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nisim navon

The first Germans arrived in April 1941. The Albanians liked the Germans.
They came down from villages to welcome them and kiss their boots. Right
after the Germans came, the Jews were ordered to wear a yellow band with
the word Jude, and form a brigade of 200 adults from Kosovo to work at the
stone pit. When the Nazis first rounded up the Jews in Pristina, they came
with a truck to our house and took away everything from us, 10 kilos of
gold, family jewelry which we had had for four generations. Five bags were
all that were left, one each for my father, mother, sister, grandfather and
me. They made our father carry all of the family's belongings out of the
house onto trucks, the whole time beating him on the spine. His back never
recovered from these beatings and he never regained his strength. Rukula
and our mother were both operated on in 1946 for respiratory problems that
developed during the war.

We thought that the Germans wouldn't take my grandfather as he was old, so
we gave him everything we had. But my grandfather was taken to prison
immediately and killed. Soon after grandfather was murdered, my grandmother
died of sorrow and lack of medicine. My two uncles and I were put in labor
camp where we worked at the stone-pit 12 hours a day. My sister, together
with another 40 Jewish women, had to clean streets and public buildings
that belonged to German organizations in the city. They worked 12 hours as

Six months later, two policemen, one Italian and the other Albanian, took
me to be shot in the village of Milesevo, 6 km away from Pristina. A
Gestapo chief asked me if I was a communist. I answered that my family was
capitalist. He thought for some time and released me. When I came back, the
Italian police put me and my cousin in prison in Pristina. I was in prison
from October to December. I was in the room with 40 prisoners, mostly Serbs
expelled from villages by the Albanians. We had to work and we were beaten.
I still have a scar on my arm. In December the Germans transferred me into
a prison in Tirana, where the living conditions were better. I stayed there
till January. In the meantime I didn't have any information about my
family. While I was in Pristina they were moved to Elbasan, Albania. In
February I was removed to Elbasan, but still didn't know that my family was
there, as I was in another part of the prison together with thieves and
criminals. My family was with six other Jewish families. Later I found out
that we were in the same prison. We were there until the end of August
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gabor paneth

I was drafted several times into different forced labor battalions. First I was sent to Felsohangoly, where I spent three months between July and October 1944. At the time I felt that I, and many others, were saved from deportation by being sent to forced labor there. We weren't too badly off there. Of course, there wasn't enough to eat, but sometimes after working at digging ditches, we had nothing to do, so we just hung around. In September I was taken to Kecskemet and soon after to Szolnok. On October 12, I went home to my parents but two days later I was drafted again and taken to Szekesfehervar, 60 kilometers from Budapest. On October 15, the news came that Hungary had broken away from the German alliance. Everybody was sent home from the camp. By the time I got to Budapest, I heard the newsboys shout that the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascists) had taken power. I crept home and found my mother and aunt there. My father had already been taken to a collection center in Budapest. I went to the Swiss embassy where I found a huge line. I was standing around looking at this queue when suddenly the door opened and an acquaintance of mine came out. When he saw me, he shoved me in through the door. I found myself inside at the head of the queue. The embassy gave me four false Schutzpasses, protection letters, and those enabled us to survive. I went and got my father out of the collection center with one pass, and we all moved from our house, which was then a yellow-star house, into a protected house. Later, in January, we had to move into the ghetto. We were there until the liberation.
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Alexandra Ribush

The Germans arrived in Kislovodsk on 11th August 1942. The first order issued by them was related to Jews: Jews were told to wear yellow stars.
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Amalia Laufer

Jews had to wear the star of David on the sleeve and chest. I looked like a Ukrainian girl and nobody took me for a Jew, so I didn't wear the star. When my mistress saw that I didn't have a star of David on my sleeve she asked me how I went outside without it.
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Edit Kovacs

During the war, in June 1944, my daughter and I, my mother and my sister,
and my sister's little son, who was the same age as Maria, were together in
a yellow-star house in Nepszinhaz Street. We were crammed into a three-room
flat with a dozen other people. The men were in forced labor battalions. In
July, the women and children were taken to a stadium from where we would
have been deported. A decent Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascist) man-because
there existed such people as well-told me that everybody with a child under
the age of two should try to sneak away, while they would be looking the
other way. My family and I went back to the yellow-star house and we were
left in peace until the German occupation on October 15, 1944.

