Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982


From your transport?

...from my transport. You know, the ones who were left over in the end, they were shot. And then I heard that some of them they took to a ship and they put them into the ship and they locked them up and they let the ship go and they got and, and they got killed, they had--so I really don't know what the real story was with them, but that's what I heard. Some of them got shot, a few of them, they took and they shot them. That's when we heard shots and some...and somehow a soldiers came from a company that they, you know, they were doctors and, and uh, nurses and they took us in there and we were put and they accepted us as Hungarian nurses and we slept through the night there and that time, there was a train full of ammunition not far from that place and we could hear. You know, they were bomb, bombadiering that uh, that certain plane and we could hear the noise. It was just terrible. We were hiding because we were afraid that, you know, that something is going to happen. Then, afterwards, that company went to Denmark and they took us to Denmark. That's how we went to Denmark. And in Denmark, we were, we were washing the clothes for them, we were cooking for them and I remember May the fifth, Danish people came--officers and they took away the guns from them and everything and then we went to buy food for them and the people were just spitting on us and we didn't have the courage to go--and then somehow we got side-scraped, you know and we didn't have the courage to go out and to ask maybe the little synagogue, because we thought that the same thing like it was in our town, you know, to go to authority or something, because there we could have been already, you know, free. So we were still there and then they came back, we came back with them to Germany. They going to Lübeck. They came down to Lübeck. That's when we told the authority that we are Jewish. The three doctors, they told we are Jewish. One of them said, "I knew that you are Jewish. I knew that you are not Hungarian." And uh, that's where we met Emma Macha.


Again. We met Emma Macha in Emma--we went--we were and Eng...English um, uh, soldiers there. They, they took care of the camp and we went to the English authority and they were reporting Emma Macha and somehow Macha found out and she went away. They never captured her. I was there in the camp, oh there was transport which went to Prague to went home. I didn't want to go home. It was already September the eighth, can you imagine. We went--I went mostly, I went from one camp to the other, because there were--you um, know people went from one camp to the other, wrote down names to find out if somebody's alive. I always felt that my child's with my mother and my mother saved my child and we went from one camp to the other to see if some--I wrote my name, you know and I'm hearing that they don't call in my name; Schunfeld, Chari--they don't call Firestein...and I didn't see nobody's name. I came always away--and we walked from one place to the other, from one, you know, little town and I came home at night disgusted--nobody, nobody. There was, there was a transport Führer and he said to me, "Now you know, there is going to be one more transport home, why don't you go home already. Go home." I said, "No, no home. Where shall I go home. Nobody's alive." I knew that my brother and my mother, my father, my--I says I'm not going--I, I, if somebody would be alive, I'm sure I would find them in these camps, because I went in the camp and I asked, "Did you see Martin? Did you see Ilonka? Did you see..." Nobody saw them, so I came home. By the time I came home, I was so depressed and disgusted, I went straight to bed. Next morning again and there was already the last transport. The transport Führer came in, he was, you know, he took care of the people. He came in, he said to me, "Chari, you better go home, you know, because there isn't going to be any way to go home." Now, before the next transport uh, went and he insisted that we go and there was a woman who lives in Teplice Sanov. That was Slovakia. He said to me, "Chari, you should"--it was nighttime, early in the morning the bus went. "Chari, are you sure you don't want to--come with me, because somehow, she went with me to quite a few places, you know, to look for the names. I said, "No." He said, "You know Chari what?" There was a piece of paper, a little piece like bird paper. He says, "Here's a pencil. Write a couple of lines. Maybe I find somebody." I said, "I'm not writing anything." "I want you to write." So I sit down and I write. I wrote--I remember I wrote, here I am, I will go back with my sister Ilonka, I hope everybody's waiting for me at home. If somebody's alive, please let me know. There is the last transport, I can make it. Please let me know. I am waiting for somebody if somebody is still alive. If not, I'm not going to go back. So, I didn't--a week later, or ten days later, he came in and he said to me, "Chari. Remember this is the camp, this is the last transport, because there were just only a few people. That is the last transport. If you're not going home, you must, you gonna be on your own. Go home. Maybe you'll find somebody." Because I always, I'm not going to find anybody. I'm not going to find anybody. If my husband would be alive, I'm sure he would find me. So, that woman went home and she went to Teplice Sanov, to the same cit...city that my brothers were living. Whenever--they knew when a bus was coming in, a transport was coming in. So we, they went to the bus and when they came down from the bus, they said, "Did you see somebody? Schunfeld, Chari or Ilonka? Did you see them," and that woman said to him, "no," she said, "Is there somebody related to that's related to Schunfeld, Chari or Ilonka?" and we said, "Yeah, is she here?" She said, "No, but I have a letter from her." And as she took out the piece of paper and he saw my handwriting, he fainted right then. They wanted to come to Lübeck and my uncle was alive, living with them together in Teplice Sanov. The next morning, my husband was in Prague. He was a, he was a soldier in, in Russia. They ask who wants to come into the military. So my husband was a soldier anyway before the war, so he uh, and my brother was a soldier, so he went in. How you call that? He was [pause] volunteer soldier. Anyway, he got into Prague and he showed my husband the letter that I write and he wanted to ask for a, for a couple days, they should give him a couple days. He should be able to come to Germany to pick us up, but he couldn't get those days and there was already the last transport, and I came home and I came on the last transport.

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