Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994

Labor Battalions

Did you, did you know any other J...Jews who were taken into slave labor from 1939?

Nobody, yeah, well, the men, yes. From 19...actually 1941 and '42 they were taken. They were, oh yeah. Boyfriend and uh, uh, a lot--I mean, all the, all the young men, all the young men were taken. I mean, they were very, very few who survived it. But, but they were all taken. And there was an age, I think over twenty-one? I'm not sure. No, probably eighteen up.

How were they taken?

They were called in. First they were uh, in the army. They were called into the army, like my husband--who wasn't my husband at the time--was called into the army and he was, from the army, after serving in the army for a year, they changed, changed it over to slave labor camp. They took all the Jews out and they uh, they established a slave labor camp, which was first a work camp where they attached them next to the regular armies to do all the dirty work, without uh, uniforms, without weapons. With a yellow star and a yellow armband.

W...was this organized by the Judenrat, the Jewish Council?

No, no. This was, this was uh, as I say this was actually uh, they all started as--no, this was organized by the country, by the leaders of, of the army. Army...

Horthy government.

The government, through the government, yes.

What did people think about Admiral Horthy?

We had for awhile thought that maybe he wasn't so bad and he couldn't help it. One of his sons tried to help and he was shot down in an airplane within days after the Germans uh, occupied Hun...Budapest, Hungary. Uh, we just read recently a book about him and throughout the book, interestingly enough, he, he sounded like he was really sympathetic and he hated the Germans and was called into Germany and uh, was facing Hitler and, and did not want to cooperate--this is how the book sounded. On the very end is a summary of what happened in his, in his words. And he talks about what happened and not with one word mentions that he dragged all the, all the uh, guilt of having all these Jews killed. Not a word. So that point we knew that the rest was just trying to make it sound nice. And he was right away brought back to Hungary and buried with honors, I think a year or two years ago, from Portugal where he died. He was brought back to Hungary and, and with big honors the whole government ??? and he was buried in Hungary.

That was after the Communists.


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