(This entry in particular, precedes the one entitled “The Train.” My reasoning for writing that ,out-of-order was to gauge the interest in these memoirs. I am very happy to see there is a lot: thank you it means very much to me. Originally when I had written it the title was “The Train to Hell,” perhaps it would have been more fitting. Never-the-less, it is what it is. From this point forward the memoirs start at my fathers arrival at the POW/Labor camp. Kati~)
Our journey to the labor camps was not an easy one, filled with much suffering and struggle for myself and my fellow Hungarians. We were forced to walk for many miles with little rest and food to different holding camps, before our final destination in Russia. The Russians had set up many “holding camps,” to gather prisoners before shipment to a more permanent camp. The first two where I was kept in eastern Hungary near Miskolc and the second in the outskirts of Hungary near the Russian border. I saw many horrors and injustices against the Hungarian people during my journey.
We came upon many farmhouses and homes that the Russian forcefully occupied. Taking any and all food to feed themselves and us their prisoners and left nothing behind. One night we stopped at a farmhouse with a woman and her son. They only had two hens left for food but they were taken anyway. People were forced out of their homes to make room for Russian soldiers and officers. They slaughtered every nearby animal in sight. When a Russian unit set up a post in a village or town, the men under sixty years of age were used as force labor to dig ditches and so forth. Older women were forced to cook for officers and enlisted alike. The younger women were treated worse. They endured horrifying acts of rape and brutality inflicted upon them by the Russian soldiers. Some of them willingly gave themselves, hoping to get offerings of food, anything to survive. Other women were hidden by family members to avoid being raped.
There was many of us who didn’t even survive the trip to the holding stations. Some died of disease, malnutrition and others were killed during attempted escapes. None of us really had any idea of what was to come, if we would survive and when if ever we would return to our homeland.
We saw our country being torn apart piece by piece and there was nothing we could do!