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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Desider Stern - 19th March '44 and afterwards...

It was a sunday.

Nazi Germany invades Hungary.

SS-Nazi Leutnant Colonel Adolf Eichmann is sent to Hungary to organise the tracking of "Jews" village per village and their deportation in wagons to Auschwitz.

Desider Stern was still at the labor camp where not a lot changed.
The plans of the Nazi were not known yet...

The other detainees wished Desider Stern to be assigned to the kitchen.
Before, most of the men were eating outside... now it was all different: Nobody was allowed out of the camp.
The kitchen had to cater for all the 240 detainees.
He was looking that no food was smuggled out, and that the portion were for each one equal.
Mr. Stern had a Grillux in a locker in the kitchen and was cooking for himself.
He was paying for the food he ate to the cooks, who were surprised... that was not usual (not even salt he dared to take).

At the company there was a jewish representative. Mr. Stern didn't like him much.
One day this representative reported to the officer that Mr. Stern very often spent some extended time outside the camp.
One of the 4 Officers (there was 4 groups of 60 "Jew"), to penalize him said to him: "Stern, today you stay here, and Gottlieb will go to the main train station".

Worth to notice, is that more and more often, mainly in the morning and in the night, the "bombing plane alarms" were going off.
Most of the detainees were going to the bunkers... returning when the danger was gone.
Desider Stern always stayed at his work place... he always spent the nights alone there.
There was a water reservoir next to the train station where a guard was securing the place.
During and after the alarms, Mr. Stern was going to the water reservoir to sit with the guard.

On that day when Mr. Stern stayed for punishment, and Mr. Gottlieb was sent... A bomb hit the water reservoir. Both Mr. Gottlieb and the guard died. Mr. Gottlieb was 6 years younger than Mr. Stern.

Another day, Mr. Stern was in the kitchen... and a 500Kg bomb could be heard coming... quickly did he protect himself under the kitchen stone table. The bomb hit the adjacent street... leaving a hole where a house could fit. Mr. Stern felt the air pressure wave.

In August, a Sunday... no work. So the officers allowed them to lay on the grass.
All of a sudden, hundreds of planes in rank and files, were coming towards the train station.
They started to drop their bombs at the beginning of the tracks.
Every 3 meter a bomb exploded, the wagons were full of ammunition.
The grenades and ammunition were exploding one after another: "Tac tac tac".
The whole area was in fire and ground level.

Afterwards, after the planes were gone... The officers asked who wants to go and bring order.
7 volunteered, Mr. Stern was one of them. Their building was so low that it wasn't undamaged.
He admits that apart from smearing soot on his cheeks, he didn't do anything there.

A second company and a third one joined... the latest was formed with ethnic minorities, romani people and others. One of new men heard Mr. Stern speak German and asked: "What are you doing here?" Mr. Stern explained. The person was German, didn't want go to the SS and deserted: this is why he ended up assigned to a company. He asked "Can i do something for you?" and gave him his papers.

Everyone was working at bringing the train station back to function.

One of the Officers was a "Hungarian Nazi", his brother was squadron leader by Ferenc Szálasi - the head of the "Hungarian Nazis". This officer was very harassing and some workers came to Mr. Stern and asked him if he could make him unfit. Mr. Stern was still cook both for the patients and for the officers. Mr. Stern was given a laxative powder by a doctor and mixed it in his soup. An officer was standing behind him while he mixed the powder and asked Mr. Stern what he was doing. Mr. Stern couldn't speak of fear, but this officer didn't report the incident. The nasty officer ate the soup and spent the whole night on the toilet. In the morning, he came to Mr. Stern to say he was feeling not good. Mr. Stern offered to make a strong coffee with rum. The officer was unfit the whole day.

Mr. Stern left the compounds several times... always walking like a disabled man. The reason was that a bookmaker, a small man, was working across the street and had X legs and was never controlled in the street... there was not a lot of civilians walking on the street at the time, and it was quite risky for a young man to walk on the streets where patrols were making controls.

Once, Mr. Stern came head to head with a military & police patrol... a tramway passed near him slowing down at a crossing because the driver was not sure if a bus would let him go... and Mr. Stern jumped on the tramway... escaping the situation.

Another time, Mr. Stern was on a bridge, an officer walking before him... Mr. Stern saw from afar a 2 men patrol... so Mr. Stern went aside the Officer and did as if he belonged to him. The patrol didn't notice him.

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