Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983

German Annexation

And you lived, what kind of life? Was it fairly normal life for two years?

Fairly normal.

You weren't in hiding or anything?

You didn't feel any anti-Semitism in Budapest at the time. Not until March 1944.

Tell me what happened in March.

Well, the German armies marched in and started to round up uh, the Jews. And take them to, the Jews to concentration camp. Travel was restricted, Jews were not allowed to travel. Um, the yellow star was introduced.

Did you wear one?

Never. Never.

How did you avoid... ?

When they came in, I right away acquired false IDs.

How did you get the false papers?

Through connections, friends.

So, you were living as a non-Jew in Budapest?

Yes, starting 1944, as soon as the German armies marched in, I was living with false papers but I had the same job. And um, my bosses knew that I had false IDs but they were liberal people.

How did you get caught then?

There was a raid on the building one night, and um, the um, residents were screened, had to produce IDs. I did produce my IDs and then they ordered me to pull my pants off. That's how I was caught.

They were checking men for circumcision?

Yes. You see in uh, Europe, in central Europe, it, it was not a custom to circumcise non-Jewish, not like in the United States. Circumcision was limited only to uh, Jews.

But what happened when they discovered then that you were Jewish?

I was taken to a camp, a temporary camp, and one morning we were all taken to a suburban railroad station, and from that railroad station we were deported to Auschwitz.

Before, had you heard of Wallenberg, at the time?

Yes, I did. At that time, no. No, no, I heard of Wallenberg, of course, I had read about Wallenberg, yes. But at that time, I think he came to Budapest in June. By that time uh, uh, all the Jews from the rural areas were deported.

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