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Group portrait of a Jewish forced labor unit.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 75458

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    Group portrait of a Jewish forced labor unit.
    Group portrait of a Jewish forced labor unit.

Lajos Osztreicher is squatting on the left.


    Group portrait of a Jewish forced labor unit.

    Lajos Osztreicher is squatting on the left.
    1940 June 16
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Anna Osztreicher

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Anna Osztreicher

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Tibor Osztreichr is the son of Lajos and Olga (b. Grunspan, Satoraljaujhely) Osztreicher. He was born September 28, 1942 and soon after his father was sent to forced labor. Lajos received permission to return home for a short visit in 1943 but had to return to the labor camp by the summer. about late 1942 and was allowed to return to his family for a short while in 1943 leaving Tibor and Olga who was by then pregnant with a second child. They did not see each other again until after the liberation of Budapest in early February 1945. Lajos was taken to a camp Poland and was supposed to be sent to Sobibor. However he and six other prisoners escaped and went in Kassa where they found refuge in a farmhouse. The owner let them stay until liberation and provided them with the bare necessities for survival.

    In February 1944 Olga gave birth to a second son Ervin. One month later, Germany invaded Hungary. By late summer 1944 the three of them were forced out of their apartment and had to take residence in a small grocery store's storage closet with no electricity. By that time there was no food left in the store and Olga and Tibor subsisted for six weeks on whatever a gentile woman next door gave them. Olga's breast milk dried up and Ervin died from malnutrition. After his death, Tibor cried nonstop asking both for Ervin and bread. Then they were forced to march to the Ghetto in Kazinczi Utca many miles from the star house. A policeman saw them and offered to save Tibor, but Olga refused to give up her one surviving son. They lived in the ghetto, often starving, together with Lajos's two sisters and his mother until their liberation in January 1945. Olga occasionally obtained extra food for the family when she worked in the kitchen. In December someone stole Tibor's shoes, and he spent the last month of the war in stocking feet.

    Olga's two brothers, Sandor and Jozsef, survived in forced labor, and her two sisters and the parents were taken to Auschwitz where only her sister Ilonka survived. Lajos's three brothers Istvan, Laszlo and Zoltan survived forced labor. Istvan ended up in Siberia in a coal mine with his Nazi captors. It took two years for the Russians to grant amnesty to Jewish men who were in forced labor camps under the Hungarian captors. In 1948 the reunited family started to attend the Zionist organization PLUGA and some Israeli recruiters persuaded them to immigrate to Palestine. They sailed on a weapons transport ship and arrived in Haifa after a week at sea. Lajos worked as a dock worker but he found the climate and physical work too difficult to bear. In 1951 the family returned to Budapest. During the November 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the three brothers decided to escape with their families across the Austrian border. However, Russian soldiers caught them and sent them back to the Ják police station but the station was empty. The family rented rooms in a farmer's house for three days when they found a new guide who helped them find another escape route through the Pinka River. Six adults and three children (ages 1, 3, and 14 years old) swam across the ice cold river. When they got to the other side, the Austrian border guards were already waiting for the group. After staying in a refugee camp in Salzburg, they immigrated to the United States on the quota for 32,000 refugees.
    Record last modified:
    2014-09-10 00:00:00
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