A week after that, the Arrow Cross people came again and collected all the
younger women and set them off on foot on a death march towards the
Austrian border. My sister and I managed to escape and arrived back in
Budapest in early November. In the meantime, my mother had been taken to
the ghetto together with the children, but we managed to find them when we
got back. My father also managed to escape from the Austrian border and he
found us in the ghetto. We pulled through the ghetto times somehow. On the
day before Liberation, in February 1945, I went out of the cellar where we
had been hiding during the bombing to get some food. I was injured by
shrapnel and I was left lying on the street for some days and got blood
poisoning, so my right leg had to be amputated below the knee (the
operation was done in the Jewish Hospital). This marked me for the rest of
my life.
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Miklos Braun

During the war my mother and father were together in a yellow-star house in the ghetto. Then a few days before the liberation, my father went to fetch water, because there wasn’t any water in the house at all. When he was just in front of the gate, he was hit and killed by shrapnel from a grenade. So my mother was left a widow. She lived alone afterwards; I asked her a few times to live with us but she preferred to stay alone. I visited her quite often. I think my mother used to go to the temple, perhaps not every week but regularly, anyhow. She died in 1960. I can’t really remember any more.
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By that time I was working as an unskilled worker in the factory where Vera worked. I had been fired because of the anti-Jewish laws in 1944 and I entered the manual labor staff of the factory and became a semi-skilled worker. I balanced revolving engine parts on machines.

But let’s go chronologically. I was drafted in January 1942 and I got back home in November 1943. I had been at the Don River Curve (not far from Stalingrad in Russia) and all kinds of “good places”; my best friends died, and I survived by chance. For a year we were in Sianki, on the Northern side of Polish Carpathians, which was Polish territory. When we went there, we still had our uniforms. Then in October 1943 an order came that civilian clothes should be sent to us from home. We were not soldiers any more, we were simply prisoners, slaves, or whatever you want to call it. I was able to survive only because I was transferred from the work company to the motorized unit because I could drive trucks. When the front at the Don River Curve was broken through, we towed the truck away with a tractor, and after an adventurous journey in it we arrived in Kiev. 

Then, in May 1944, I was drafted again. There was a motorized-unit army post on Ezredes Street and I was sent there. I went home regularly from there to 40 Sziget Street, a yellow-star house that my whole family had been transferred into. Once I wanted to cross Margit Bridge and I was caught at the gate by a filthy sergeant major and he ordered me back. Ten minutes later the bridge blew up. When Governor Horthy came, we believed everything was going to be all right, but the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascist, or Nyilas) men came in the evening and the army post was closed. Then we were put in trains, crammed in wagons at the railroad station of Jozsefvaros. We had to get off at Pozsony Ligetfalu and we went to dig tank traps. From there I escaped with a friend of mine, and after a few days’ illegal loafing around we got into a printing shop called Ervin Metten. The pay-books for German soldiers were printed there in some twenty languages. We obtained illegal papers there but we were caught and imprisoned. From there I was taken to the Lichtenwort concentration camp and I was still there when the Soviet troops arrived. 

