Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Fertorákos 3

Anyway, I was second by the door as the door comes in from, from the entrance, from outside. And there was a... the little lighting we had, it was a plain uh, bulb hanging in a wire and the way we shut it off and on just turn the bulb out and... All of a sudden, what I see, the door shuts open and a gun is pointing towards me. I was up, by the way. Okay, I was up, everyone was, everybody was sleeping and I was up, standing up cleaning my underwear or my pajamas from the lice, killing the lice, I mean. And as I see a gun pointing and I recognize that German Schwabs--they call 'em Schwabs--pointing the gun at me and I knew immediately flash in my mind that Christmas Eve, when he shot that fel... that other fellow outside in front of our quarters. I don't know what to do, but the instinct told me shut the lights off and run. So, what I did, I turned the light off and in... instead of staying there, I run all the way to the other end of the barracks, which was a stupid thing of me to do, but nevertheless when a gun points on you, I... It wasn't time to take, take it whatever happening, that what I did. So, he start yell back and forth, who was the damn Jew who shut the lights off, back and forth. So he puts... Then the fellow who was next to me, he was a good friend of mine who lives in Southfield right now. He wa... he was sleeping and he woke up from his sleep and he sees that the German is pointing down at me, "You son of a bitch Jew. Why did you shut the light off?" And he noticed that I'm not there and he immediately he caught on that whoever it was it was me who was doing and he starts yelling in Hungarian to me, please speak up, speak up because he's taking, you know, he's taking it out on me. So, I don't say nothing because, I don't know, it's my life or his. It's, it's, it's come so fast that you don't try to justify, you know, your buddy's going to die for you or you. Never address it. He tried, he, he tells, he tells them please get dressed and come with me. So, he sat and get dressed and, and, and, and in the meantime he's begging that I should speak up. So, I kind of uh, see what the situation and I was scared that he's going to take him out and shoot him. So then, I start to stall for time. I speak up and I say, "Listen, it wasn't him, I know, because he was sleeping." "Who was it?" "It wasn't him." "Was it you?" Again I was hesitating, say no, but I know he was sleeping because I seen him, he wasn't there. So, back and forth and then I had to say it was me. So, I said it was me. Then this guy takes his gun, clicks the... he clicks the... he clicks this uh, what do you call this pin? The, the safety pin?


And he points the gun on my head. As I heard, when he, when he opens the, the, the safety pin, I knew that this is it. So what I did, I, I picked the gun up from his hand and I took it away from him. Not, not to put away, I start to push it away, the, the chamber. So then, that's all I needed that. He got so upset, he turned the gun on the other way and he started to hit me with it. He said, "You son of a Jew, you dare to take the pistol, rather the gun from a SS hand?" In the meantime, his buddy's right behind him, he behaved quite nicely, he didn't say much. In the meantime, I start to beg to him, "Listen, please tell your partner that I didn't mean nothing. The only reason why I shut the lights off because I was scared that the door was open, the light will escape outside, and we were forbidden to get any light to exit from our quarters in case of a airplane, a enemy airplane is coming and that's all what I done it for." Again, this thing, I don't know how it crept in my mind, it wasn't the truth. But... And I begged him, listen you ha... must have a son, old, old story and, and uh, how would you like somebody for innocence to shoot your son or you have a wife and, and his mother, how would you like... So and I begged this other fellow to spare my life. But the meantime, he's hitting me in the meantime, so as long as he hits me he doesn't shoot. And then he stopped. He told them to stop already, it's enough. And then they went away. But I was shivering like for days after that because I really came close to... This is the two closest things which came in that particular space for me to... It was, was my life in danger.

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