Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - June 22, 1983

Moving into the Ghetto

How did you receive your orders then to leave your town?

Oh, it was by public order.

And, and how was that accomplished?

Um, we have to report to a certain point at a given morning and we were put into horse and wagons, and that fifteen mile stretch we went with that. First, we were given orders what to take along with us, but it was really nominal.

Can you remember what you did take?

Just some personal clothing, nothing else. And once we went into the ghetto itself, naturally, we were surrounded into an area--we were fenced into an area. And uh, we stayed there for approximately six, six to eight weeks.

Were you with your entire family at that point except for your dad?

Except for my father, yes.

Grandparents went with you?

Uh, yes.

What were the conditions like in the ghetto?

Uh, it was quite crowded. Food was rationed. And it was isolated incidents--at that point, we have not experienced per se, physical abuse one by one. There may have been, as I said, incidents. And uh, we were not informed very much what the outlook is but really we may look for--it was the usual story went on as uh, as it was said that you may go to a labor camp and are going to be with your family and nothing is going to happen to you; once the war is over you're gonna come back to your home. Now, it was through underground news that occasionally it make--it may have come by now there were different stories, but nothing what we were able to verify whether it was true or not. It seemed to be a sad situation and uh, again concerned was to uh, a great extent.

You were not longer, at this point, hearing from your father?

No, my father--we hadn't heard prior to that uh, approximately a year.

For your--for you, for your sister--what was your daily routine like in the ghetto?

In the ghetto I did some work. Um, some of the youngsters--at the time I was, I think between eighteen to nineteen--and we did have cleaning and uh, they may have sent us out to bring in supplies. You know, just a daily routine of no consequence whatsoever, but a majority of the people didn't really do anything other than just wait.

Were there any instances um, people tried to leave the ghetto?

Um, yes.

And how did the authorities deal with that?

Uh, if they were caught--certainly they dealt very harshly with it. And there weren't too, too many instances, I would say, that people have escaped, and due to the fact again, that was just no way--nowhere to go to. And if you did go out and if you were caught there was a great fear that if you are caught the Hungarians have not helped you. There may have been one here and there as any conditions and any instance that there is that--there's always a hero, there's always a good one. For every, for every good one there was always ninety-nine who were bad ones. There may have been very, very few who may have escaped. The only way would have been able to get up to Budapest, where they have disappeared among the great population and in the turmoil. That was the only thing that, at that point, they could do. As I say, I don't know of any who have disappeared from that ghetto.

While you were in the ghetto was the presence of the German greater than when you were in your small town or were you being guarded by Hungarians?

No, we were being guarded by Hungarians.

Can you...

But we did see occasionally Germans.

Can you describe the guards?

Yes. Um, the guards were uh, as, as any other guards. Uh, personally I had no experience with anything, at that point, that they may have done--say bodily harm--but would I wanted to leave or sneak out, I'm quite sure without any hesitation they would have shot me, if they caught me.

How long did you remain then in the Kisv&accute;rda ghetto?

Approximately between six to eight weeks.

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