Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Noemi Engel Ebenstein - July 22, 1996

Delayed by Kastner Negotiation

To life.

To life. "We were on that side of the train. Now I'm able to, to write this to you, my children. Ruti, Dani, Yael and Avi. So you will remember and not forget. The other side, the hospital, old age home, etc. all went directly to Auschwitz. The train was separated and went a different direction. Um, we went to Strasshof, another large gathering lager, camp. The reason for the 24 hours delay and for going to the side that went to the labor camp was due to the negotiations with Kastner, which of course we did not know about it, but later on it, um, historically we know. Uh, again we stood there for 24 hours. Half the--yeah, that's repetition. When we arrive to Strasshof, Strasshof, they were throwing out the corpses, those who died on the train." Um, okay. Um, my memories. I don't remember the train. Um, but I do remember, or I know this about myself, that every time I watched a documentary or a movie or anything like that, showing the trains, just like the barbed wires, I would have like an anxiety attack. Not a full blown. But even now, like I feel like my heart pounding, and getting teary and upset, really upset. I assumed I did not remember anything. It is so strange. I, I think I said that to you in a previous interview that I'm a psychologist, but when it came to myself I sort of blocked it all out. Uh, it had this tremendous impact and I always thought that it was like pretend or it's just because I know the stories. I did not take into account that children can actually remember, screen memories and an emotion or reconnect with the emotion. Just about from age two, or earlier if it's just the emotional connection. So I would have these reactions. When I was in Washington and, and at the Holocaust Museum and I entered that, that, what is it called, box car, how did you call it?

Cattle car.

Cattle car. You said something.

Box car.

Box car. I was amazed to see how small it was and how I thought of it as huge. But I was a little three year old. It was huge for a three year old.

Maybe this is a good place to stop for a moment.

Okay, thank you.

Let's start with Strasshof, Strasshof bei Wien.


Not very far outside of Vienna.

Vienna. Twenty, 30 kilometers outside of Vienna. Northeast, I think.

Northeast. You mentioned the Kastner negotiations. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Well, I, I did not know anything about it and even when there was a Kastner trial in Israel I was too young, um, to be, it was in the '50s, I think. Um, but my mother was very much aware and connected. I mean, we did not know what was going on when we were in the, in the cattle cars. Um, but, um, anyway, I guess that's why we were not sent to Auschwitz straight. But we ended up in this, um, place called, um, Strasshof bei Wien, which was a larger gathering camp, "From which people"and I'm reading, uh, from my interview with my mother uh, "People were sent to other smaller camps." Um, for awhile we were in this camp but, um, I don't know how long. I have no idea.

This was in...

In the...

...June '44.

It was, about, yeah.

And probably as a result of negotiations between Kastner and Eichmann.


It seemed Eichmann at one point said, "Put some Jews on ice" to keep them as bargaining chips.

Uh, huh. I guess we were the

And you were the ones.


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