Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Ghetto in Kisvarda

What was, what was the beginning of the turn? Did you notice serious changes? Was it when they instituted the ghetto? Was there a ghetto in Baktalórántháza?

No. The ghetto was in Kisvarda. Kisvarda had the central ghetto where the surrounding were little towns, were placed into that ghetto. There were several ghettos in Nyiregyhaza and, there quite a few of them. In the Kisvarda ghetto was approximately seven to 7500 people.

How did you find out that you were to be moved to a ghetto?

Oh, it came through, it was brought down an order through the, um, through the authorities.

From Hungarian, this is, now, the Germans had already occupied, is that correct?

Yes, Germans occupied Hungary in March, 19th of March, '44.

And did they come to your town at that point? No, not too many. There may--we may have seen some, some, movements. But as far as military, there was no military occupation of this little town. It was too small. But, there were movements going through and there may have been one or two soldiers in various capacities placed into the town.

So the rest was carried out by what, gendarmes? Hungarian gendarmes?

Yes, yes, Hungarian gendarmes.

What, what. Your father was gone already?

Yes. He wasn't with us.

What did you and your mother think? How did you feel when you heard the Germans had come, had marched into Hungary?

Well, it certainly wasn't a happy day. And, we couldn't comprehend that what is going to be or how swiftly things are going to transpire. But, quite speedily things have taken place. Uh, first thing what it came that you had to, there was an order given that everybody has to wear the yellow stars, you know. This was the number one order. And between March nineteenth and, uh, April, in between four weeks, the order came down that all Jews from various towns surrounded Kisvarda would have to report to the authorities in Baktalórántháza and we'll be taken by horse and buggy, wagon to Kisvarda. And it was given what we can take with us. Everything else, had to be left behind.

Did the order come through Jewish authorities?

Um, the order came from the regular authorities but there was always one contact person, you know, who was named.

Do you remember who that was?

I don't remember.

Then what happened? What did you do? What happened in your household?

Well, certainly it was very somber and days became more, more and more gray because just, it, it, it became an unknown, unknown future what is going to be. But, nevertheless, we kept going with our daily chores. Stopped doing, as far as making a living, we didn't do, we didn't continue with that one, because we knew that sooner or later the exact date wasn't given the first day, but we knew that it will be in the next several weeks that we will all have to leave. And, uh, we put our house in order as best as you can and we reported to the authorities. And sure enough, sometimes around, uh, mid, mid-April we were transported into the ghetto.

By wagon?

By wagon, yeah.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn