Oral History Interview with Anna Berenholz

Anna Berenholz, nee Bohorochaner, one of six children was born on June 28, 1924 in Yasin(a), Czechoslovakia into a very observant Orthodox family. They were farmers. Anna describes pre-war Yasin, a small town of 15,000 of whom about 900 were Jews. Two of Anna’s brothers were in the Czech army but they crossed the border (1938) and joined the Russian army and survived. At 16, Anna was sent to a Hungarian military prison in Uzhgorod. After she was freed her parents sent her to Budapest, Hungary to work as a maid for a Jewish doctor, Dr. Rosenau.

In 1944 when Adolf Eichman came to Budapest conditions for Jews worsened. In April 1944 Anna’s parents were taken to a ghetto. Later, they along with her two other brothers died in Auschwitz, and her sister was shot in a protest in Bergen-Belsen. In the summer of 1944, Dr. Rosenau got her a passport to a Swedish house run by Raoul Wallenberg. But in December (1944) she was caught by the Germans and put on a death march. She was pulled out of the march along with other young Jews by orders of Raoul Wallenberg. She never met him but owes him her life. The Soviets freed Budapest on January 20, 1945 and since Anna spoke Russian, German, Czech, Hungarian and Yiddish, she worked for the Russian commandant as translator.
After the war she went back to Brno in Czechoslovakia to finish high school and study nursing. She volunteered for the Haganah (Zionist underground group), working to rescue Jewish orphans who had been hidden with Christian families. The Jewish Agency was offering $1,000 for each child and Anna was able to rescue 18. In May 1949, she took the orphans to Prague, then to Austria and Italy and then onto a freighter ship to Haifa. She stayed in Israel, marrying the boats’ engineer and several years later moved to the United States. Anna tried to contact Raoul Wallenberg to thank him but was unable to do so.

Date: 12/29/1990
Interviewer: Meta Joy Jacoby
Interviewee: Anna Berenholz
Language: English
Subject: Haganah
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Czechoslovakia
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hungary
Wallenberg, Raoul, 1912-1947.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives
Location: Yasinya, Ukraine
Uzhhorod, Ukraine
Budapest, Hungary
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