Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Noemi Engel Ebenstein - July 22, 1996

The Stern Family

Who are the Sterns?

Just a Jewish family from Bratislava.

That your mother knew?

That my, yeah, I don't know how she found this girl, but she was like an 18 year old girl. And as long as we were in Budapest she took care of me. The only condition was that she was not allowed to speak German to me, you know, because in Bratislava, ah, all the Jews spoke German, Slovak and Hungarian. Anyway that was the connection. How much contact was, there was contact between the families because what happened later shows that. Anyway, so my mother gave this note and the next day a Russian jeep stopped at that line, again they were standing in line for food, um, and a woman came and said, "I am looking for a Mrs. Engel." So my mother identified herself. And so she looked at my mother and she said, "Riboyne shel o'lem," which is like, "Oh my God." My mother was, my mother is, was a very small woman, petite. But she was like all survivors looked. Anyway, it's a long story, she, my mother, my, she couldn't find my brother, she might, she did not want to go that day. In fact, my mother said to her, "Helga" this was Ilonka's sister, she says, "Helga, you are so religious, It's Shabbos" it's the Sabbath. She said, "We cannot worry now about the Sabbath, we have to save lives." They took us in, they fed us, they gave my mother medicine. By then my mother was very, very ill with dysentery. And I don't think she would have survived at that point without what, without this family. Uh, my mother said they gave her morphine. They did everything. They cleaned her, they washed her. They did everything. She traveled to Budapest and came back and told my mother that both her brothers were alive, living. And after awhile we went back there. Now this was in the summer of 1945. We did not know whether, what was going on with my father. And we got word from the Red Cross. I have a piece of paper from the newspaper how my father put an ad looking, and there were all these long ads, long lists of people, survivors looking for each other.

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