MY FAMILY HERITAGE / Julika Hátszegi
I am the child of Holocaust survivors.
The family of my father, Sándor Stern, used to live in Zalagyömörő. My grandfather had a grocery, and his sons also became merchants. He had two daughters, seamstresses, who made clothes and trousseaus for the local girls. They produced my mother’s pillow with initials as well.
During World War II, men were forced to do labour service, whereas women and children were deported to Auschwitz. Three men of the family – including my father – and the wife and daughter of one of them survived the camps. The rest were killed.
My father did labour service in Vojvodina, Fertőrákos, and Kőszeg. Afterwards, he was handed over to the German troops, who deported him to the camps of Flossenburg, Herczbruck, and Dachau.
My mother, Erzsébet Sternberger was born in Jánosháza. My grandfather was a merchant, my uncle Jenő was a tinman, and my uncle Sanyi was a technician. After my grandfather’s death, my thirteen-year-old mother moved to her relatives in Kővágóörs, who had a soda factory and a grocery store. At the beginning of May 1944, all of the local Jews were transported on wagons to the ghetto in Tapolca. In June, they were transferred to Zalaegerszeg, where they got beaten by gendarmes to make them reveal where their values were hidden. Student midwives brought from Nagykanizsa also searched through the prisoners’ body cavities, which was humiliating.
On 8 June 1944, they arrived in Auschwitz. After three weeks, my mother was transferred to the labour camp in Hessich Lichtenau. In Fürstenhagen, they had to produce mortar bombs containing TNT. They were hungry, cold, scarce of clothes, and exposed to the brutality of SS soldiers. On 25 April 1945, Russian soldiers liberated the camp, but they took the prisoners to Berdychiv, because they did not believe that they were locked up only because of their religion. My mother returned in October 1945. Both of her elder sisters and her brothers-in-law, her two sisters-in-law, and their six children were killed.
My parents got married on 10 March 1946. Along with the other survivors, they mourned for their lost relatives. They inaugurated a monument at the cemetery of Tapolca in memory of those who were killed, and they printed their names in The Book of Tears. Then we were born: my younger brother and me. We kept living in Kővágóörs according to Jewish customs: my mother lit two candles and put two loaves of barches (braided bread) on the table every Friday evening. The candlesticks in the video and the photos have been staying with us all through our lives. In 1960, we moved to Keszthely. This was the first time we got integrated into a Jewish community, where we were kindly welcomed, since we met my mother’s “camp sisters”, her former companions in distress in Hessich Lichtenau. On Saturday afternoons we met at the place of Mrs. Samuel Singer, and from the age of thirteen, I was listening to their stories about what had happened to them and how they had suffered in the camps.
I grew up and started a family of my own. Now I have grandchildren, and we keep living according to Jewish customs. We wish that no one should ever suffer so much and lose relatives among such horrible circumstances like our parents did.
Köszönet a tárgykölcsönzőknek és történetmesélőknek:
FISCHER ÁGOTA ÉVA
FÜLÖPNÉ WELTZ MÁRIA
HÁTSZEGI GÁBORNÉ, JULIKA
HELLER MÁRIA (RÓZSA PÁL)
HELLER SÁNDORNÉ, MÜLLER ANIKÓ
KÁNAI GYULÁNÉ PEREDY GIZELLA
LEÁNYFALVINÉ GORDÁN ILDIKÓ
TERÉNYI ISTVÁNNÉ SULLAI VINCENCIA
TÓTHNÉ RUDI MARGIT
Köszönet a kiállítás létrejöttéhez nyújtott segítségért
TÓTH GERGELY MÁTÉ
ELEVEN EMLÉKMŰ CSOPORT
HERITAGE CONTACT ZONE
HUMÁN PLATFORM EGYESÜLET
OPEN SOCIETY ARCHIVES
Castrum Peregrini, Amszterdam
Asociatia Timişoara Capitala Cultural Europeana, Temesvár
Eleven Emlékmű / Humán Platform, Budapest
Etz Hayyim, Hanía, Kréta
European University Institute, Firenze
Culture Action Europe, Brüsszel