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Oral history interview with Sylvia Ebner

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.104 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0104

Sylvia Ebner, born September 10, 1929, in Bodrogkisfalud, Hungary, describes her education, relations with non-Jews, and learning to cope with children who stoned her on her way to school; the German invasion in March 1944; how the persecution and anti-Jewish measures increased; being taken with her family to the Satoraljaujhely ghetto with Jews from several other towns; the looting of their house as soon as they walked out; several incidents of extreme brutality by Germans; being transported to Auschwitz in cattle cars and their dehumanization; her parents managing to observe Shabbat and her father trying to prepare Sylvia to cope with what she had to face; arriving at Auschwitz in May 1944 and going through processing and selections; the gassing of her mother and other relatives in trucks; being marched to Birkenau; the horrible conditions, the smell from the crematorium, and how they tried to survive; working as a slave laborer in Brzézinka also known as “Canada”, sorting belongings taken from Jews; risking her life to smuggle food to her cousin; how the starving girls were offered food on fast days such as Tisha B’ Av but refused to eat because the food was not kosher; getting scarlet fever and being hospitalized in a Revier (sick quarters) for six weeks; surviving seven selections; seeing Dr. Mengele operate without any anesthesia; seeing a Christian woman kill her newborn baby to save him from Mengele’s experiments; how the Germans drained large amounts of blood from girls who survived typhus or scarlet fever to make serums; recovering and working as a slave laborer; doing heavy-duty work; being transferred to a factory in Ober Hohenelbe, Sudeten, Germany (Hořejší Vrchlabí, Czech Republic); how the German woman in charge risked her life to find food for the prisoners; being liberated by Russian troops on May 1, 1945; returning to Hungary and receiving aid from the Joint Distribution Committee; and escaping from Hungary and immigrating to Canada.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ebner, Sylvia
interview:  2001 February 14
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:10:41
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