Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Rounded-up for Deportation

These people who were originally Polish citizens who had become Hungarian citizens now, when were Czechs and Hungarians deported? Can you tell me about just the process in your town, say how were you uh, sent away?

We were, we were deported. Of course, we were no longer Czechs, we were automatically became Hungarian citizens. Um, we were deported in spring of 1944, to be more exact, the day after Passover, the day after last day of Passover. Uh, it was a Saturday, the last day of Passover, and just about one-thirty, two o'clock in the afternoon uh, word was leaked out through one of the officers in the gendarme uh, that they got orders to round up the Jews and uh, get them into a neighboring city where we were going to be uh, housed in a ghetto. Ghettos are being formed all across Hungary and the Jews are to be extricated from their communities. Uh, at first, there was disbelief, but we recognized that it's a fact. I remember, I was out at one of my friend's house at a local tailor's house when uh, my friend came over. He told me he just heard from his parents somebody came over from another family and told them the story and that they are going over to meet uh, with a uh, neighbor uh, and other neighbors are coming over, the elders of the community are going to meet and talk things over and what to do. My parents went also to the meeting and uh, by about five-thirty in the evening, word was out that yes, it's going to uh, be done and that uh, everybody was asked to hide uh, dig uh, dig valuables into the ground and cover them, hide them, whichever way we can, give it to neighbors if we have neighbors that we think they are reliable uh, because we were hoping that ultimately the thing will blow over and War will end and if not, the whole family, some survivors will come back and we will want to uh, be able to come home to something. At that point, there was already facing up to reality. That night we were working in the dark, no light was, we could not put on any light. Uh, we went down to the uh, basement where there was a dirt floor, dug, dug holes in the basement and we hid um, silverware and uh, candlesticks uh, packed them in big milk cans, metal milk cans, and uh, other metal vessels uh, put 'em away in the ground. We picked up the wooden floor and dug down under the wooden floor and we put down these heavy uh, I think they call them uh, ship cases, that they uh, uh, they used to have those uh, hinged...


Trunks, right, we had uh, one of those wooden trunks with metal things, filled them with, with uh, linen and stuff like that and we put it under the floor. We dug in the garden, the flower garden, the flowerbeds, and we put away some valuables there. Uh, my mother and my sisters opened up seams in our suits and sewed up paper money, paper bills. Uh, we had some dollar bills, American dollar bills that we--every member of family was given a sum, sum of money and sewed up into the suits and we knew that's the suit we're going to take with us. Uh, we were at the uh, sort of on the edge of the town, our house was on the, on the end of town uh, there were about four or five other Jewish family who lived further out. The furthermost Jewish family was the local miller, the owner of the flourmill. Uh, we saw five o'clock--about five o'clock in the morning, we saw the gendarmes marching down in pairs, three or four groups were marching past our house and we knew they were on their way to pick up those families. We saw them marching the families past our windows. We expected them to come to our house, sure enough about four-thirty in the morning they knocked on our door, gave us the order, just the way we heard it uh, we were told the day before that we would not be able to take with us more than one bundle of a package, just as much as we can carry with us. And we were told that we were given, I don't remember, fifteen minutes or five minutes or, or half hour, I don't remember exactly the amount of time to pack up and go. That's exactly what happened. We were, of course, ready for them and they took us to the synagogue. Uh, they gathered all the Jewish families uh, to the synagogue uh, filled up the synagogue, then those who couldn't stay in the syna...there was no room for them, for them in the synagogue, the rabbi's house was a big house also adjacent to the synagogue, filled that house up with uh, families. They brought in Jewish families during the day and next day from neighboring villages.

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