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3. Ghettoes

Living conditions in the ghetto in Cluj, Romania

Magda Herzberger was finishing high school when the German-sympathizing Hungarian government set up a Jewish ghetto in the outskirts of her hometown

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"Well, it was located in the outskirts of the city. And it use to be the site of an old Greek factory, you know, in Cluj. And that's where we were taken.

Well, it was located in the outskirts of the city, and it used to be the site of an old brick factory, you know, in Cluj. And that's where we were taken.

And we had absolutely no accommodations, because we didn't even have a tent. We were out in the open, and I thought this was very cruel to do.

We were just lying on the ground and we had very, very little food and very little fluids and they kept us under terrible hygienic conditions, terrible.

You know I remember one happening that I can never forget. One day, it was in the ghetto, they were numbering us, whatever I think, and we had to stand in line there for a long time.

And it was an older lady who wanted to go to the restroom, they were outdoor toilets, there was no restrooms of this sort. And she really had hardships in keeping it in and she went back to the Hungarian policeman there, it was a Hungarian Gendarme, we call them.

And she said she had to go out and he blurted out loud, 'Well then make it in your pants! You are not going to get out.'

I can never forget that. You know, I can never forget the treatment that we got in those ghettos.

And they lied again to us, that we are going to be taken in labor camps, families together, and they threatened us that if anyone is going to be escaping, is going to be shot or put in prison. Maybe it's true, but I think that if I would have known where we go, I would have risked that. I would have tried to escape from the ghettos one way or another. I think I would have done it.

And many of us, if we could have known what is coming, we would not have stayed there and wait to be transported in the camps. You know, I am so outraged now when I think back."

Herzberger Interview, Tape 6, Side 1
Transcript page 49 (PDF, 3.9 MB)

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