Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zwi Steiger - March 27, 1982

Going Back Home

How do I remember the date? That's an amazing because I--for some reason I had an affinity to remember dates in history. When I studied history--central Europe--I could remember any date. When somebody was crowned or when he was, when he was killed or poisoned. I, I--and I remember the date, the date that I uh, escaped. It was uh, it was on September and it was uh, it was Rosh Hashanah. It was maybe--no, I'm sorry it was I think September 25th or 26th of 1944.

It could have been Rosh Hashanah.

And I think it was Yom Kippur. I--when I go to this Sephardic shul on Rosh Hashanah and then I look up, they have the calendars. I'll look it up when it was. But it was October the 16th. How do I remember? Because on the October the 13th I was caught by those, uh...

By the Germans.

Germans--the two Germans. And October the 13th was on a Friday. And the 13th on a Friday, you're supposed to be--I was--we weren't lucky that uh, they caught us, but we were lucky that...

Somebody else didn't catch you.

Yeah, that, that we escaped them at the same time, because they, they let us go. So this is um, this is now October the--'44. And that was towards the end of the war if you remember. I tried to enlist uh, I, from there we walked and uh, we had some encounters with some, still shootings and, uh...

What kind of encounters?

You know, from--it was a, a forest area. And occasion you could hear some gunfire and hear some whistles of uh, of bullets. If somebody saw us passing, it was--some were hiding--they fired. But eventually we made our way to, to Cluj--to Klausenberg one of the towns in, in Transylvania. And from there I made my way to Bucharest to the--and I was looking up there the Czech consulate was established there and was trying to get into the Czech army. And was so cumbersome that uh, eventually gave up.

Were you alone at this time?

I was alone. I was alone at that time. Then I made my way from there back to our hometown, to Berezný, because Berezný was uh, Velký Berezný was liberated uh, it was the end of October or November.

Of '44?

Forty-four, yeah. I remember I was in Cluj at that time and reading the local paper it was published, and I saw that uh, our hometown was liberated.

Well, what was the status of Cluj at that time?

Cluj was under, under Russian occupation.

So it was already liberated.

It was liberated. And I went home in, in December. And...

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