Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Bleiman

Elizabeth Bleiman, nee Zuckerman, was born July 10, 1921 into a modern Orthodox family in Ófehértó, Hungary and completed elementary school there. She attended Jewish high school in Debrecen until 1937 and returned home, where all of her family suffered from antisemitic government restrictions. After German occupation in March 1944, they were deported to the Kisvarda Ghetto. She details their transport to Auschwitz in July 1944, her separation from her parents during selection by Dr. Mengele, and the harsh conditions in the camp, starvation rations and being advised by an elderly German prisoner to try to escape via transport. She describes how she and a friend got into a transport and were moved to Stutthof, the terribly crowded conditions and prisoners getting burned from standing in the sun all day during Appells. She again escaped via transport with a friend, this time to Praust, where they were forced to install cables for a new airport. She describes that French prisoners would write them uplifting notes indicating that the Russians were advancing and to hold on to life. She details cruel conditions of a forced march to Danzig.

Liberated by Russians in February 1945, she was hospitalized for two months with typhus. After recovery, she and a friend foraged for food, shelter and clothing in abandoned houses as they traveled from Danzig to Hungary. In Ófehértóshe found her family home was occupied by non-Jewish refugees but she recovered some gold and other valuables buried by her father before his deportation. In 1946 she moved to Germany to live in an American displaced persons camp, where she married a Lithuanian Jew in 1947 and they emigrated to the United States in 1949,. Elizabeth refers to continuing antisemitism in Hungary despite a new liberal constitution.

Date: 03/26/1981
Interviewer: Marian Salkin
Interviewee: Elizabeth Bleiman
Language: English
Subject: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish
Location: Ófehértó, Hungary
Debrecen, Hungary
Kisvárda Ghetto
Auschwitz concentration camp
Stutthof concentration camp
Gdansk, Poland
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