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Oral history interview with Emrich Gonczi

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.321 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0321

Emrich Gonczi, born in 1925 in Ivanka Pri Nitre, Czechoslovakia (presently Slovakia), discusses being one of two children; cordial relations with non-Jews; attending a local elementary school; high school in Nitra; anti-Jewish laws in March 1939, resulting in school expulsion; training as a dental assistant; confiscation of the family business; deportation by Hlinka guard to Sered in March 1942, then a week later to Majdanek; slave labor building a camp; arrival of his uncle, then his father in April; arranging to be together; observing an officer smothering his uncle in mud; having to sing the “camp song” while marching (he sings it); volunteering with his father and other relatives for transport elsewhere; a prisoner assisting him upon arrival at Auschwitz; slave labor excavating land; an SS guard shooting his father; having to carry his body back to camp; losing his will to live; a cousin encouraging him; deciding to live to take revenge; a privileged assignment in the carpentry shop in summer 1942; assistance from a Polish political prisoner; Slovak women throwing extra food over the fence; sharing it with his relatives; injuring his hand; assistance from a German guard; hospitalization; selection for death; being exempted after Emil De Martini, a German prisoner, notified Dr. Eduard Wirths of his “medical” training; assignment as a medical assistant; improved food and living conditions; learning all his relatives had “disappeared”; increased responsibilities, including assisting in surgeries by mid-1943; transporting prisoners from surgical castrations by Dr. Wladyslaw Dering; saving a friend by switching his registration card with a dead person's; transporting bodies of two hundred Polish officers who were shot in early 1943; having to bring patients to Josef Klehr for killing by injection (he testified against him after the war); envisioning his father's killing which strengthened his resolve to survive despite constant exposure to killings and corpses; distributing smuggled medications; transfer to a laboratory in Rajsko supervised by Dr. Bruno Weber; discovering that shipments of animal meat from which he created cultures was human flesh; a beating for leaving a faucet open resulting in a flood; providing morphine to a German addict in exchange for food for his unit; burning all the files as ordered prior to the January 1945 death march to open train cars; posing as a non-Jew upon arrival at Mauthausen; transfer two weeks later to Ebensee; slave labor building tunnels; volunteering as a medical assistant; learning all prisoners were to be killed in the tunnels; spreading this information so no one entered the tunnels; abandonment by the guards; impromptu killings for revenge; liberation by United States troops the next day; traveling to Bratislava; retrieving a hidden Jewish boy; reunions with relatives; returning to Nitra; reporting the Hlinka guard who put him on a transport (he was not punished); moving to Teplice; marriage in 1945; training as a dentist; testifying at the Frankfurt war crime trials; immigration to Israel in 1963; the many individuals connected with medical facilities in Auschwitz and Rajsko; sharing his experience in Czechoslovakia after the war and the disinterest in it in Israel; and the continuing painful memories and nightmares.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Emrich Gonczi
interview:  1997 January 16
13 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-08-03 11:26:24
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