When there hadn’t been any news about me for months, my wife said to herself, “If he is alive, he’ll come back on our first wedding anniversary.” That was on the 15th of April. I had had typhus at the time and had just recovered, more or less, and it wasn’t until the 16th of April that I staggered into Sziget Street, frightfully thin.
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Cadik Danon

However, on March 27, 1941, the Tripartite Pact, which
Yugoslavia had signed, was dissolved, and on April 6 the Germans began a
surprise bombing campaign in Belgrade. We were on Jovanov Street, in
Dorcol. The Germans bombed that Jewish neighborhood especially hard. We
fled to a village near Belgrade. When the bombing was over, we returned
home, took the necessary things and naively headed toward Thessaloniki on
foot. However, we did not even manage to reach Mladenovac, 50 kilometers
south of Belgrade, before Yugoslavia capitulated, and the army
disintegrated. I saw with my own eyes how the army fell apart, gave over
the weapons and was captured. When we arrived in Belgrade the Germans were
already there and immediately began a census of the Jews in the Pozarna
command. They made lists, and everyone had to wear a yellow band and go to
work cleaning the city, which was destroyed by the German bombing. It was
clear what was going to happen so we decided to go to our uncle's home in
Tuzla, thinking it would be better there because it was part of the
Independent State of Croatia. My older sister, Ina, remained in Serbia with
her husband.

In Tuzla, the first few months were relatively calm. Then they started to
make us register as well. They took us into forced labor in German
garrisons, to a distant village where there was a sawmill, and we loaded
planks and the like. When the partisan movement began, the repression
started in earnest. Every day we read announcements about which Serbian
partisan villages had been burned down and who had been killed.
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Peter Reisz

My mother, my aunt, my grandmother, my parents and I all ended up in a yellow-star house.  My mother, together with my aunt, was driven out of the yellow-star house to the brick works in Obuda.  From there they walked to the Austrian-Hungarian border.  At the border, a Christian priest told them that anyone waiting for a Schutzpass should stand aside.  They stood to one side, and were brought back to Budapest by train, ending up in a yellow-star house, from where they were liberated.

One day, my father showed up in the yellow-star house.  He was dressed as a peasant, had grown a mustache, was wearing a peasant jacket, and told me to call him Uncle Jozsi, and to stay 10-15 meters behind him.  That’s how he got me on foot to somewhere near Nyugati Train Station, into a protected house.  From there, I ended up in the ghetto, and that’s where the Russians found me with my maternal grandmother, when they came and liberated us.
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Edit Deutsch

During the war, my mum, we four children, and my maternal grandmother lived on 18 Sip Street in the ghetto. First we were in a yellow star house [1]. My mother fell into that age group from which the women were summoned to the brick-factory. Many of them from the house went there. One of the women called her to come. My mother arranged the family first, and by the time she got there, there were so many in the brick-factory, that those who had a child under three were let go. She came back to the yellow star house from the brick-factory. There were a lot of people in one apartment in the ghetto, but as there were six of us, we had a room that had a double-drawer bed, and we slept on that, all six of us. We ate potato-peel soup, and similar things, so we didn’t starve to death. We could go to some kitchen on Sip Street where they gave us cooked meals occasionally, and we had whatever we had been able to take with us on our backs from the yellow star house. I remember that I found a cup of apple seeds in the larder, and that was very tasty. We ate that bit by bit; we rationed it.
My father was taken to forced labor. He was at home to visit one week, and was going to come back the following week. While we were waiting for him one late afternoon or evening, a member of the skeleton staff appeared, and said that my father hadn’t gone back to Keleti railway station. He hadn’t come home either. He’d just disappeared, but there had been a shooting right around Keleti; so we don’t know exactly what happened to him.
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Chasia Spanerflig

Actions had already commenced in the city. Each day Fascists hung up posters with rules restricting the rights and life of the population of the city. Jews had even less rights than anybody else. There was an order stating that everybody ought to give away their radios. There was a curfew. Jews were more restricted in their movements. They were allowed to walk only on the roadway. Jews weren’t allowed to step on the pavement. We weren’t allowed to go to restaurants and cafes. There were two or three special small stores for the Jews. Now we had signs, yellow stars, the forms of those differential signs was frequently changed and we were supposed to do it in time. If any rule was violated, people were shot.
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