we were
forbidden to go outside.  So the people lay there all day,
until they lost all their strength. In the evenings, they
would bring those large jugs; they said they contained soup,
but it was a sort of water.  Three times a week they gave us
a piece of bread.

Presiding Judge: A slice of bread?

Witness Fleischmann: It could have been about a hundred and
fifty grams. In the courtyard we had to make a latrine.  It
was completely open from above.  We were permitted to go out
only during certain hours.  Most of the women also suffered
from dysentery.

State Attorney Bach:  You said earlier that on that march
they also took pregnant women.  Were some of them with you,
and what happened to them there?

Witness Fleischmann: Three of them got to the camp.  And
there, when their time to give birth came, the Lagerfuehrer
(camp commander) brought a large lamp on a pole, a large
search-light which gave a strong light.  He put it opposite
the woman in labour.

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