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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Desider Stern - 25th Apr. '43 - 19th March '44 - Part 1

The business "Román" flourished: glass from Belgium, Crystal Glass from Bohemia, Ceramics from Gmunden...

Desider Stern officiated as salesman, visiting the customers... introducing himself as Josef Stehr.
(Josef being his second name and maybe sound less hungarian, Stehr to sound more german)

In 1943, another poster was hanging in the streets of Budapest:

On the 25th of April, every "Jew" between 16 and 60 years old has to gather on the parade place with backpack and blanket.

Desider Stern asked himself if he should go... and finally went.

At his arrival on the place, Desider Stern found himself among a few thousand other "Jew".
(Click here and zoom to see the size of this gigantic place)

Each was asked what his occupation was.

To each group of 240 "Jew" working company, a tailor and a shoemaker were needed.

It was D. Stern's turn and the squadron leader asked him for his Job, to which he answered: "ingenieur".

He told him to go to another group where 10 men where already seating on the floor.

After all companies were sent one after one the all day long... the major came to the group of 12-13, asked himself what he should make of them and told them to present themselves on the next day at 9am.

Each one went home to meet on the next day... they were sent to a city 2 hours away from Budapest: Jászberény.

They were told to sleep in a former stable.

The whole company was made of skilled workers.
Desider Stern and another men from Romania were the only 2 that couldn't speak Magyar.

The lieutenant told him to report the day after in Magyar.

Desider Stern learned all day... and tells the phrase he learned by heart.

The lieutenant was very impressed that a day before, he couldn't speak a word.

And slowly, D. Stern was learning Magyar (only 10 out of the 200+ could speak german).

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