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Oral history interview with Veronika Roth Varga

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.8 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0008

Veronika Varga (née Roth), born in 1921 in Hungary, near Kisvarda, speaks about her childhood, her father’s work as a bank manager and his sudden death in 1928; moving to a new house (Horthy 28 in Kisvarda); her extended family and schooling; having an ordinary life in the pre-war years and early 1940s; the Jewish community of Kisvarda; their disbelief of news or personal reports of antisemitic actions elsewhere; her marriage in April 1944 to a member of the Hungarian army, a “sad wedding” as carts bringing people from the country to the new ghetto passed by the window; gendarmes seizing her mother’s house, just inside the ghetto perimeter, the following day and moving more people into it; the brief, six-week-long existence of the Kisvarda ghetto and cruel treatment by the gendarmerie; deportation in June 1944 to Auschwitz, where her mother and grandmother perished; conditions in camp; being selected for a work detail; being taken to Birkenau; being disinfected with other women; traveling to Stutthof and their quarters there; living in a tent at Ollec; doing hard labor during a cold winter, digging ditches for cables, and her role as Blockälteste; the Germans fleeing in January 1945 and her escape with the woman who was Blockälteste for 50B; staying in various houses as they made their way out of Poland; walking and riding in wagons and Russian trucks; searching for her brother, Ivan, at a camp in Krakow; going to Red Cross in Kosice, Slovakia and learning her husband, Imre, had survived; returning to Hungary and reuniting with Imre at his house in Nyíregyháza; visiting Kisvarda only to see her father’s grave; the birth of their daughter, Zsofia, in 1946; losing everything again, this time to the Communists; changing their surname to Varga to obtain visas; and immigrating to Australia in 1958. (Near the end of the interview, she displays two documents, a permit to travel through Poland and a Red Cross paper from Czechoslovakia to facilitate travel.)

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Varga, Veronika Roth
Goodwach, Raie
interview:  1995 November 28
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..