Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Petrinetz - October 25, 1982


When they took--was there a name for this place? That they took...

Well they called it Teglagyar. We were making bricks there. It was a brick factory.

Can you spell that?

In Hungarian?



And did they start shipping people out almost immediately after you went there?

I don't recall it exactly whether they start--I, I suppose they did, and, and meanwhile they were shipping and still bringing people in. Because they, they were, they were... I, I don't remember exactly how it was on the other end of the town. How, whether they took us by trucks or we walked. I don't remember that. That I don't remember.

And under whose supervision were you when you were at this place?

Hungarian. All the Hungarians did all this.

Any Germans?

There were the Hungarians--no, no, the Germans did not do the dirty work then. Only when we arrived to Auschwitz did we see the first Germans.

So no Germans actually took you out of your own house? It was the Hungarians...

It was a Hungarian, Hungarian uh, Csendor it was called. Uh, it was a uh, they were like I should say over here a sheriff... country, country uh, not police but, uh...


Constable. Yeah, constables. They were constable, exactly. They had uniforms; they had hats with feathers on it. And they were the meanest, meanest uh, I don't know, I can't even call 'em people. They were mean. They were...

Do you remember any incidents that...

Well I said before as we were walking to the train one pushed my mother for no reason at all. We were walking with one bundle on our back. I don't even know, we didn't know why we were carrying it because when we got to Auschwitz, the Germans took everything anyway.

You remember the names of any Hungarian, uh...


Leaders or any...

No. No. No.

That were involved in this?

No. No. The whole Hungarian government.

What was it like on the uh, cattle train?

Terrible. We were packed in like sardines. There were little, little, tiny windows on each side. Men, women, children, sick, old. No latrine. They didn't stop to let us out.

You were in there for five days without...

Five days. Five days without ever letting us out to, to stretch your feet or take a breath of air or anything.

How did you eat?

Whatever we had with us. Whatever we took along. What we had left.

Your Aunt Frida was still with you at that time?

She must have been in a different--no. I--Aunt Frida... I don't remember exactly how or when, but she was hiding with her family somewhere. I believe in Budapest, Hungary. Her husband and one of her sons. Her older son left in 1938 to England. After the Hungarians came in. He's the only survivor, somewhere in South America, from my aunt's family. There were close to four of 'em.

Who was the old aunt that was with you?

The old aunt who lived with us...

What was her name?

We really just called her "Auntie." I don't remember; I was very young. But she lived with us; she had no one. She was my grandmother's sister. I used to do all kind of things for her. Drive for her, do chores for her. Her back was aching, she, she asked me to rub it for her. Also from my mother's side, my grandmother was old and sick. She died in the hospital and they came in to this camp to tell us that my grandmother died, and they gave us permission with the, with that Hungarian, what do you call him?


Constable. The constable took us out to the cemetery and we buried her with the constable standing with a gun on his shoulder.

That was while you were at the...

That was...while we were at the gathering camp.

Before you were shipped to...

Before we were shipped. Lucky she die yet in a bed, in a hospital.

This old, this...


This old aunt...


Or who you called an aunt...

She was shipped with us in the, in the

In the--

Cattle wagon. And I never saw her again after we arrived to, to Auschwitz.

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