Oral History

Agate (Agi) Rubin describes events following the German occupation of Hungary

In April 1944, after the German occupation of Hungary, Agi, her mother, six-year-old brother, and aunt were forced into the Munkacs ghetto. Before deportation to Auschwitz, Agi was forced to work in the ghetto's brick factory. At Auschwitz, Agi, then 14 years old, was chosen as part of a Sonderkommando. This forced-labor detachment had to sort the clothing and possessions of inmates and victims at Auschwitz. In January 1945, Agi and other prisoners were forced on a death march from Auschwitz. She was liberated by Soviet forces in April/May 1945.


It came very suddenly although the atmosphere was there. I mean, we sensed that things weren't right from the beginning of the year already. Schools were closed. Uh, life was just not what it used to be. We wore yellow stars to be singled out as Jews, and um, when the Germans occupied--this was Hungary at the time--the Germans took over the city, and in no time we were just, uh, told to pack a 5-kilo package, and, um, they marched us, by foot...or on foot to the brick factory in our own hometown. We lived there under very meager, uh, circumstances. Uh, my aunt, I remember, improvised a, a sled for a bedroom. We had our own pillows, and slept under the sky, but we had the sled to protect us from the sides. We built our own, uh, by brick...we built up the bricks. And I remember my mother's concern that her child had to work so hard, and, uh, we stayed there uh for four weeks. And one night, which was in April...and everything always happened when it was dark out. We were ordered to line up. Before we knew we were in the cattle cars, taken to work, per se. Unknown to us, we arrived to famous Auschwitz, still didn't know where we were going. My mother's only concern on the trip to Auschwitz in the cattle car was--where we had our own little corner, my mother, my aunt, my brother was 6 years old at the time--her only concern was my father's well-being, and myself, and her words were, I hope you'll not have to be, uh, you, they don't , you don't have to starve, or you don't have to be hungry ever, because I know you get headaches, my child.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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