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Oral history interview with Lilly Goldner

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.177.2 | RG Number: RG-50.677.0002

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Lilly Goldner (née Josefovitz), born in 1926 in Újfehértó, Hungary, discusses her Hasidic town and school; growing up in a happy family; being the eighth child of 16 children; the religious inspiration behind her father purchasing the family store; Passover; her family making kosher wine; being 16 years old and hearing that Czechoslovakian Jews were expelled and the disbelief of the town to this news; the order for all the Jews of Újfehértó to stay home; their expulsion and her family's anguish as they were herded into horse-driven buggies; her memories of her best friend, who was a non-Jew, crying as they left; the separation of the women and the men; never seeing her father again; doing forced labor in a tobacco drying barn in Simapuszta, Hungary (a small area in Békés County); doing forced labor in Nyírbátor, Hungary for six weeks; protecting her mother; surviving on bread and potatoes; being transported for two-days by cattle car to Auschwitz; the hostility she endured while assisting her grandmother off the train; seeing men in striped suits; her intitial experiences in the camp, including having her hair cut, being given soap, showering, and dressing in a simple dress; the miserable barracks conditions; how when the women slept they all had to turn at same time; finding Dr. Josef Mengele handsome but seeing him take all of the twins; witnessing pregnant women giving birth and seeing their babies taken away; seeing her 29 year old sister and two year old nephew being taken away and never seeing them again; being taken with 300 other girls to the crematory naked, and then returning to the barracks; being transported to the Weisswasser factory; the conditions in the barracks, including the cold showers; the limited conversation with other inmates, but having a Hanukkah observance; the dangerous forced labor conditions, making glass radio bulbs; having two meals a day, including breakfast (piece of bread and coffee) and soup for lunch; the punishment for stealing potatoes; experiencing a five day "death walk" and stealing bread from pig feed to survive; witnessing assaults by Irma Grese; the infrequent kindness from another woman guard who allowed the singing of Jewish melodies; being transport to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (Celle, Germany); the deaths of half the prisoners; finding two of her cousins alive; stealing potato peels for oldest cousin, who was too weak to walk; feeling optimistic when she heard bombings; witnessing gratuitous shootings after liberation; the British troops' well-intended delivery of beans to the emaciated, which caused the deaths of some of the inmates; her husband's experience seeing General Eisenhower in a camp and hearing him say, "You are free"; reuniting with two of her brothers; rebuilding her life; getting married and immigrating to the United States; her visit back to Hungary; and her closing message to her grandchildren.

Interviewee
Ms. Lilly Goldner
Date
2011 March 09  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
This testimony was recorded through a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University
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Record last modified: 2018-04-09 11:38:34
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn44093