Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Stories of Mass Graves

Did you believe stories of mass graves?

Uh, the mass grave stories that we heard uh, were four or five people. We did not hear about uh, the mass graves that we know of today. Uh, certainly not the dimension of Babi Yar or anything like that. Uh, these were the mass graves that we heard and yes, we did believe it. Um, we believed it probably for, if I look back at it now, I, I believed it probably because we read stories about the pogroms, about the behavior of the Cossacks, the Russian people, the Ukrainian people, and the Polish people in previous persecutions. I read books on that, so we did believe that. What we did not want to believe was the behavior of uh, cultured people like the Germans and the Hungarians, that's what we didn't want to believe. Uh, getting back to this man, he was telling us how he had to bribe his way. Uh, he talked to other Jews who were on the uh, other side, who were wandering and hiding uh, picked up leads where he can find his parents. Uh, he succeeded in finding them. Not far from the border, he found his two parents and one sister. He also found the second sister, eventually they were separated, how I don't know really. Uh, he brought 'em all back across the border, bribed his way back across the border. He hid them in a town in the Carpathian Ukraine, which was now Hungary and then he came back home, talked to my parents uh, went into central Hungary, acquired papers for his parents and his two sisters and located them separately, I don't know exactly where they were 'til today. But they were not together. The uh, two sisters were separate from each other and the parents lived in another town. And he cared for them. He had some money. They were relatively well off and uh, they had relatives also, he took care of them. This man, incidentally, made it through the Holocaust, he came home and he was a very disturbed man, a very deep, emotional man. He did not want to get married. As much as we talked to him after the War, he gave no reason, he said, "I don't want to get married." In uh, 1947, he died, of heart failure. He uh, couldn't cope with all that he went through. He was one of the victims of, of uh, persecution who could never readjust to life anymore.

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