Karol Natan Steiner

* 1933  

  • “My father had told me: 'My dear Karol, if something happens here you are not protected. You have to manage to save yourself somehow. I was only 11 andhalf years old. I went to the toilet on the second floor of that chateau. I put down my flat cap, took off my shirt and stayed only in t-shirt and shorts not to look like a Jewish kid. I threw my clothes out of the window to cover the traces and I waited to see what would happen. I looked outside and saw what was going on in the yard. I came out of that bathroom and suddenly there were two SS men and one policeman standing there. They came to me and began yelling at me: 'Jude oder nicht Jude? – Are you a Jew or a non-Jew?' And I completely apathetically pretended I didn't have a clue what they wanted from me. So then the Germans told the policeman to ask me, who I was. The policeman asked me: 'Boy, what are you doing here? Who are you?' I told them I was Jano Gažo from Marianka, where I live and that I came to the chateau to sell vegetables to Jews, who live there. I continued that they kept me there, but I wanted to go home as my parents were waiting for me. The policeman interpreted what I said, but the Germans weren't satisfied with my answer. One of them grabbed my t-shirt and yelled again: 'Jude oder nicht Jude?' And I didn't say anything. Then the other one approached me and wanted to pull my pants down as to look, whether I was circumcised. I curled up in a ball and I didn't let him do that. So the angry soldier kicked me to the balls, left me there and went on.”

  • “Every morning we had to stand in line and on a roll-call they used to distribute us breakfast. It was black water – something like tea or coffee, and small black bread with a little piece or margarine or marmalade. For lunch we used to get so-called soup. It was good only because it was warm. However, it was the same beet that cows were fed with. We had it cut into little squares, added with some carrots or potatoes. If one was lucky, he got the potato or beet from the bottom of the pot. Others got just the juice.”

  • “My father as a doctor, even though being very religious, followed to the doctor's oath by accepting every patient, no matter if they were a Jew, Catholic, or Lutheran. He took them as a human and if such a patient came on Saturday, he examined him anyway. Instead of writing a prescription, he went with them down to the pharmacy and asked the pharmacists to give the patient such and such medicine needed. He promised to return back and write the prescription after the Sabbath was over. Many times, if the patient was poor, he even paid the bill for them there.”

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    Tel Aviv, Izrael, 04.12.2017

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    duration: 02:10:56
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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He managed to escape the SS, but didn´t avoid concentration camps

With czech senator Přemysl Sobotka
With czech senator Přemysl Sobotka
photo: archív Karol Natan Steiner

Karol Natan Steiner was born on September 3, 1933 into a family of Bratislava doctor. During the Second World War his father managed to obtain an economic dispensation, for which he was protected from deportation. His family moved to LiptovskýMikuláš. Later he found a job as a doctor in Stupava and moved back with his family to Western Slovakia. Karol and his sister were hid in a cloister in Marianka. When the SS raided the cloister in 1944, Karol was successful in escaping from the cloister, but his sister was taken along with other Jews. When Karol’s father attempted to save his daughter, he was also arrested and deported. Both of them died in Auschwitz. Karol and his mother hid in a family of a local farmer, but they were sold out to the SS and detained. However, they weren’t deported from the Sereď concentration camp to Auschwitz, but they were in the first transport directed to the West, to Germany. This is how they got to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, where they lived to see the end of the war. Karol left for Israel in 1949, where he got married, studied economy and later gained an academic degree of honorary consul.