Marianne Bergida

* 1943  

  • "Sometimes I came home and asked, and I remember exactly whether Jews need to wash more often. I can still see his gaze. That's when he decided to go to Israel. That we will leave Košice to Israel, that we will not stay. He organized groups to emigrate to Israel in 1949 and we had to go with the last group. We also had a passport, but then it turned out differently. The Communists nationalized one synagogue after another, as far as I know correctly, there were five synagogues in Košice. There was one small synagogue and one large one on Zvonárská Street, and they also wanted to take it. Previously, they took the House of Art, where there are now concerts, it was a neological synagogue, and then one prayer hall, an orthodox, it was called 'stibl', near Zvonárská Street, they took it too. And they wanted to take the big synagogue on Zvonárská, and my father didn't want to allow it. He got into a dispute with the secretary of the Communist Party of Eastern Slovakia, Priesol. My father was very upset and he told him not to jump so that he could show him who was the master here. He was arrested in about a week. My father was on a business trip at the beginning of January 1950 and he was arrested on the street, so he didn't come home and I remember, I was just 7 years old in December, a lot of foreign guys came to the apartment. They took over all the cabinets, drawers, papers, counted the money, it was probably money from the factory. I remember being surprised it was a lot of money. They took from us everything that had any value - carpets, china, radio - everything they could. I remember I was in the yard and a gentleman came, he rang, I opened the door, and he took my father's motorcycle and left. And I know who it was, but I don't want to say it. I just wondered, I didn't understand it, it didn't even greet me, he walked beside me, took a motorcycle, did it of course. I think a secret man and his wife came to the apartment. We were only allowed to have one room, we were allowed to use the toilet. They took over the bathroom and the other rooms. "

  • One day, when they took my tonsils and sent them all home, I didn't, because I could bleed. At four o'clock in the morning, a nurse came into the room and said, 'Get up, the Russians are here.' We laughed once more in the room that it was a joke. And she told us to look outside. And there one tank after another. They all left, and the two of us - they took our tonsils - stayed there. Ivan came to visit me and I saw a motorcycle ride between the tanks and I thought I hoped it wasn't Ivan. But it was Ivan. He said we could not wait for the move, but that he would try to get a passport to visit Vienna. He did it. I came home, we packed up, two suitcases. We received permission for three days in Vienna. The sister-in-law - my husband's sister - accompanied us to tell her parents that we had passed. It was still adventurous because there were a lot of people and we couldn't wait. We didn't sleep all night, waiting to see if the border would remain open at all. It was really ugly, but we passed. I couldn't believe it when we crossed the border. Basically, the whole train was full of people who wanted to stay outside. The Russians were there, but they didn't check. The Slovaks controlled, but the Russians stood behind every Slovak. For example, there was a young man in our compartment, and the guide asked him where he was going. And he replied that he wanted to work as a student in Sweden. She asked that for how long. 'Maybe two weeks,' and she said maybe longer. But he didn't say a word. We could see through the window - there was a bus of people outside, everyone was crying, saying goodbye, some had ten suitcases. We came to Vienna, only Slovak and Czech were spoken in Vienna. We were picked up by an acquaintance of the Bergida family. Of course, I immediately called my father, and he just cried, he wasn't able to talk because he was very worried. Of course he couldn't call me, he didn't know what was going on, he had the worst ideas. "

  • "In April 1944, the Jews from Košice were gathered in the brickyard, as well as my whole family, ie those who remained, without men. I don't know how long they've been there. It could have been more days, but I heard that for weeks, and that they had great difficulty because they had nothing to eat and drink, simply, no one cared about them. But Eržike brought them food, I don't know how they did it. Nobody ever explained it to me, and unfortunately I never asked. It was just that when I got a little closer to something, I saw my father cry. He was terribly proud and dignified and it would be terrible for him to show his daughter that he was weak, so I left it. Erzike didn't talk either. Eržike brought them food. One day, as she was leaving the brickyard, she put me in that basket. She told me she wanted to take Judith with her. I don't know how, apparently it wasn't so guarded, those people just didn't know where to go. So she wanted to take Judith with her, but Juditka cried a lot, and so did Mom. My mother claimed that they wandered a lot, did hiking and she knew a lot of walking, she was six years old at the time, that she could handle it, so she stayed. From there they came to Auschwitz, and my father and grandfathers went to Auschwitz from prison, so they no longer met. Apparently Eržike received from my mother the address of a family with whom they were friends in Budapest, a non-Jewish family. She went with them to Budapest, where we were to stay, but they did not want us. They were afraid to have us with them, and the girl did not show that she was a Jewish child, they could say that I was Erizik's daughter, but they did not want to, so she had to leave. "

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    Cez Zoom s Mnichovom, 02.03.2021

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    duration: 03:28:52
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Eržike saved me twice: from deportation and from an orphanage

Marianna Bergida, b. Friedrichová, was born on December 11, 1943 in Košice as the second daughter of a wealthy Jewish family of Friedrichs. After the concentration of Košice Jews in the local brickyard in April 1944, she was brought in a food basket by the educator Eržike and thus saved her from certain death. Her mother and sister Judith died in Auschwitz. After the war, his father, who had been liberated in Mauthausen, returned and became chairman of the Košice Jewish community. During 1949, he helped organize legal evictions to Israel and had to leave with Marianna in the last group. He was arrested in January 1950 and charged with treason and Zionist conspiracy. He refused to sign the confession and was sentenced to three years in prison in a tried trial. A year after his release, he was arrested again and spent one and a half years in the Jáchymov uranium mines. Little Marianna was taken care of by Eržika, thus saving her from the orphanage. Despite the reluctance of the communist regime, after graduating, she managed to graduate from the Pedagogical Institute in 1964 thanks to good people. Her marriage in the Košice synagogue in June 1965 was the first Jewish wedding after the war. After judicial rehabilitation in 1965, his father applied for legal eviction and left for Germany in December. Since then, Marianna has undergone regular interrogations at the State Security Service. At first she took them lightly, but since they did not stop even in 1967, they began to fear with her husband Ivan. With her young son, she visited her father in early 1968 and considered moving out. At that time, in August 1968, Warsaw Pact troops entered the territory of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and the couple decided to emigrate immediately via Vienna to Germany. They settled near Stuttgart, where their husband Ivan got a job at IBM. Over time, Marianna began working as a teacher. In the 1990s, she worked intensively filming the testimonies of Holocaust survivors for the Spielberg Shoah Foundation. Today she has six grandchildren and she and her husband live in Munich