Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zwi Steiger - March 27, 1982

Learning Fate of Family

When you were in Velký Berezný afterwards--you went back and did you try and find out exactly what happened to your family?

I knew that they were taken to, to, uh...

To Ungvar.

...to Ungvar.

From the notes from your mother.

Yeah. And people telling me they were taken to the ghetto in Ungvar. And from there I knew they were taken to, to Poland. I didn't know what happened to them because this was in December of '44--towards the end of December and not many people who, who were transported to Auschwitz were liberated at this point. And what happened, what--actually what happened uh, the extermination part of it, you could--you found out only around April of '45.

By people coming back?

Coming back, you know from, from somebody who survived concentration camps in, in eastern uh, in eastern, you know, in Poland and in Germany, in Austria, you know that came to Auschwitz and eventually you were dispersed to concentration camps. They started coming back around April, May after the war and that--that's when you realized that--you realized what was the whole uh, what was the--what you lost--the extent of it. Because, the extent of it I don't think anybody had an idea that uh, something like this can happen--that something like this--like uh, the Germans could do such a thing. And you, you encountered viciousness, you know, and uh, degrading by the Hungarian uh, soldiers. Or you knew that uh, people who were uh, clearing minefields get killed from explosion and from crossfire. But uh, the extent of the, of uh, the extermination--the intended extermination, that uh, factory like uh, management, I don't think anybody had an idea in, in Hungary or, or people who were living in camps where uh, they were isolated from, from news or, uh...

In labor camps.

In labor camps, yeah. You, you couldn't get a local paper--I mean the fascist paper.

Wasn't contained that information.

Not only--but you could read from there. Sometimes you grabbed some piece of paper it was thrown out by somebody, by a Hungarian or by the Hungarian uh, soldier. You tried to grab that because you could get an idea what's happening on the front, wherever you're standing and uh, but uh, they were trying to, to block out any news. There were no radios that you could listen to.

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