Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Marton Adler - July 13, 1989

Deportation to Sokirnitsa

What was it like when you came home? What was it like in the house?

Well. OK. See, I told you we were three brothers and one sister. One of my brothers, Mendel, next to me, he was with an aunt, the Mime Rouchel. In fact, I just had a granddaughter a few days ago, and this granddaughter is named after that Mime Rouchel, Aunt Rachel. But when I came to the house well nobody picked me up and oh boy, am I glad you're back. I got bawled out twice for spending too much money for the truck and not walking home and then to get a haircut I had to kind of get a concession that my payes should be short rather then they still wanted them to be long and I thought it's about time I should wear short payes. I mean but what it was like, the only thing I can tell you it was depression. I mean real, real depression. They didn't sing, they talked, they cried. I heard my mother say, "well, why do they have to take us any place? Why don't we die here? Let them kill us here." The next I heard her say the Russians were advancing, the Germans were retreating and maybe they weren't that far away maybe let's say 300 miles. I mean they were already in `44, we're talking April `44, a lot of Europe was liberated. So they were talking like if the Russians come here, so I remember my mother saying, "well so we have little, what difference does it make? So what?" So there is no rich and no poor, they talked about communism. And these kind of talk. But when I came home in March, in March, the whole thing started. When I say the whole thing, this, this, the deportation process. They um, a new business got up, besides the yellow, the armband, you had to wear a yellow star on your left breast, a yellow star on your back. It had to be sewn on a certain way and all that and we didn't know ah, we knew what happened, we knew what happened to our friends in `41, they were all massacred and it was just a question, it's not if, when. And then came, then within weeks, it came, the good news. They gave us, they told us ah they announced in our village they would announce, they would go with a drum. They drum, drum, drum and then they would stop let's say fourth house or every eighth house or every tenth house. And people would gather and he would read the edicts so he read the edict that by tomorrow six in the morning all Jewish people, nobody's exempt, has to be in front of their gates with their belongings. You could only take so much with you and the rest you have leave. And then the drum beat later of course I, we knew already even before the drummer came. And the next morning we were lined up in front of our homes, each family with whatever they had accrued with some food in it or maybe an extra jacket or a silver candlestick. And they went and they buried a lot of the stuff, I mean a lot something, maybe they buried some place in the backyard. Maybe a wedding band or something inconsequential in today's terms, but to them it was a lot. But that's what, that's what happened.

Where you confused with this?

Was I confused?

You were fourteen now, thirteen?

Well no, fourteen. It's in `44.

That's in `44. All right.

No I'm fourteen. Ah, no I'm not confused. I know now. I understand and I guess I think pretty clear. I know that there's big trouble and I know we're not going to ah any resort or anything, 'cause I know my mother is crying. Just crying and crying and crying. And I wanted to cry with her and I really felt I should. And then finally it came. And I did cry with her and I felt so good that I'm really sharing her sorrows with her. And from there with the crying we went out in front of the house with these belongings not for some reception committee and we started walking toward the city hall. And at the city hall you had to give them up whatever jewelry you had. They had body searched. They searched a woman for the women and a man for the man. I mean those that were rich and were suspected of having well, we weren't because by that time by `44 we were, you know, clean. We were lucky we had enough to eat. Just the basic calories.

So they collected you from, from the homes?

Yeah. From the homes. The collection process was like this. Everybody had to be in front of the house. Make sure that all the houses, all the Jewish houses were empty. And as they were satisfied that nobody is hiding and they know each family that is there. Now you're marching to the city hall. To the city hall to be, to handle your valuables and to be searched for valuables.

You say they.

The authorities.

Which authorities?

Hungarian. Hungarian police.


Gendarmes. That was all done by Hungarian Gendarmes which is equivalent to the police.

Did you see any Germans up to this point?

No, no. Well maybe one time somebody going by but oh another item that happened when the Germans occupied Hungary. All the wealthy people, most of the people of wealth, they took them to the police station and they were interrogated and this was also under QT. Nobody knew, but the story was that they were something tortured very bad to tell them all the wealth that they've got and to hand it over to them. And there was a few, maybe say four or five, very wealthy, you know, wealthy families. The local population knew who they were. So they collaborated with these, the reason I mention this, these people were I understand Gestapo in civilian clothes. I mean or maybe Hungarian Gestapo. I didn't even know because at that time, mind you, the Hungarian government they wanted to make peace with the Allies. And this new government, even though Germany occupied, but they had a good faction that worked with the German government. They were very un-Nazis, un-Fascist. So, so then not to go around in circles, so then from the house to the city hall, if you will. Then if you were cleared there, they were satisfied that you only took the amount that's allowed. So many probably didn't take God forbid a piece of furniture or maybe six suits instead of one. From there you went to the synagogue. Big synagogue was a religious, you know, a religious synagogue so you had the up for the women and the down for the men and there was a big courtyard. There was like let's say early May. So all these people kept on coming and coming into that synagogue 'til the synagogue was full and the courtyard was full. And people were in the courtyard and in the synagogue with their belongings and they were sitting there like camping. Well, the best thing I could say it's like a rock concert. I mean if you want to say that. I mean they were there with their belongings, the belongings were the pillows, the mattress, whatever. And we were in that deal about three days let say `till the even from the surrounding little villages were there maybe two or three Jewish families, they brought them all into that assembly point and then when they were satisfied, that they were all there, they put us on trucks and they took us to a little village called Sokirnitsa, which is right near Chust, the village, they emptied out a village, it was a non-Jewish village, all the villagers now they put them into Jewish homes, but the villager's house, maybe they put like three families in one little and those houses were mud floors, one-room houses, it one room, the, the, stove everything in this one room.

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