Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Immigration to Germany

Oh, you had to have proven that you were in a concentration camp. And the communists would allow you to emigrate if you had the papers.

No, no, no, we didn't ask, we didn't ask them.

Well, how do you get of the country if you didn't ask them?

Smuggled out from country. That's what I want to tell you. And we had secret meetings with these people. This was, this was interesting. Secret meetings with these people and they said it was in sometimes in February that we meet in the morning and we, everybody can bring one little suitcase, and that's how we left the country.

You smuggled out at night?

No, we went on the, on the train and they said we were German repatriating. That we were German who escaped Germany to Hungary and we were repatriating.

With your false papers.

With the false, yeah. Yeah, that's, that's what we meant. Yeah, that's how we could go, that's why we needed the false paper. That we went legally as German repatriating to Germany. We went to Austria first because we had to go through Vienna. And I remember that at Vienna, there was on the border there was a checkup and they said nobody should say one word because we are as German smuggled out and we speak Hungarian. So nobody was uh, nobody should utter one word. And they, they were all paid off.

They were.

They were all paid off and we went through without any trouble. And then, in the one city we were close at the border, very close after, after the border there something again, an unexpected check-up came and then we all, the train moved so slowly that everybody was able, everybody had to leave the train.

You mean because they were going to check and they couldn't....

Check and they couldn't... Yeah, wasn't a certain, most, most different we didn't know. We just knew, know that we had to leave the train.

You left the train in the middle of nowhere?

Middle of nowhere.

And then how did you get picked up? What did you do? Did you have to walk the rest of the way?

Let me think, let me think how this happened. I remember that, I still remember that this train was moving very slowly and we jumped off without trouble. I guess it was in a, yeah, it was in Austria in a small city where we would all be.... And then we went to Salzburg, next morning we went, then we went to Salzburg, a big city. Then we were already free. Then we were just Jewish refugees, you know.

Oh because it was occupied. I mean it was still...

In Germany after the World War we were Jewish refugees.

So you could move as you wanted.

As we left the border, we became Jewish refugees. And then we slept in a beautiful monastery, I remember it was. And then we went on another train and went to Munich. And in Munich uh, we were nine months in Munich.

In a retention camp or what?

Uh, it was a what do you call it, an army camp, very, very large. It not, not a camp, because the buildings were just regular brick building. A very large army camp, very ???.

It's sort of a barrack, but not really.

Yeah, yeah, very big one, very big one. And then we always lived there. After that everything was good. We lived, we were, lived in a room, a rooom with 200 people but they're all bed, army bunks, and two... two-story army barracks. It was mu... Everything was wonderful, it was Hitler period was over. Five hundred something during the Hitler period and started, I forgot. There are many, many things besides could go bad.

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