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Oral history interview with Ervin Heksh

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.25 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0025

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

Ervin Heksh, born in a village 60 km northwest of Budapest, Hungary, describes how there were few Jewish families in his village; having a happy and active childhood; not being able to attend a university and going to yeshiva instead; entering his father’s grain business; the rise in antisemitism after 1935; his father being forced to take on a partner; the deportation of many Jews and his near deportation because he bought a house that a Hungarian gendarme wanted to buy; being sent to a forced labor camp in Crimea, Ukraine in 1942; witnessing many instances of brutality; being transferred to Belopolye, Ukraine in October 1942; working through a harsh winter, which few of the men survived; the cruel commander; a group of Italian prisoners joining his unit in Belopolye and the kindness they showed to Jewish prisoners; working at a hospital in the Bryansk forest; returning home that summer, where he found his family and his son, who had been born while he was in Russia; working for a while as a traveling salesman; the creation of the ghetto in Budapest, where his parents, wife, and son were confined; working in a mine; he and some friends being arrested and placed in the ghetto when they were caught sneaking in to visit their families; being taken out of the ghetto to work; being arrested and sent to a labor camp, which he escaped; finding his wife and child in a Red Cross community; being deported to Bergen-Belsen; hearing rumors that they would be sent to Switzerland as part of a special exchange; being evacuated to Theresienstadt in April 1945; their train being stopped between stations and the SS guards abandoning them; being liberated the next day; spending time in Hildenheim, Germany; returning to Budapest; learning that his parents died at Auschwitz and his wife died at Bergen-Belsen after liberation; finding his son in Budapest, living with his wife's parents; his son dying from illness when he was two years old; secretly crossing the border into Germany and living in several refugee camps; working for the UNRRA; eventually remarrying; going to the US in 1948; working at a plumbing supply company; his son and daughter; and his reasons for sharing his story.

Interviewee
Ervin Heksh
Interviewer
Lyn Silberman
Date
1985 January 07  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section