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Marta Herman

Abaujszanto, Hungary

The younger of two daughters, Marta was raised by Hungarian-speaking Jewish parents in Kosice, a city in Slovakia. Marta attended a Jewish elementary school. Her father ran a small grocery store.

1933-39: After I finished elementary school, I began secondary school. The language of instruction was Slovak and Jews faced no discrimination until November 1938 when Hungarian troops marched into southern Slovakia. With Germany's blessing, Kosice became part of Hungary and was renamed Kassa. Our new Hungarian rulers introduced anti-Jewish laws, and as a result my father was forced to give up his store.

1940-44: Our family had a difficult time making ends meet. To support us, my father kept his grocery business going in violation of Hungarian law. At the beginning of 1944 he was finally caught and arrested. A month after the Germans occupied Hungary, my mother and I were forced to assemble in a nearby brick factory; we were deported to Auschwitz in May 1944 along with most of the Jews of Kosice. When we arrived in Auschwitz, my mother was sent to the gas chambers and I was selected for slave labor.

After her transfer to the Muehldorf subcamp of Dachau, Marta was freed in Tutzing by U.S. troops on May 1, 1945, and quickly returned home. She emigrated to the United States in 1968.

 

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