Document proving Jewish origin

Document proving Jewish origin
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  • Photo taken in:
    Timisoara
    Year when photo was taken:
    1942
    Country name at time of photo:
    Romania (1920-1945)
    Country name today:
    Romania
In 1941 the Romanian authorities issued a decree stating that Jews should be listed. This document was issued to me in 1942, when the listing took place. It includes my name, address and religion. Jews were taken to forced labor not only in Hungary, but also in Romania. I was taken away in August 1941. These labor camps were spread all over the country. First they took us to Banat region, where we did some construction work, then they moved us to the valley of the Olt river. But the longest I stayed in a camp in South-Moldova, not far from Focsani. Most of the Jews from Temesvar and Arad were taken there for forced labor. For a while I worked there as an ambulance man. I had a corps-man bag I brought with me from Temesvar, with medications and bandages. The elderly needed treatment most frequently. I gave them shots, and even provided first-aid for the Romanian soldiers who got injured. Furthermore, their commander, a captain, got an eye infection because of the dirt and the poor hygiene we were exposed to there. I treated and cured him with my knowledge as a 2nd-year medical student and the books I had on me. I had course books on surgery and contagious diseases. I even cured cases of furuncle or abscess. I cut the abscess, cleaned and disinfected it following the instructions. I was able to help only in the cases that needed surgery because I had no knowledge of internal medicine. We hadn't covered that subject at university yet. In the places I was working there were fairly decent conditions, but this wasn't true for every camp. I know from my brother's complaints and stories how horrible the situation of the forced laborers in Pankota was. We worked under military supervision. We listened to the radio, and the officers of the nearby military units were all pro-French, pro-West. Some of them even came to us and informed us on the situation on the front. In the last weeks an officer came and told us that the retreating Germans were closing in. He judged correctly when he thought they would execute us if they found us, the forced laborers. He said, 'I'll give you some carriages which will take you to the city, to Braila. It's safer there than in the countryside.' There was no need for that because on 23rd August 1944 the army moved over to the allied side, and we retreated with the troops towards Braila. I'm not sure whether we first went to Focsani and then to Braila, but I do remember we saw stampeding Germans on the way, who threw away their guns and ran away from the Russians. In Braila the local Jewish community helped us out for the time we stayed there, until the traffic for trains opened.

Interview details

Interviewee: Sámuel Izsak
Interviewer:
Gidó Attila
Month of interview:
Október
Year of interview:
2003
Cluj-Napoca, Romania

KEY PERSON

Sámuel Izsak
Year of birth:
1915
City of birth:
Marosvásárhely
Occupation
after WW II:
Orvostörténeti tanszék tanára
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