Eli Stahl

* 1934

  • “Yom Kippur is the most sacred day of the Jewish faith. The Slovaks, however, made a fould trick on us, they posed as nice, polite and they gave Jews a single house to turn into a synagogue. And the Jews were given a day off. My mum was not given a day off, as they needed her. She had a lot of work, worked from six to six. I had a flu, high temperature, I almost lay unconscious, 39 to 40°. Someone gave me a dirty pill of aspirin. After the pill I somehow regained my consciousness and heard terrible screaming, weeping and similar things. On this Yom Kippur, September 22, 1942, they took people directly from the synagogue, put them in cars and trains… and drove them to gas chambers.”

  • “The Slovaks realized the Germans were not like they imagined them to be and sometime after the defeat at Stalingrad they switched the guard for the police. This was something completely different, it is difficult to put in words. The police saw us as people, citizens. The guards had special buttons, rubber hammers, and when they hit someone, it swelled immediately. I was never once hit. The police behaved quite differently. The camp commander, the police offer, told us, ‘Go and take care.’ I still remember this.”

  • “I can’t remember this but Jozef Tiso was invited for my circumcision. My mother knew him quite well. I was a large boy and she such as small woman. I weighed four kilos when I was born. My mother met him and he knew her as the notary’s daughter. When the hard times came and Jews were prosecuted, my grandfather, the father of my mother, wrote him a letter, saying, ‘You are now in a significant position. I beseech you, if you can, please do something for us Jews to live better.’ To this he received a reply, it was written in Tiso’s hand, not by a secretary. My grandfather could tell Tiso’s handwriting. ‘My dear Maxim,’ my grandfather’s name, ‘I can do nothing to help you’. I no longer have the letter, my mother’s brother, who was with the partisans, gave it to Antonín Rašl. He was a good friend of his, he served with him among the soldiers who looked for guard members and fascists. This letter was one of the proofs at Jozef Tiso’s trial.”

  • „There were several forced-labor camps, two big ones in Nováky and one in Sereď. It was a concentration/forced-labor camp. The aim of the game was staying in the camp and not being deported to Poland. We didn’t know what was happening in Poland but we somehow felt it was worse. My mother worked twelve hours a day, she was sewing caps. A girlfriend of her told her it would be better if she said she could sow. My mother came from a well-to-do family, they were quite wealthy, until then she was a madam, she didn’t even know how a needle looks like, she didn’t have to know. So her friend showed her how to sow caps and she was sewing caps for the German army.” “Up to 1943 were the transports, that was the Hlinka guard. Then the police took it over, it was better. The guards were terrible, they did what they wanted. If you had liquor you could buy them but those who didn’t have the money for liquor… They exploited young women and so on… After 1943 the police took over the administration of the camp and the commander of the camp became a certain Švitler, who was a decent man. After the war, they wanted to try him for collaboration, the Jews from the camp, however, stood behind him and pledged that he treated them well. He just did his job and executed his orders. The camp was closed, nobody would get away, but he wouldn’t allow that anyone gets beaten unnecessarily.”

  • „In the beginning of 1946 I joined the ranks of the Zionist youth Hašomer Ha-tsair and in February 1949 I went to Israel. I was barely fifteen at that time, in fact only fourteen years and six months. We learned Hebrew, history and the Bible, which is the foundation of modern Jewish history, I mean the modern perception of history. In 1952 I enrolled in the army and I served for two and a half years. In 1955 I got married. My wife was in the same educational group, she also served with me in the army. Interviewer: Was she also from Slovakia? Answer: No, she was from France, she was born in Paris. We had three children, three sons, one died in 1993. Two and a half years ago, my wife died in a car accident. It was a serious accident with three dead and my wife was one of them.”

  • „Bánovce bylo místo známé jako hnízdo fašistů. Otec měl autodopravu. V roce 1938 měl devět motorových vozidel, čtyři nákladní auta a čtyři taxíky a jeden vůz pro rodinné potřeby. Můj dědeček byl v Bánovcích městským notářem, my jsme byli v Bánovcích známá rodina. V roce 1942 byl můj otec transportován do Lublinu, do Polska, tam žil několik měsíců. Byl v Brně vyučený jako automechanik, byl velmi šikovný. (...) Němci ho tam využívali a pracoval ve vojenské garáži. V listopadu 1943 tam byla vzpoura vězňů a tam byl zavražděný. S matkou jsem byl od května 1942 až do Slovenského národního povstání vězněný v koncentračním a pracovním táboře v Novákách. Otevřely se brány tábora a my jsme šli do Banské Bystrice a pak jsme byli s partyzány v horách.“

  • „I was in Bánovce and it was hard for me. It was hard to see it, it was hard to tell the children and my wife – here lived one uncle, here one grandfather, there another grandfather and so on. These were all families… Only two brothers from my father’s side were unmarried. All the others had families, children. Speaking about all of this… All these images, they keep coming back. Even now I have no interest in going back to Bánovce. I don’t want my blood pressure to go up. I’ve got nothing to do there.”

  • „Poselství? Já jsem ateista. Absolutní ateista. Co bych řekl budoucím generacím? Když jsem byl mladý, tak jsem si myslel, že změním svět. A dnes jsem přišel na to, že svět se nedá takhle změnit. Přinejmenším by to trvalo dlouhé roky. Písničky od Voskovce a Wericha – Změníme svět... Byla určitá víra, že svět se dá změnit, ale není to pravda. Nedá se změnit. Peníze hrály, hrají a budou hrát tu hlavní úlohu. Buď je máte, nebo je nemáte. (Byl jste zklamán, že myšlenka kibucu se neprosadila?) Nejen myšlenka kibucu, ale všeobecně svět. Byl jsem zklamaný? Ano i ne. Co jsem se naučil za mých sedmdesát let? Tohle jsem se naučil.“

  • Full recordings
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    Kfar Masaryk, Izrael, 27.02.2008

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  • 2

    Kfar Masaryk, 11.09.2016

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  • 3

    Kfar Masaryk, Izrael, 25.11.2017

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  • 4

    Tel Aviv, Izrael, 25.11.2017

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Přežil jsem, protože jsme byli málopočetná rodina, ti, kterých bylo víc, šli do Polska

Igor (Eli) Stahl. Bratislava 1948.
Igor (Eli) Stahl. Bratislava 1948.
photo: Archiv pamětníka - dodala Jitka Radkovičová

Igor Eli Stahl se narodil v roce 1934 na Slovensku v Bánovcích nad Bebravou. Jeho otec měl dopravní firmu a patřil k velmi známé a vážené židovské rodině v Bánovcích. Za Slovenského státu, v roce 1942, byl s matkou umístěn do pracovního tábora v Novákách, kde byl až do počátku národního povstání na Slovensku. Jeho otec byl transportován do ghetta v Lublinu, kde zahynul. Poslední válečnou zimu se museli s matkou skrývat s partyzány v horách nedaleko Donoval. Po roce 1945 byl majetek zavražděných příbuzných přepsán na pamětníkovo jméno, a tak se stal až do února 1948 jedním z nejbohatších lidí v Bánovcích. V únoru 1949 odešel do Izraele a od padesátých let žije v kibucu Kfar Masaryk. V izraelsko-arabských válkách sloužil jako tankista-mechanik. Má dva syny, manželka se mu před třemi lety zabila při autonehodě.