Oral History

Francis Akos describes experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust

After the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944, Francis was deported to Neuengamme, a concentration camp located on the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany. Later, as Allied forces advanced, Francis and other prisoners were transported from Neuengamme. They were placed on a cargo ship which sailed into Luebeck Bay, where the prisoners were crowded onto the "Cap Arcona." The "Cap Arcona" and other ships were bombed in early May 1945. Francis was rescued and came ashore in the German town of Neustadt, where British troops forced the inhabitants to provide survivors with food and clothes. Francis, a musician, then worked in the British officers' mess. He returned to Budapest in September 1945, and eventually immigrated to the United States.


Starting with nothing, starting with absolutely, not a document, not, not, uh, identification, uh, not a piece of clothes. That, that's how we, we started life after, after the war, at least I did, and, and, uh, the survivors. And, uh, the British was, were, were very helpful and, uh, very trusty, trusting. If I would have said, "I'm XYZ, from Poland, and I don't speak, uh, German," they would have had to believe me because I had--nobody had anything to prove. I told them who I was, I told them where I came from, I told them I want to go to, to the west and they believed me, and they, they wrote out documents to that effect, because there was no other way to, to, uh, to prove anything. So, uh, we did not know much what was going on. I was lucky because, uh, I spoke a little English, so I got, I got a job in the British, uh, officers' mess.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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