Hungarian Jewish civilian in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, 1939-1944; inmate of Nyiregyhaza Ghetto, 1944; inmate in Auschwitz, Birkenau, Fallersleben, Dora and Bergen-Belsen camps, 1944-1945; escaped from Bergen-Belsen, 3/1945
REEL 1 Recollections of background in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, 1929-1944: family circumstances; education; awareness of antisemitism; increasing restrictions for Jewish civilians, late 1930s; intensification of antisemitism after 1939; reaction to having to wear Star of David; sense of isolation until entering Jewish school. Recollections of period as inmate in Nyiregyhaza Ghetto, 1944: arrest of father, 1/1944; formation of ghetto; work as messenger; question of functioning on a conscious and unconscious level; keeping diary; mother's opposition to father's plans to escape to Rumania. Recollections of deportation from Nyiregyhaza to Auschwitz, spring 1944: reaction to march through town; role of Arrow Cross and Csendor; adapting to conditions.
REEL 2 Continues: conditions on train journey. Recollections of reception in Auschwitz, 1944: German treatment of new inmates; selection for work by Doctor Josef Mengele; reception procedure and distribution of clothes; problems with feet through ill fitting footwear. Recollections of period as inmate in 11 Barrack, C Lager, Birkenau, 1944: conditions in barracks; character of exercises supervised by SS; growing apathy amongst inmates and suicides; importance of legend of the Golem in keeping him going; degree of knowledge of extermination process; hearing screams of Gypsies being taken for extermination; arrival of German industrial recruitment missions; volunteering for metal work; camp hierarchy.
REEL 3 Continues: Recollections of period as inmate of Fallersleben: contrast between treatment by Kapos in Auschwitz and Fallersleben; living conditions; effects of mites, fatigue and poor rations; effects of starvation; attitude of German workers; work on V1s; Allied bombing raid when inmates were left unguarded, 5/1944; decision by inmates not to attempt escape; effects of second Allied bombing raid and destruction of factory, 7/1944. Aspects of period as inmate in small camps near Koblenz and Metz, 7/1944-9/1944: nature of Koblenz camp; hospitalisation for illness; constructing accommodation near Metz. Recollections of period as inmate in Dora, 9/1944-3/1945: move to camp; size of camp.
REEL 4 Continues: march from camp into factory inside mountain; reasons for exhaustion; story of sleeping in shell of V2 during lunch break and character of punishment; protected nature of mountain factory; evacuation of Dora, 3/1945. Aspects of train journey from Dora to Bergen-Belsen, 3/1945: character of German guards. Recollections of escape from Bergen-Belsen, 3/1945: nature of camp; reaction to sight of Hungarian aid given by Hungarian soldier in escaping from camp; hiding in deserted farmhouse; walk into Celle and liberation. Aspects of period as refugee in Germany and Sweden, 1945-1946: warning about not eating rich food; accommodation in displaced persons camps; collapse from TB; treatment in sanatorium in Avasta, Sweden; story of aunt finding his name on Red Cross list; fate of parents.
REEL 5 Continues: Recollections of life in GB from 1946: arrival in GB, 8/1946; determination to build new life; work in motor industry and property development; continuing education. Reflections on Holocaust experiences: question of speaking about experiences; question of dilemma about Jewish identity and aid given by Hugo Gryn; character of nightmares; importance of recording experiences for Imperial War Museum; return to Hungary and refusal to return to home town; thoughts on hidden diary.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.