Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Noemi Engel Ebenstein - July 22, 1996


Yeah, let's, tell me about liberation. What you remember and what your mother told you about liberation. You were liberated by the Russians?

Yes, we were liberated by the Russians. Um, one day there were no guards and, um, and my mother, how on earth she had those two wheelbarrows I don't know, but she had two wheelbarrows that I remember and there was prior to that, uh, a German supply train was bombed and it was, had all kinds of food items. And, uh, uh, apparently all the inmates of the Lager went and, and gathered, you know, they there was sugar there and oil and, and stuff like that. So whatever we, we got from there, uh, we put in those wheelbarrows and my mother said, "Let's go home." And we started walking. And the first recollection that I have from that time was--and this I can actually see--there was a gray picket fence around, like a farm. And in the corner there was like a gate, a gate to open for a carriage or for a tractor or something. In the corner there were eggs. Several broken and a few intact. There were nine eggs. She told me there were nine, but I knew there was eggs. And my mother and my brother drank the broken ones. I mean they just gathered and ate them and I refused. I did not know what they were and I didn't want to be bothered. But I still remember that gray fence and the eggs underneath. What, what is interesting is that my mother in the interview said that there was also a, a dead German soldier, which I blocked out of my mind. I did not re-, I don't remember that. But the eggs and the fence I remember. I also remember walking back. And I remember saying to my mother, I remember walking and walking and being tired. I was not four years old yet. And I said to her something like "I am not tired yet. But when I, when I will be tired, could we rest?" Something like that. And she kept on telling us that we had to get to the next town before dark. And meanwhile there were bo...there were bombings. The Allies were bombing. And every time there was like, a bombs, we would go in a ditch. And she would put us under her, like my brother on one side and me on the other and she would lay on us. And then we would say Shma Yisrael, pray. And when it cleared, we continued to walk. I think it took us two days or three days, I don't know how long, to get to Bratislava. And in Bratislava, by then they already had these, uh, the Jewish agency, the Joint established these soup kitchens and different, distribution agency was giving out food to the survivors. And one day we stood in line for food. And it, they did not open yet and there was a woman there saying, "I wish they opened already because I have to get back to Stomfa tonight." Stomfa apparently was a suburb of Bratislava. So my mother said to her, "You are from Stomfa, maybe you know the Stern family." And she says, "Yes, of course I know the Stern family, they just came back the other day from the bunker, shelter." They were hiding. So my mother asked her, "Would you be so kind to take a little, uh, note to them?" So they took out a, a little newspaper and a pencil and she wrote there, um, "I, this, this is Lily Engel, that's Goldberg, nee Goldberger. I'm here with my two children. I need nothing. Only somebody who will recognize me, who knew me before." Anyway, the Stern family, when Czechoslovakia was taken over by the Germans, um, since Bratislava is so close, uh, the Jewish families sent up their youngsters to, to Hungary, to Budapest and the Jewish families of Budapest hired them so they would not be, uh, deported. So my mother hired a young girl from the Stern family, Ilonka was her name, uh, to be a mother's helper.

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