Marta Szilárdová

* 1923  †︎ 2021

  • “For three days we were marching, sleeping only in straw stacks or wherever possible, leaning on one another, sitting and keeping warm. Terrible inhuman conditions we had during those three days. And if someone couldn´t walk on, or stopped at the edge of the road, he was shot down. So since we walked in the middle or rear part of the line, we could see piles of dead women killed as they were unable to march any further. And it was the German guards, soldiers, who accompanied us that simply shot them and didn´t bother. During those three days, however, from night to morning there were still less and less of the guards. They ran away. That´s how we knew something was going on since they didn´t scream at us anymore. Simple, one by one they disappeared. In the end we were left all by ourselves, helpless, unguarded, not knowing where we were… And airplanes were flying above our heads, carrying white flags. They tried to point us the flags to one direction, but we thought it was the wind that drifted the white cloths always to one side. They tried to show us the way. We came somewhere, not knowing where, and the American soldiers came to help us. Of course, then we boarded their jeeps and we were taken to some vacant German barrack. They lodged us. There was a doctor, who examined us and gave us treatment we needed. Everyone was in a miserable condition. There was warm water, each of us received a hygienic bags with comb, tooth brush and tooth paste. After a year! After a year I could have a tooth brush again! Can you imagine what it was like? Well, we were all right there, because they truly tried to help us as much as possible. They even brought us some clothes from the left behind German houses. That´s how we waited to see the end of the war.”

  • “Since we came there, from the following month, none of us had menses for the whole stay. They gave us such pills to stop it. It was unacceptable in Auschwitz or in the other labor camp! There wasn´t any personal hygiene or any toiletries. And they stopped our periods by giving us bromine, or I don´t know what, right away we arrived there. My sister and I were not exceptions. However, when we returned home, a medical intervention was necessary to fix these things to the normal state. My sister even after being married for over a year had to undergo many treatments to be able to get pregnant. Fortunately, with her husband they later had one daughter Andrejka, who lives in Nové Zámky.”

  • “We weren´t religious back then either. Our family, or even if we look at whole Levice, there were maybe 5 religious families in total. It used to be a very modern town. However, after the Auschwitz experience, I kept asking: ‘Where was God? Where was he when we needed him? We are the chosen nation and such things happen? Even now, I don´t believe in that. I believe there is something extraterrestrial, some other power, so that the justice could reign one day. Because its time has to come. You know, I sometimes have weird opinions, but I always claim that justice awaits everyone, sooner or later. One never knows. Even if those who harmed others are not afflicted themselves, by any injustice or disease, it can easily happen that their loved ones do suffer in some way. That´s how they experience suffering as well. They might not realize it is a punishment for what they had done before. I just don´t think there are only two categories of people - those who are happy all the time, and those miserable all the time. That´s what I say. And I neither protest knowing where I belong. I know when the religious feasts are, but that´s all. I lost my faith. And who knows? Maybe one day I shall be punished for that. Only God knows it all, he sees all, and controls all. He even gave life to Hitler and gave him power to do what he did. Millions of people suffered because of him. Why? Tell me, does a reasonable explanation to this exist? Did God control that? No, he didn´t. Neither had he prevented that from happening.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ohel David, Bratislava, 08.03.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 45:39
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
  • 2

    Bratislava, 15.07.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 46:36
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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Justice awaits everyone, sooner or later

Marta Szilárdová
Marta Szilárdová
photo: Archív pani Szilárdovej

Marta Szilárdová was born in 1923. She had a younger brother and a sister. In summer of 1944 they family was transported to Auschwitz. That´s where they saw their parents for the last time. In winter 1944 Marta and her sister were transferred to factory in Germany. While the Auschwitz concentration camp was being liberated, they were taken to the death march. She and her sister survived, and after a long journey they fortunately arrived to Slovakia. During a part of their journey they were accompanied by Czech prisoners. After coming to Levice they began to live at a vacant flat, previously owned by a Jewish lady. When this lady returned as well, she agreed on them staying at her place. Marta´s husband got back too, and they began new life together. They had two children and later moved to Nitra. Her husband Štefan died due to embolism. Marta has three great-grandchildren and lives in Ohel David senior house.