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Columbus Street Camp

More & more as I go on in life, I want to give credit to my mother for some kind of inborn instinct or wisdom that probably women have more than men. She had a sense of what dangers lay ahead. Whereas the average Jewish person or family by this time acquired the mentality of ‘As long as we do as we’re told, we’re OK.’ ‘Don’t rattle the bush’, kind of thing. Don’t go outside your own sphere of ability & power. She must have been looking to see what is to come. And realised that the Yellow Star houses were just a 1st step towards rounding up people, putting them on trains to Auschwitz & other camps. By then there were 2 locations that had names. 1 was a railway station called Kistarcsa. The other was just referred to as the Téglagyár, the brick factory. Those two words entered my world. They achieved a kind of symbolism, the kind of penultimate danger. She was aware of that. And she though that staying in the Yellow Star house was going to be dangerous. And she was absolutely right, of course.

All of a sudden a lorry comes, and we are told to get in. So we get on this lorry -about sixty people - the Bernstein’s and ourselves, and the lorry drives out. There- there is- there are no gendarmes on the lorry. There is an SS. And we are going. And we realise that we are going into town, not away from town, into town. I mean, even as a child I could recognise the buildings and- and, you know, and I knew, I mean, I’d been there before- not all the way to Budakalász, but I’d been on- on- on that side. We are going into town. Next thing we know we arrive at a building which I also knew. It was the Jewish Deaf and Dumb Institute. And we go into the back entrance and there are hundreds of people there. And we got off of this- this- this lorry. And they say- they say- we are being welcomed, and how nice, and you know, “congratulations you are here” and- and- and we are fed. That was the camp established by Kasztner, with, I mean, not by Kasztner in the sense, just as an individual, by the Zionist Defence League, by the Va’ad. And they collaborated with Eichmann, in removing people of their choice from the camps. So we had people there from all over the country.

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