Oral history interview with Stephen Akerman
- Mr. Stephen Akerman
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jane Akerman
Stephen Akerman, born June 1, 1919 in Turi Paseka, Czechoslovakia (now Tur’ia Pasivka, Ukraine), describes his schooling in Uzhhorod, Czechoslovakia (now in Ukraine); the limits placed on the number of Jews admitted to universities in 1938; attending a university in Brno, studying engineering agronomy, from October 1938 until March 1939; being forcibly thrown from the building by Nazi students on the day Hitler visited the city; returning home and finding that his town was occupied by the Hungarian army; not being allowed to work; moving to Budapest, Hungary in 1940; working for a Jewish firm as an assistant in a plumbing installation; the anti-Jewish laws passed in Hungary; being taken into a forced labor company in July 1942 and sent with 200 men to Zhlobin, Belarus near the eastern front; doing menial labor for the Germans, digging trenches and felling trees; being with the work company for two and a half years; being forced to march through mine-laced areas; the horrible conditions he faced during this time; being beaten occasionally by the commander of the work company; how in November 1944 his company was turned over to the German SS by the Hungarian army; being sent in cattle cars from Kielce, Poland to Flossenbürg concentration camp; being forced to remain naked for two weeks; conditions in the camp, including the sleeping quarters and day-to-day life; the hanging of some Russian prisoners; his will to survive; working in a nearby quarry; volunteering to go to Niederoderwitz; working the night shift with the electric ovens, extruding long cables from metal rods; life in the camp; being escorted to and from work through the city and being mistreated by the German commander in front of the civilian onlookers; being able to maintain some level of cleanliness; being forced to evacuate in March 1945; being taken partially by train and then by foot to Litomerice concentration camp; working in construction; contracting typhoid dysentery in April 1945; being placed in the camp hospital; the liquidation of the hospital at the end of April and being loaded onto a cattle car, where they remained for three days before walking to Theresienstadt; being liberated by the Russian army in May 1945; spending a week in a Russian field hospital; going to Prague for three weeks; returning home and finding out that his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (45 family members) perished in Auschwitz; his four sisters’ return from Auschwitz; the looting and destruction of their home; going with his sisters to the US Zone of Germany, where they lived in a displaced persons camp; and immigrating to the US in 1947.
Record last modified: 2018-08-09 10:32:50
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