Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

The Beregszasz Ghetto

And when you arrived at Beregszasz you went straight to a ghetto?

Well, we, we, we, we went to a ah, ah brick factory. And they put us into barracks. Now we're there, it was Germans present already. We were under German guards...and Hungarian guards, and ah, there started already the, the, the real thing. We didn't have what to eat. Very little if you had any. In the kitchen ah, ah...they did cook something, it was not kosher, most of the people didn't eat any. And ah, we didn't know what's happening, we didn't know what's happening.

Where did you stay in the ghetto? Did you set up places for yourself?

Well there was a barrack there where there were, they dried this ah, ah, ah, brick. They made brick and they dried them in a barrack and that means that the walls were open because the bricks needed air. So the only thing we had is a roof over, over our head and the ground was ah, dirt, dirt ground. And that's where we put down whatever we had because right from home already they told us to take a ah, well it wasn't a suitcase, we didn't have, I didn't own a suitcase, ah, take a sheet and, and, and tie in it uh, whatever, your belongings, whatever, and that's with what we came to Beregszasz.

What did you take?

Well, ah, I, I, I didn't much really ah, ah, I had an extra suit and my, my mostly, my worldly possession was my tefillin. Because I was just Bar Mitzvahed a year ago and I ah, I think that was my most possession, what I hate I lost.

Ah, let me step back for a second. You, you were twenty years old at this point?

At this point, I was 18.

In 1944?


And you took tefillin?

Oh yeah.


Oh yeah.

What did you parents take?

Oh, they took, they took again tallit and tefillin and, and we davened in the barrack there, in the barrack there we davened and I never seen such a davening, what happened in the ghetto. In the ghetto, what happened ah, we were crying and everybody was crying. There were more crying than davening and there were a few people that really, who wasn't that religious before and they came to daven and I remember the Rabbi said that the ladies, by us in the religious community, when they get married they cut their hair off. And they wear a sheitel, a wig. And there were not many, my mother had her hair cut off ah, when she got married but there were few and the Rabbi said everybody, everybody did and we davened there and what happened there, going and its, it was like on a funeral. It was like on a funeral when you went. That's the way this ghetto looked all together.

What did you think or what did you or your family think was going to happen?

Well, the only thing, the only thing we knew, they gonna take us and we will have to work in a factory or whatever and those who will work will get to eat and we'll ah, survive ah, the war and so forth. That was our knowledge.

Was your grandmother with you?

Nah, my grandmother yes, my grandmother was with me, my grandmother was with me and she was in that, in that ah, ah, barrack, barrack 3, Beregszasz and she had a lot of pain already. A lot, a lot of pain, she was crying during the night and ah, she keep, kept awake people. But nobody said anything. Nobody said. They know her, they know her and she didn't know what's happening. And if I, when... I helped her on the cattle car, in Beregszasz to Auschwitz.

Before you tell be about that, how long were you in Beregszasz?

In Beregszasz we were six weeks.

So you slept on the ground...

For six weeks.

Six weeks?

Six weeks. Six weeks. Six weeks. Now I was with the last transport. There were four transports from Beregszasz. Some were there three weeks, I was with the last. I was there six weeks.

And what did you do for six weeks in Beregszasz?

For six weeks during the days there we didn't, there wasn't, now, I remember one day ah, we...they took us into Beregszasz to the Shul. And our job was to sort. They had already Jewish clothes there, everything. Our job was to sort the sizes. Men's suits in one bundle and this were from Jewish people and ah, shirts and everything had to be sorted according to sizes. And this is from the Jews from Beregszasz whom they took to the ghetto into Beregszasz.

This was daily work for you?

Well this didn't last but maybe two weeks. And after ah, after that some people went to the kitchen and ah, ah, but there wasn't much work done in the ghetto.

And you were still guarded by Hungarians?

By Hungarians, yes.

And the Germans, were they visible?

The Germans, the office was ran by Germans.

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