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Oral history interview with Magdalena Farkas Berkovics

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2009.318 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0177

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    Oral history interview with Magdalena Farkas Berkovics


    Interview Summary
    Magdalena Farkas Berkovics, born on July 15, 1919 in Cluj, Romania, discusses her childhood, schooling and musical training in a conservatory; experiencing low level antisemitism; getting married in 1939; living in her house in the Cluj ghetto with other women after the city’s Jewish men had been taken away for forced labor; conditions in the ghetto, including food scarcity and the black market; providing piano lessons to Christian children; being deported in June 1944; terrible conditions in the train car; her arrival at Auschwitz; being separated from her family except for one 25-year-old cousin; how her clothes were taken away and her hair removed; going to Stutthof in August 1944 and then digging ditches in Steinort (Sztynort, Poland), Elbing (Elbląg, Poland), and Groudentz; speaking about freedom with the other women and singing Hungarian songs; being liberated and traveling to Satu Mare, Romania, where Jewish volunteers helped her return to Cluj; how she found Christians living in her house and learned that she was the only survivor in her family; marrying, Zoltan Berkovics, in 1946; the birth of their son, Tiberius, who later changed his name to John Sylvanis because of antisemitism in Romania; how Communists nationalized her house and forced her to pay rent; teaching in the Romanian conservatory for 30 years; immigrating with her husband to the United States in the 1980s; and feeling very grateful for American liberty and democracy.
    Magdalena Farkas Berkovics
    Gail Schwartz
    interview:  2009 October 15

    Physical Details

    2 digital files : WAV.

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    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch conducted the interview with Magdalena Farkas Berkovics on October 15, 2009. The interview was received by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives Branch in January 2010.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:12:53
    This page:

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