Oral History

Agate (Agi) Rubin describes the role of interpersonal bonds in surviving the Auschwitz camp

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.


I adopted my girlfriend's mother. They survived together. My girlfriend that we went to kindergarten on, we were friends, up until today, uh, her sister and her mother, I, I don't, we just blended in I, the minute I stayed alone and we found each other at dusk, and we just formed a family. Just by instinct. My, from my own emotional standpoint, I felt lucky that here I had somebody to care for, and never asking whether she will care for me. I wanted to care for somebody else. And I truly am able to tell you that this is the only thing that gave me more strength or gave me the strength, because I had a responsibility. For myself alone, I had no responsibility because I was only I, which meant nothing. To be alone, you are nothing. But here again, I was able to have a responsibility, and that kept me going.




  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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