Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER
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A Mother’s Shoah, Never Give Up

Never give up

Standing there in a haze, I suddenly felt someone kissing me, tears falling all over her face. It was Magda, my cousin from Györ, transported here three weeks earlier. We could exchange only a few words, when I felt another embrace from Heda and her sisters. They all slipped away from their barracks to see me, knowing full well that they’ll be savagely beaten upon returning. Heda managed to bring me a small cup of black coffee, which I gave to Magda. Within a short time, almost all of my old friends joined us. Each of them asked, warned, beseeched me to remain as strong as I could, mentally, if not physically; to persevere even if there was only dirt for food; never to give up until they were about to kill me, brutally and in cold blood.

Female_corpses_in_Dachau-1945

Corpses of women found at the liberation of Dachau, 1945.

Heda told me that they’d been deported together in the same cattle boxcar with my mother and family but were separated from them upon arrival. She didn’t know anything more about them. We were herded into a barrack by the evening, about 180 of us into a room not bigger then what our dining room used to be. No need to comment on the comforts of the place, I presume. We were waken up at 3:00 A.M. every night; were lined up into five rows, then made to kneel until 8:00 A.M. This was called the Zühlappel. Afterwards, we’d be given, not every time though, a few gulps of black chicory coffee. Lumps of polenta followed an hour later, which we could hardly swallow, it was so unsavory. Then came another Zühlappel until 6:00 P.M., after which we were given a small piece of bread with margarine. This went on day after day; the only difference was that sometimes the rain washed us out, sometimes the heat became unbearable. The concentration camp was built on a high plateau. It was extremely cold at night, while the heat tormented us during the day.