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Miso Vogel

Jacovce, Czechoslovakia

Miso came from a religious family in a small village in Slovakia, where his father was a cattle dealer. He was the eldest of five children. When Miso was 6 his family moved to Topol'cany, where the children could attend a Jewish school. Antisemitism was prevalent in Topol'cany. When Miso played soccer, it was always the Catholics versus the Jews.

1933-39: In 1936 I had my bar mitzvah and was considered a man. My grandparents traveled 50 miles for it; I was so happy we were all together. In March 1939 the Hlinka Guards, Slovak fascists, took over our town. My family's barber, a very nice man, became a Hlinka guardsman. When Germany invaded Poland in September, the German army requisitioned my father's cattle and horses.

1940-44: My sister and brother were deported, then it was my turn. We sang the Czechoslovak national anthem and our Jewish anthem, "Hatikva," on the way to our unknown destination. At Auschwitz I was prisoner #65316 and sorted baggage contents of newly arrived Jews who were marched to the gas chambers. All my family was gassed at Auschwitz except for my father, who was assigned to slave labor. I visited him every night after roll call. After my father fell ill, he told me, "Try to survive and carry on the family name." The next day he was gassed.

Miso was deported to two more camps; at the Landsberg labor camp, he escaped to the woods just as the U.S. Army entered the area in April 1945. In 1946 he emigrated to America.

 

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