Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Edith Roth - March 28, 1982

Life in Uzghorod Ghetto

All right, do you remember when the Germans came? Do you remember when that happened?

Oh yeah, it was a black day.

Do you remember the day?

Yeah, it was, it was horrible, they were marching with their-and blocked out the streets, separated the streets, they blocked the streets.

There's a ghetto, you said?

We had a ghetto in Uzhgorod, it was here.

Did they put a wall around the ghetto?

Yeah, big wall around the ghetto, and they marched the whole town and the small towns around, okay, all--they all came to this place.

All the Jews from the small towns came to this?

Also by trains they were arriving and um, I remember father um, going out at night trying to get food and risking his life going to town and he always somehow managed to do that.

You mean he went outside the ghetto?

Outside the ghetto, to get food and um, the rich and the poor, they were all huddled together over there.

And you were, uh...

Four weeks we stayed there.

In the ghetto?


Do you remember what month it was?

Sure, I remember. Um...

Spring, summer?



I remember very much because it was warm, very warm.

Now um, did you have to wear armbands? Do you remember the armbands? With the Magen David?

With the Magen David, yeah, they did this to us in the camp with the Magen David.

In the camp? But in the ghetto, not in the ghetto?

Yeah, in the ghetto, yeah, they put the Magen David on in the ghetto. But in, in Auschwitz, they, uh...

They, they gave the tattoo? Uh...

That's another thing.

Well we'll come to that. Well how did you feel about wearing the armbands, just, did anybody say why you had to do that? [pause] Or did they say do it, you did it, was that how it was?

Personally, me, I was always doing something else what they told me to do, so I reme...don't remember doing it. I don't remember even having one because my sister always thought they going to kill me because I didn't want to do what they told me to do.

Did your father say anything about it?

My, my, my-no.

Now when you, when you rationed, the food was rationed?

No, not so, people still brought their own food in when they allowed that. When they took us, when they, they closed the street, okay, the whole street and everybody had to move out from their houses, and that rabbi was one of them, with us.

The rabbi across the street from you?


Did you have to leave your house too?

Yeah. The rabbi, not one rabbi but two or three rabbis who, who walked out of their house with their tallits on, on their heads.

And they moved you to another house?

And father, that's when father was just, he was just raving, saying to the rabbi--the rabbi said that God will help us.

Oh that's when your father wanted to, wanted to shoot you? Rather than...

Yeah, in the house and the rabbi run into the house and the rabbi said that "the Jew doesn't kill," and father said that um, "what do you think rabbi, they are taking us." Father was the only man in the block or anywhere, I think, because he was um, he said, he says "I know they are taking us to be killed because the Germans don't have food for their own people, how would they feed all of you?" Father said to him, and that was ???.

Had you ever heard of Auschwitz before?

No. Didn't even know what it was.

What kinds of stories did you hear about Poland?

Let me-father knew.

He did know?


So, you, you moved to another house. How, how many people were there now in the...?

What other house?

In the ghetto?

There was no house in the ghetto.

Where did they move you to?

It was, it was like a barrack, barracks, okay, there was no house for nobody, we slept on a wooden thing, unless you had your own blanket to stay put on a towel, everybody slept together. It was a barrack.

This is still in Uzhgorod?

Yeah, this is still in Uzhgorod. For four weeks we were there until one morning, you know, they, the train was not too far away and uh, they lined us up to go to the train to Auschwitz.

What did they tell you when they lined you up?

Nothing because-you know, sometimes I wonder because um, they had all their guns on their shoulders and here the Jews, the women and the children and the men had nothing. Nobody fought back.

What condition were people in? Were they starving already then? Disease...

They were, they were already tired, they were already sick. My girlfriend's mother died there.

Of, of disease of some sort?

Yeah, she needed a doctor. She died so young, she has two children she left. She died right there and they had to take her out to be buried right there.

Who, who took her out to be buried?

The ???.

But it's Jews who buried her?


Was it typhus you think?

They had sickness already and uh, everybody in the masses already lived there-the women were cooking on a you know on a little and made fire, between two or three, uh pieces of wood to put together and they were already cooking there.

What about um, sanitary conditions? Were there, were there toilets there?

No, they had outhouses, I mean yeah, they had outhouses.

Men and women together or was it separate?

I don't think I remember, I remember sitting with my boyfriend. I had a, I mean a friend from school and uh, we were sitting there and discussing what just you know, like the end is coming, okay.

In the outhouse?

No, outside.



Was there running water? Did you have fresh water to wash?

To wash, I think there was a outside, outside you could put your feet down and the water was coming down just kind of...

I see. Like a, like a gardening hose.

Yeah, yeah.

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