Valéria Slamová (Propstein)

* 1928  

  • "For us, children, it was something new. There were lots of people, we met new children. We did not realize what was really happening, only I saw my father cry for the first time. We were lying in the Levice ghetto, there was some hay. Men, women, husbands and wives, all lying next to one another, it was a chaos, more or less. But we, the kids, were not aware of the seriousness of the situation. I just remember when my father was crying. Because we had heard we were going to be sent away. Then we were put into the cattle wagons with no water and you had nowhere to go to the bathroom. The people were crying and the mothers gave their tears to children to drink. Because it was June 16, 1944 and it was very hot. The goal was to eliminate us. They were trying to find all the possibilities to liquidate us. Hitler declared the final solution."

  • "And then, I don´t know where exactly we were, in Lauenburg, something like that, there was a big...(barn) to store hay. There were lots of people, civilians, Germans. We were frightened and the people were also terrified as there were all sorts of folks among us. But we felt lucky, because there was hay everywhere. That was fantastic! But we had so much lice! And somebody had a small...(comb), it was double sided. You could borrow it for half a portion of bread. You would give up your bread, however, the comb could hardly get into your hair, because it was full of lice, full of lice."

  • "What I also remember is Lauenburg, Germany. There was a big barn. There were also some Polish women who fled the Germans. And I know there was a big kitchen, we walked in and suddenly we saw a bottle of jam, and, I will never forget, a roasted goose or duck. And so we, not having seen regular food for almost a year, took the goose leg and dipped it into the jam. We fell very ill. I remember the big kitchen and a big stove. And also, due to insufficient nutrition, I had an ulcer grow under my underarm and was operated on somewhere in Germany."

  • "We got up at five. There was a Blockerteste (block leader), blond, from Prague, mighty and very strict. We had to march in silence. There were some chairs. Mengele was standing by saying ´Rechts, links´. I was too bony and he sent me to the gas chambers. And imagine how a person´s destiny can turn out. I was going to the left side when - it must have been a miracle - I suddenly heard a voice whisper: ´Stand in line again´. I sneaked in again, reappeared in front of Mengele and this time I passed. I saw my cousins - I was such a kid - that I burst into tears: ´I am alive!´ Out of the blue, the block leader slapped me on the face so that I collapsed on the ground. But I lived. I was scooped up by I don´t know who and went to the side of the living."

  • Full recordings
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    Bratislava, 13.10.2017

    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Valéria Slamová at young age
Valéria Slamová at young age
photo: archív pamätníčky

Valeria Slamova (Propstein) was born in 1928 into a religious Jewish family as the eldest of three children. Her hometown Čata (near Levice) became part of Hungary after the First Vienna Arbitration in November 1938. Because of anti-Jewish laws, her father, an accountant, lost his job. In May 1944 the family was interned in a ghetto, and on June 14, deported in cattle cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Valeria´s mother and siblings were sent to the gas chambers upon arrival, her father lived for another couple of months. In Auschwitz, Valeria met her cousins, Iby and Joly. From then they always kept together and helped one another survive. In August 1944 during the selection at the Apelplatz, Mengele sent her to the left side, to the gas chambers. In despair, Valeria threw herself on her knees but nothing helped so she started to make it for the left side when she suddenly heard a voice of a co-inmate whispering ´Stand in line again´. Miraculously, she managed to sneak in and when she reappeared in front of Mengele, this time she passed, thus saved her life. She spent almost a year in Auschwitz. At first she worked in the camp kitchen, later she dug trenches for tanks. With thousands of other inmates, she was sent to a death march and eventually managed to flee with her cousins. After the war she moved to Bratislava and started a family. She lived in Israel for the last 23 years. Today she lives in the Holocaust survivors´home in Bratislava, Slovakia.