Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bernard & Emery Klein - May 23, 1984


B: No, I said that shortly after that unfortunate incident, we were picked up and uh, we were taken to Male Dvorany, where that farm was, was between the two towns, Piestany and Nitra. We were taken to Nitra and thrown into a jail where they were collecting people from the surrounding areas as the leftover Jews, and we spend there, a few days. While we were there, there were two incidents that we recall. One was that one day, they picked up all the men, put us into a truck and took us out into a forest, gave us shovels, and they start, let us start to dig, a, quite a large hole.

E: You can well imagine what came to our mind immediately, because it was, what, a couple of months after the experience we had with our cousin. Go ahead.

What did you think, Emery?

E: I was fifteen at that time, and as I was digging this hole, I remember it was raining, and SS men who were supervising this great affair took our jackets to put on their heads to protect themselves before the rain, but rain was the least of our concern. I remember things went through my mind, being a fifteen-year-old kid, and knowing that I will die in the next few minutes, it just went through my short history of life and was convinced that this probably last hour of my life, and so on, as it turned out, when we were finishing up, one of the SS men made the statement, "This is not for you," which we didn't believe, but to our surprise, they loaded us back into the trucks and back to the jail cell, and from there, we were next day taken on to Nitra, correct?

Bernie, do you remember what went through your mind when you were in the middle of that?

B: Basically the same thing. We, we were, I remember, shaking in our boots while we were digging and uh, knowing that, we were absolutely and definitely convinced that when the hole is deep enough, we will just be lined up and shot right into, in there.

Did you think about running?

E: What this is done for, really, is just strictly to, to demoralize us and to scare us, because there was no purpose for the hole as it turned out. B: Well, we don't know, of course. They may have had some, uh...

E: Prepared others. B: Either for some others, or perhaps they had some uh, other political prisoners that they were trying to execute, or possibly some soldiers. We don't know.

Did you think about running away?

B: There was no place to run.

E: There was no way. It was impossible. B: First off, it was an unknown territory to us. It was in...

E: But we were surrounded continuously. B: Yeah, we had as many SS guards on us as people who were digging. There wasn't a big group, there may have between about 20 people, all 20 men possibly.

E: Maybe 30, maximum. B: If you consider Emery and me men at the age of 14 and 15. A...then that's what include maybe total we were 20.

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