Lívia Herzová, rod. Kazárová

* 1926  

  • “When they set you free, how did you go back to Tornaľa ... or where did you go? Did you go to Tornaľa? Then ... then I wrote to my uncle, who used to be in Lubeník, already in Slovakia. That's near by Revúca. And my father was somewhere, not with us. And after deliverance he was with his brother, the younger brother. So that's how the three of us found each other. The family ... I can say, they said that in addition to us, there were two families who came home. And we are ... mom, dad and me, we came. And where... there were more children or something like that, it was not possible, but even where there was only one, it rarely happened. The father saved himself with his uncle, with his younger brother. And they found out ... my mom and I came to Tornaľa ... and I don't know in slovak, just who the city councilor is, let's say. He said your father is alive. He lives? Yes, your father is alive. We know from the manager of "Baťa", the "Baťa" store. I went to Baťa and I said, Tell me. Wau you live, yes I live and my mother lives also, but they say that you… Yes, your father lives. I was still talking to him, he was here, but his younger brother took him to Lubeník, he is there. Yes. Leader of “Baťa”, a company, so. Yes, my father went to where my family was. Because he was not deported, he was enlisted. So for that he came back and we did nothing with mom. Then they told him in Lubeník that we lived and were at home. Then uncle Emil had a motorcycle, so he got on a motorcycle, he got on top and they arrived for us. Father, mom and me ... that, that, that can't be said, we couldn't say, neither father, nor mom, nor me. When we saw each other. And Emil Báči, uncle ... father's youngest brother, says that father was with us. Father where you were... and us, and we where ... I'll tell you at home. It was in front of the pharmacy, where he got out of the motorcycle. There are such unforgettable moments in life ... moments. So. ”

  • "Let's go back to Auschwitz. But then there were grenades that I filled again, what I wore ... it was seventy kilos, that's what we wore. It's like carrying sugar, it was like sugar ... you know. In the factory. Well, I don't know what it is called in slovak language. We just wore it, but it wasn't necessary. Just to do something ... from this corner there and from this corner there, and from this corner back. To make it work. And then quickly home. When you were in Auschwitz, were you still with your mom? How, when am I? In Auschwitz. Yes Yes. All the time. Still, they didn't divide us. We were stuck. They did not divide us. It was the only thing they didn't share. No, because mom looked pretty good. The mother was born at nine hundred and one, which means that she still looked good in the forty-fourth. And she looked like she was able to work. So that's luck. Grandma also went with us and she was the first ... during the first division in Auschwitz, where we stood and did so and so on. They've already taken her to the gas. Grandma, mom's mom was, yes. She ... just like that. Life, death, as if you say. That, that wasn't ... they didn't know where they were going. We knew who was alive. Somebody whispered there that you were going to work and they ... they would not work. They will not work, so they are not needed. And you were in the part like the crematorium, were you in Březinka? Did I have a dress? Not whether you were in the part like the crematorium or you were in Březinka. Or… The crematorium ... that was big. Auschwitz was so big. The crematorium was like that... We saw their smoke. So you were in those blocks… We saw those blocks ... I was block five, right? It was opposite and it was a gas block. "

  • "Lili come, I will ask, you will tell me. I should have read to you to know you in slovak ... I have it in hungarian right now. That transport, when you went, three days and three nights. Yes. About. That's how it was… In each other's lapful, on the ground, in the wagon. And did you already know what was going on in the world? No, we didn't know. We're going to work, this sentence said. How did you experience it with your mother? How? How did you experience it with your mother? Were you scared? In the wagon? No ... we didn't know how it was… I think so bad in Auschwitz that we were happy ... that we were looking forward to working and we would be people again. Because we were just numbers in Auschwitz, right? Numbers ... and we ate grass or some ... when it happened, there were edible potatoes everywhere. Grass, boiled grass. When you came out… I was there for two months. In Auschwitz. Yes, exactly two months. How old were you? Eighteen, then eighteen. Forty-four then...and twenty-six I was born. Eighteen, but a pity you didn't tell me. I would have read it, I just wanted to, thought ... just to show it. That I have postponed from there ... this booklet. The day before yesterday he brought me... a son-in-law. I told my daughter where I had to have it and looked in my room and brought it here. When you got out of that stock-car, what was going on in Auschwitz? Where are we? In Auschwitz. When you got out of that stock-car with your mom. So he waited ... one grand master was waiting and one SS man was waiting, and that was said. You on the right, you on the left, according to the face. My mother and I went to one side because she looked young, she was young. She was born at nine hundred and one, that's what she looked for working. Second one ... we soon saw gas. The gas chamber went straight ... with them. So you and your mother were on one side. How? They put you on one side with your mom. For one, and those for the other. Yes. And then was following what you had with you and… And some went to that side and to the council, and work, and go. We didn't know where we were going. And we went into one house, because there were all kinds of blocks, blocks called. Come on, one house. Well, now we're standing ... and sitting down, and that was our place, both to sleep and toilet, sorry. Even for everything ... it was ours. Done, and it was. That's it… But first you… That already was, that was a better case than those who went to the other side. Because then the flame was soon seen, but they went straight into the gas. There were some rashes or something... they looked strange ... body undressed, or old, just unable to work, so into the gas. Straight, straight, straight. And you went with your mom… Mom and I went to one side, but we didn't know where we were going ... we were going where they were. My mother and I went to one under the armpit, like a barracks. Giant barracks. And they said it's our place, as much as we stand. ”

  • “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. ”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Bratislava

    (audio)
    duration: 01:23:28
  • 2

    Bratislava, byt pametnicky, 18.11.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 02:14:43
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

People were screaming, crying in the wagons. It was catastrophic, people begged for a sip of water “Father, mom and me... you can’t say that, you can’t ... we couldn’t say, neither father, nor mom, nor me when we saw each other.”

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.