Oral History Interview with Malvina Gerlich Eisner

Malvina Gerlich Eisner, born in Svidnika, Czechoslovakia, on August 24, 1924, describes her father, who was a grocer; being the second of nine children; the death of all of her siblings and her parents during the war; going to live with her grandparents when she was six years old to attend school in Bardéjov, Slovakia; hiding with three cousins to escape the first roundup in 1942; hiding the woods and then in her grandparents’ apartment after their deportation; being reported along with her friends in June 1942; being arrested and taken to Auschwitz and then Birkenau, where she stayed until October 1944; conditions in Auschwitz-Birkenau, including the brutal roll calls and selections; working as part of kommandos (work groups) removing corpses, delivering food to the sick blocks, and picking up trash; avoiding a selection purely by chance; getting very sick and surviving because the other girls fed her and covered for her; Passover observance and a Seder at Auschwitz; transports arriving from Hungary constantly; her group being taken to a camp in Hindenburg, run by the S.S. in the fall of 1944; the inmates being evacuated on foot and in box cars to Bergen-Belsen; being liberated by the British Army on April 15, 1945; feeling proud that she and the other girls preserved their humanity; and the names of her siblings and close family members who were murdered.

Date: 04/22/1985
Interviewer: Gladys Bernstein
Interviewee: Malvina Gerlich Eisner
Language: English
Subject: Concentration camp inmates--Medical care.
Concentration camp inmates--Religious life.
Concentration camp inmates--Selection process.
Forced labor.
Hiding places--Slovakia.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Czechoslovakia--Personal narratives.
Roll calls.
Women concentration camp inmates.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Czechoslovakia.
Women--Personal narratives.
Geographic Name
Bardejov (Slovakia)
Lower Saxony (Germany)
Svidnička (Slovakia)
Zabrze (Poland)
Location: Svidnička, Slovakia
Bardejov, Slovakia
Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp
Hindenburg concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-malvina-gerlich-eisner/
PDF Transcript: