Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Waiting for Deportation to Auschwitz

How long were you kept there?

Uh, two days. Two days.

How many people do you think were there?

Two days. I don't know, the uh, I guess about three hundred ten, fifty families all total. And uh, then the afternoon of the next day, we were uh, marched down to the railroad station where there was a train waiting for us, a uh, cattle train, and uh, they took us into a neighboring city about thirty kilometers away and uh, that's where we were let go, they told us we cannot leave town, we have to find our own quarters, where to live and uh, ultimately they told us within about two weeks they would concentrate us into a, the Jewish area of that Jewish quarter of that city and they'll enclose us with barbed wire--they told us openly what's going to happen to us and then we will await further orders. And that's exactly what happened.

It was from there that you were deported to Auschwitz?

We were deported from there to Auschwitz in a similar manner. Uh, they uh, had four transports from that ghetto. Uh, we were in the third transport. There were two transports that left before us. Uh, the streets were uh, first there was a voluntary subscriptions to transports, they uh, through the intermediary of the Judenrat, the uh, council, the Jewish Council, the uh, the gendarme came into, into the ghetto and they told us we need so many families, I think it was about 400 families, for a train uh, the first transport is going to leave on such and such date, we need volunteers whichever way you want to do it, you are responsible for getting us those families into the synagogue and we will take them. There were some volunteers, others were by means of some kind of lottery and they were drawn out of a hat and they went. There were some families who uh, through connections uh, were able to get out of it. Um, in any case, we knew that ultimately everybody would have to go.

Let me ask you a question first of all. At this point um, your parents were with you?


Your older brother had, had gone to Budapest?

My older brother uh, who incidentally lived in Budapest but he was called up to the army. He was called up to the labor force of the army. Uh, he came home on the first day of Passover, on yom tov and my father didn't tell him uh, didn't admonish him for it at all. Uh, he came home and he stayed with us. He came to the ghetto with us. In the, the ghetto, the uh, council of our region got together and decided that uh, in consultation with the boys--there were several boys of his age who were called up similarly--uh, in consultation with them, they decided that, yes, they would go to the labor force because we don't want to have everybody in, caught in the same fate, whatever is going to be. Uh, so, he left about three weeks before they deported us. He, he went into the labor force.

We'll come back to talk about your brother in Budapest. Your father at this point, had he shaved his beard?

They made him shave his beard, everybody had--an order came out at one point that everybody has to shave his beard. And uh, I don't remember exactly, you know, what, how many days before deportation it was but it was very close to deportation. And he shaved his beard and, uh...

What effect did that have on you?

It was a--I didn't know how to cope with that. I uh, at one point told my father that, "You look very funny." And my father told me uh, that was not a very respectful remark and that haunted me, that incident haunted me for a long time afterwards. Uh, it was very unusual, I never saw my father shaved. I always saw him with his beard. He had a nice trimmed beard and uh, when he shaved his beard, he didn't look very pleasant. He had deep uh, lines on his face, he was a very worried man, and I didn't like what I saw. Uh, neither did I like, I guess uh, other uh, people who shaved their beard but my father was closest to me. Uh...

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