Oral History Interview with Sylvia Ebner

Sylvia Ebner, born September 10, 1929, in Bodrogkisfalud, Hungary, describes her education, relations with non-Jews, and learning to cope with children who stoned her on her way to school; the German invasion in March 1944; how the persecution and anti-Jewish measures increased; being taken with her family to the Satoraljaujhely ghetto with Jews from several other towns; the looting of their house as soon as they walked out; several incidents of extreme brutality by Germans; being transported to Auschwitz in cattle cars and their dehumanization; her parents managing to observe Shabbat and her father trying to prepare Sylvia to cope with what she had to face; arriving at Auschwitz in May 1944 and going through processing and selections; the gassing of her mother and other relatives in trucks; being marched to Birkenau; the horrible conditions, the smell from the crematorium, and how they tried to survive; working as a slave laborer in Brzézinka also known as “Canada”, sorting belongings taken from Jews; risking her life to smuggle food to her cousin; how the starving girls were offered food on fast days such as Tisha B’ Av but refused to eat because the food was not kosher; getting scarlet fever and being hospitalized in a Revier (sick quarters) for six weeks; surviving seven selections; seeing Dr. Mengele operate without any anesthesia; seeing a Christian woman kill her newborn baby to save him from Mengele’s experiments; how the Germans drained large amounts of blood from girls who survived typhus or scarlet fever to make serums; recovering and working as a slave laborer; doing heavy-duty work; being transferred to a factory in Ober Hohenelbe, Sudeten, Germany (Hořejší Vrchlabí, Czech Republic); how the German woman in charge risked her life to find food for the prisoners; being liberated by Russian troops on May 1, 1945; returning to Hungary and receiving aid from the Joint Distribution Committee; and escaping from Hungary and immigrating to Canada.

Date: 02/14/2001
Interviewer: Gloria M. Schwartz
Interviewee: Sylvia Ebner
Language: English
Subject: Antisemitism--Hungary.
Concentration camp inmates--Medical care.
Concentration camp inmates--Religious life.
Concentration camp inmates--Selection process.
Forced labor.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Hungary--Personal narratives.
Human experimentation in medicine--Poland.
Jewish children in the Holocaust.
Jewish ghettos--Hungary--Sátoraljaújhely.
Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Hungary.
Judaism--Customs and practices.
Kosher food.
Women concentration camp inmates.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Czech Republic.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Poland.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Hungary.
Women--Personal narratives.
Bodrogkisfalud (Hungary)
Canada--Emigration and immigration.
Hořejší Vrchlabí (Vrchlabí, Czech Republic)
Oświęcim (Poland)
Sátoraljaújhely (Hungary)
Vrchlabí (Czech Republic)
Ebner, Sylvia, 1929-
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Birkenau (Concentration camp)
Kanada I (Concentration camp)
Ober-Hohenelbe (Concentration camp)
Location: Bodrogkisfalud, Hungary
Satoraljaujhely Ghetto
Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-sylvia-ebner/