Oral History

Barbara Marton Farkas describes arriving in Sweden at the end of the war with the aid of the Red Cross

Barbara was born in the province of Arad in northern Transylvania, Romania. She went to school until the Hungarian army occupied the area in 1940 and she was no longer allowed to attend. After the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, discrimination against Jews intensified. Barbara and her family were forced into the Oradea ghetto. She worked in the ghetto hospital until she was deported to the Auschwitz camp. At Auschwitz, she worked in the kitchens to receive extra food. She was deported to another camp, and later forced on a death march. Toward the war's end, the Red Cross rescued Barbara. She returned to Arad after World War II and worked as a biochemist.


The ship debark in Malmo, that the southern, um, port of Sweden. In Malmo also they put in some Red Cross trucks, and they take us in a forest, some military camp was there somehow, because they were tents. And that, there they disinfected us. They took, take all our clothes, they look over our body, body, they wash us, two persons wash us on a, on a bed, a rubber bed, because we have, I have, I was so skinny that I couldn't wash myself. And, uh, because I have so many lice, um, pinches on my skin, the doctor thought that I have scabies, and they put a note on my wrist: scabies. And I said, "I'm sorry, it's not scabies, because I know that scabies is itching," and I didn't feel any itching. And I said, "These are lice pinches." Anyway, they put some, uh, sulf-solution on my body, they wash it, they put some DDT on my head, because my hair, where I had a little hair on, uh, they put the DDT on my head. They made a turban with the towel. And they give us very nice clothes: a coat, nice shoes, everything new.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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