Darko Fischer

* 1938

  • Then our greatest tragedy happened on January 8, 1945, my father was caught, taken to the street and shot. We do not know exactly how this happened. We have testimony, my mother learned from a man who happened to be a survivor that some paramilitaries there were probably looting around the apartments, pulling out people who they wanted to rob and suspected them, shot them and threw their dead bodies into the Danube. So my father was killed ten days before the Russians entered Pest, the eastern part of Budapest. And the Russians entered the eastern part of Pest on January 18, 1945. Now for us, of course, it was liberation, I remember that moment very well. We looked out the window through some glass door, that temporary shelter of ours we always looked out in the morning and one morning, the snow was quite big, somehow it was quite quiet in the morning there was no bombing there was no shelling and we looked outside and so we saw we saw a column of soldiers on the street of the pillar across the yard, one maybe thirty, twenty or thirty meters away we didn’t even know exactly who it was, only then a woman shouted “oh, it’s the Russians”. So on January 18, 1945, the Russians entered that eastern part of Pest and of course for us it was liberation, we no longer had to feel life- threatened from fascists from Nazis from anti-Semitism, we were free in that regard.

  • Now I can still tell you what happened, tell you what happened. I don’t know how my mother made the connection to move us to Hungary. A prominent lawyer lived in Osijek, his name was Kamilov Firinger. He had a house on the other bank of the Drava that became Hungary after the establishment of the NDH but as that border, we could say then was a soft border he had a border pass. And I don’t know how my mother managed to arrange it, I never asked her or Mr. Firinger, nor did I ever ask, what of course now passed the opportunity to ask them, how they arranged it, how my mother came to him. But Mr. Firinger took my mother and us two children across the Drava Bridge to the other bank of the Drava to Hungary, so crossing the river into freedom Vladimir Nazor would say. With the fact that he bribed or talked to the border guards there, he probably gave them something, some cigarettes and so on. And I only remember that my mother told me “you just shut up, shut up, shut up, don’t say anything, if they ask you something, just shut up and be”. I remember well that crossing of the Drava Bridge and how my mother told me “see Darko that is Drava, you maybe never see it again”. And so one afternoon, it was March again, but now 43 years old, we crossed into Baranja and then some village cars in the evening under cover of night came to the nearest train station in Baranja and with some night train drove to Pécs.

  • My father was a lawyer in Osijek, but he died in the Holocaust, at the age of 40. My mother was a language teacher at a high school and spent her working life at the Osijek high school. V: Eh, you can tell us a little more about your childhood in Osijek, about those days before the Second World War. What was life back then, how did you live? D: Based on my memories, I can actually tell you very little you know. If I was born in the 38th, the war started in our region in the 41st. World War II began 39 but we did not feel the horrors of the war until 1941. And I remember very little of what happened before our escape from Osijek in 1942. However what little I remember is a mixture of my personal memory and what I heard from my ancestors.

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    Zagreb, 26.09.2021

    duration: 01:33:06
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Darko Fischer: how they saved me

Darko Fischer
Darko Fischer
photo: Eye direct recording

Darko Fischer was born in Osijek on January 2, 1938 in a Jewish family. The founding of the NDH on April 10, 1941, and racial laws marked a mortal danger to Jews. To seek refuge, Darko’s father fled to Hungary, while his mother and the children went to Odžak, in northern Bosnia, where Darko’s uncle, a doctor, was somewhat protected. In the spring of 1943, they reached their father in Hungary. The crossing of the border was made possible by Osijek lawyer Kamilo Firinger, who was declared “Righteous Among the Nations” at the end of 2021. Hiding in Budapest, at various addresses and hiding places of the Red Cross, the family survived, with the exception of Darko’s father, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis. Darko returned to Osijek in a convoy in April 1945. Today, Darko lives in Zagreb, is active in the Jewish community and tells his story to young people.