Lívia Herzová, rod. Kazárová

* 1926  

  • “We walked for a very long time, until we got to one house and Mengele stood there. Personally. We didn't know who it was until after that. We saw a big camp in front of us. Omama-grandma, Mom's mom was with us. Aunt too. There were five people in one row at Zählappell. My mom, me, aunt, aunt's daughter Ica, so there was four of us, stood there, and omama. We had to stand in a row of five. We didn't know what would happen. Undress from all our clothes and open our mouths. With one such gesture (the witness suggest a wave of a hand), a person was granted life or sent to the crematorium. Mommy, me and my five-year-older cousin Icu received this gesture (hand movement). Granny and Icina's mom received such gesture (moves her hand to the opposite side). 'Then you'll meet there.' But where? Of course not in life. So, so, so, so, so, so (hand-to-hand movements) that was all that was in Auschwitz. Then we stopped in front of the camp number five. Very close to the crematorium. In a week we knew, our other relatives are up, transubstantiated into the smoke. That was like this (hand movement to the side), and a human being became smoke. They said there's a crematorium. We thought like that when they said we would meet. Right, left. In crematorium. ”

  • “A big wagon came, all one by one. 40 people were in that wagon. On the ground. I usually lay in my mother's lap as well as in Auschwitz. So they took us, they took, they took, they took, and we didn't know where we were going. Then we got off at Auschwitz. There were already German soldiers standing by wagons. I still want to say what I write, I have my diary. In the wagons, people were crying, screaming, it was a terrible disaster, what was in the wagons. The journey to Auschwitz took three days and three nights, I remember that. I have written it in my diary. I have a Hungarian diary, wife of Dr Weiss translated it for me. We had to get off at Auschwitz. I forgot to say that the people in the wagon screamed, begged for water. The wagons had such small windows, and in one station they handed us a cup of water. Everyone could drink one drop. When we got to Auschwitz, we didn't know where we were, of course. We got off. German soldiers stood in front of us, and they pushed us to go. So we walked, and we walked for a very long time. I also wrote down how much. Meanwhile, we saw men in striped clothes behind iron wires: 'Where are we?' I said to my mother. 'We are going to work, they told us,' she said. “Yes, we're going to work. But I see they look like hares, mom. 'But what are you telling the kid, what hares?' I was no longer a kid when I was 18. But it was striking that those guys wore those striped jackets. ”

  • “But that wasn't enough, I wanted higher anyway. There was a four-year academy in Roznava. But by that time it was necessary to have very big protection to get where I was. Protection from those landlords who came to us. My father had drugstore/pharmacy, half of it was medication and the other half a drugstore. He was a pharmacist. But the was already one pharmacy in our so-called village. With eight thousand inhabitants it was not a village, it was a smaller town, even a county town because 40 villages belonged to that region. My father was the chairman of war invalids for the 40 villages. So I had some protection, from both the Hungarians and everyone. Apart from that, I was a very good student, modestly saying. So I got from the second to the third class, where was already numerus nullus, at the Academy in Roznava. There was already a bayonet auf (open) young (nyilašovec, author's note) standing in the doorway. There were no Jews there, I always smiled at him and went to the classroom. ”

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    Bratislava, byt pametnicky, 18.11.2019

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People were screaming, crying in the wagons. It was catastrophic, people begged for a sip of water

Historical photography after the war
Historical photography after the war
photo: Archív Lívie Herzovej

Lívia Herzová (born Kazárová) comes from Tornala, where she was born April 22, 1926 as the only child into a Hungarian Jewish family. Her father owned a drugstore with medical supplies, her mother worked in the shop. After the First Vienna Arbitration in November 1938, Tornala became part of Hungary. Thanks to her excellent grades and her father’s influential acquaintances, she was able to continue her studies at a two-year monastery business school and later in 1943 as the only Jewish woman at the business academy in Rožňava despite the “numerus nullus” valid for Jews at that time. In June 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz with her mother in transport with Tornala Jews. Here she went through the selection of Dr Mengele, her relatives were, unfortunately, sent to death. After three months, she had luck and was selected with her mother to the transport of workers. Thousand Slovak and Hungarian women were sent to a concentration camp Münchmühle, near Allendorf, where they filled bombs and grenades in the largest explosives factory within the Reich. In March 1945, all women from the camp were sent to the so-called death march. After 27 km they were close to the front and most women survived the march. They were liberated by the Americans who distributed them to families around Ziegenhain. After two months, she and her mother went on a journey to their native city Tornala, where they greeted the father who had returned before them. After the war, Livia helped him in the drugstore. She visited her aunt in Bratislava, where she met her future husband, who worked for the Joint Distribution Committee. After the wedding in 1948, she moved to Bratislava, where she worked in the Drogérie company.