Alžbeta Vargová

* 1929  †︎ 2021

  • "And there was a case that one of those Jews, he went to get a shovel in that carriage house. And my brother and I were in the courtyard, and he came to my brother and he says to him, 'Boy, let me out through that gate. I'll pay you back.'But I heard it because we were together and my mother was in the kitchen, probably cooking. Dad was at work. And my brother says to him, 'Where am I going to let you in?Well, through that little gate.´ And the gate was always closed, but we had the key. And there was this big bush in the yard. And my brother says to him, 'You know what, hide behind that bush, and you, Bežka, go after the dog and lock him in the kennel.´ Because we had a little dog, so he wouldn't bark. But we were also worried about that mother, so that she wouldn't see us. So I locked the dog up and went into the kitchen and entertained my mother. Meanwhile, my brother unlocked the gate and let the Jew out. However, since the Jew didn't come back, the German and the guardsman came to us looking for him. They told us everything, that if we hadn't seen him, and they started threatening my mother as well. Dad wasn't at home, he was at work. And they started that they were going to shoot us... Then, in the meantime, Dad came to tell us what had happened. And we said that he ran away from them, but that we didn't see him, we were inside, and that Mummy would also confirm. We are innocent... And they know what they did. They stripped my brother and my dad to half his waist and they wanted to shoot them to make them confess. And we started screaming like hell. And I was screaming: 'No, no! Don't do this, we don't know, we don't know!" so they let us finally ..."

  • "I went to the coffin and lifted the lid and there was a young boy from Šurovce, his father was a butcher there. That poor boy wanted to escape, we found out it from other Jews later, but they saw him and shot him to the nape. And mom knew him. They used to go to pray to our cemetery. And he was still alive. Mommy put the lid down, ran for water and gave it to him. He was young, so the youthhood defied. But he was bleeding terribly and I was crying. But we couldn't help him, and he breathed out for the last time, mommy was there.”

  • „One of those Jews came to go for a shovel, and he told it to the guard and the German. All of the Jews speak German, they were very wise people. Mom was in the kitchen, my father was at work. Me and my brother were in the yard and he came to my brother and told him: 'Hey lad, let me out through your wicket. I will reward you'. And my brother told him: 'You know what, hide behind the bush and you, Betka, lock the dog in the shed so it won't bark. ' We were also worried about the mum to see us. I locked the dog and went to the kitchen to divert her attention. Meanwhile, my brother unlocked the wicket and let him in. The German and the guard began looking for the Jew and turned our house upside down. Meanwhile, our father came home and wondered what was going on. They undressed my father and brother, and they threatened to shoot them, to made them confess.”

  • "Once father came from work for lunch and he asked him again if he want to join the Hlinka Guard. Father said: ' No, I won't join any Hlinka Guard! My children eat corn bread, and I should join political party like that?! He told us to evict, and that was just before Christmas. And we had nowhere to go.”

  • “The Hlinka´s (Slovak) People´s Party (HSĽS) was founded in Sereď by a guardsman Gláser; I was 12 years old back then. The Hlinka Guard commander Gláser had an arms store in Sereď. He recruited many guard members not only from Sereď, but also from nearby surroundings and they began to give hard times to Jews. Gláser often used to go to factories and to poor people; he lured them to enter the Hlinka Guard. Once, shortly before Christmas, Gláser came to our house as well. My father worked in Frankovka (wine) company for a while since there was no more work at the sugar factory. Gláser said to my father that if he didn´t join the HSĽS, we would be moved out from the cemetery and he would lose his job.”

  • “Russians came at Easter. They bombed the town and on our street there stayed quite many unexploded bombs. Dr. Širšic, managing director of the sugar factory, offered my father a hiding in the cellar of sugar factory. There we were hidden approximately for two months. Once my mom set off home to the Jewish cemetery for some food, however, she found everything plundered. She managed to find some flour and Russian soldiers gave my brother some pork fat.”

  • “Once, my father sent me to hand in an obituary notice. At the gatehouse I said I brought the obituary notice. I stood closely to the gatehouse, but already inside of the camp. One guardsman and a soldier were on duty. As I was handing in the notice, I saw how the German soldier kicked and trashed a pregnant woman in a passage between the barracks. I ran home crying. At home I said to my father I was not going to enter the labor camp anymore.”

  • “One evening, it was about after 10 p.m., someone banged on our gate. My father opened and sighted a Jew Lebovič, who lived in the town near Jewish spa. He asked my father whether he could bring four chests to be stored in our house. Supposedly, so that him or his children had something to live out of, when they´d return back after the war.”

  • “… our people had bread from Jews. It was Jews who employed our Christians. Besides the sugar factory and Frankovka there wasn´t any other option to get a job in the town. For example, when my father didn´t work at the sugar factory, he used to go and draw ice for a Jew (Hugo) who owned a tavern. Back then there were no refrigerators and so people used to go to the river Váh, draw ice, load it on wagons and store it in a big cellar. There the beer and other foodstuff to be sold were cooled, for instance salami or sausages, etc.”

  • “A Jewish owner of sawmill, which we called Drevona, had three daughters. This family received a notice they would be taken away. The girls were named Eva, Marta and Tina. One winter evening around 9 p.m. somebody banged on our gate. My dad went to open and there stood the Dým´s girls at the gate. They said they wished to go visit their grandparent´s graves, who were buried right next to the cemetery´s wall from the street. The girls told my father that the Germans were about to come for them and that they just wanted to say goodbye. There was snow back then and so they asked my father for a shovel. It took quite long until they came back from the graves. My dad told them to run away since they knew they would be taken away.”

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    duration: 01:51:36
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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    Sereď, 18.12.2018

    duration: 01:55:13
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Only Jews gave our people bread

Alzbeta Vargova
Alzbeta Vargova
photo: archív Alžbety Vargovej

Alžbeta Vargová, née Bilková, was born on August 4, 1929 in Sereď. In 1932 her family moved to a house at Jewish cemetery. Her childhood was marked by events related to the activity of the Hlinka Guard and German soldiers. During the war years as a schoolgirl she kept records of the graves´ order and names of people buried at the Jewish cemetery in Sereď, what was connected with deportations and internment of Jewish citizens in Sereď concentration camp. When she was fifteen, she was accepted into a choir Zvon (Bell), in which she sang until 2005. After the elementary school, she finished the middle school in Sereď and started working as a laboratory assistant in operation of acid production. The whole childhood she spent with her family at the Jewish cemetery and she stayed there yet in her teenage years as well as after marrying Ján Varga for two further years. In 1951 their first son Peter was born and in 1952 they moved from the cemetery. Eleven years later their second son Ján was born. Since 1965 Alžbeta worked at the expedition department in the pastry factory Pečivárne Sereď. After five years she got employed at a store for clothes accessories, where she was able to increase her education and gain a certificate of apprenticeship for being a shop assistant.  She stayed for seven years in this store and afterwards she worked at a clothes shop until leaving to retirement. Her husband died in August 1998. In 2005 when walking from the cemetery, where her husband was buried, she got hurt and broke her hand and leg. Up to present she lives in her house in Sereď, where her grandson Erik takes care of her.