Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Conditions in the Ghetto

And when you got to Kisvarda...

Yeah, we were placed over there. The ghetto was designated, a certain designated area and, uh, life became like, it's very difficult to describe. It was, uh, it wasn't by any means, uh, pleasant. It started to get on a daily basis, uh, certain atrocities.

Like what?

Um, anybody who did not follow the rules and the regulation, whether it was forth given, there was already physical punishment. They took anyone who didn't, not considered as mentally stable, they were taken out, you know, they were separated, and, uh, each and every day new and new orders came up what you can do, what you may do, what you may not do, and sanitation became a little bit troublesome. We were told that soon we are going to be transported to a labor camp in Germany. That each and every person whose got certain trade is going to be placed in between their trade. And, uh, it was a totally unknown. You couldn't even think because you were talking to each other and it's like, it's like guessing what is. And, nobody had any fact. No one had any contact with people who previously had been taken to Germany. It was so secluded. It was so separated from, from, from reality that I can't, in retrospect, I can't surmise it. I can't imagine it today that how intelligent people, you know, could be so hog-washed, or, no. But, they did a job on us, and, uh, we were there for approximately six weeks.

In that six weeks did you witness any of these punishments when you were in Kisvarda?

Yes, yes, in the ghetto.

Did any of those stand out in your mind?

Yeah. They were, um, it was, it was beatings. It wasn't like that every single person was beaten. But for any reason. If someone may have gone out of the ghetto, out of the boundary, and if he was caught, he was beaten. Uh, some, as I said, some of the unstable people, you know, they were isolated and it was a horrible sight to see what they were doing with them. So, we tried to be cautious not to give reasons, you know, that we should be at odds with the authorities. And, uh, it was still under Hungarian supervision with the exception that there were several, maybe, uh, three, four, may have been a half of dozen, German soldiers who have been placed in between the ghetto. And, uh, with them, we didn't have direct contact, 'cause they had contact with the Hungarian authorities. The Hungarian authorities did have the designated certain people who were the so-called, uh, ghetto commanders, you know. It was from these were Jewish people, these were inhabitants of the ghetto. They were trying to stabilize it between the people and between the authorities whatever it may have transpired.

So, there was a Judenrat, a Jewish council in between?

Yes, it was, we called it a ghetto command...commanders.

What happened to the mentally retarded group?

I don't know in the end what happened with them. I don't know. But, I have, uh-uh, unfortunately, I can only guess, and I believe it's a pretty accurate guess, they have not been taken to Germany. So, it had to be that they were executed.

That they were shot?


Were you beaten ever in the ghetto?

Uh, not in the ghetto, no.

And how long were you in Kisvarda?

Oh, till, uh, June, June, uh, I think the first, uh, it was--I don't know by calendar the exact date I would have to look it up, guess, I could--we left, there were two transports taken out of Kisvarda ghetto. One transport, two. I was with transport two, but it left second day of Shavuot.

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