Viola Fischerová (1922)

Photo: Viola Fischerová

Biography

“...and I was sent to the side of life. And now, unfortunately, I am here and I won’t find my place because it still haunts me. I cannot find peace of my mind.”

Viola Fischerová was born in 1922 in the town of Lučenec. When she was sixteen, Hungarians occupied Southern Slovakia. Together with her family they were forced to hide, to survive air attacks and huge mental pressure. Hungarians deprived them of their property, marked with the badge of yellow star, excluded them from society, and then transferred them into the ghetto where they treated them cruelly. All of them were beaten; girls were taken aside and raped. They couldn’t imagine that something even worse existed, but as a twenty-two-year-old she got off the cattle car in Auschwitz camp. There she met doctor Mengele for the first but not the last time. She was the victim of his pseudo-medical experiments. However, she survived. Later on, she was transferred to another camp where she induced other seven women and they managed to escape. While she struggled to survive in concentration camps, her future husband Juraj Fischer was the allied troop’s tank commander. He was present at Normandy landing on June 6, 1944. In 2004 he got the highest French honour - Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Viola Fischerová has never forgotten the hell she had lived through. It still haunts her.

Life in Ghetto

Viola Fischerová - Life in Ghetto (data format Flash Video)

“At night they came to me, took me to the Jewish school, battered me with the truncheon, it was horrible. I met a man there, his name was Adam Adamec and I recognized him and called his name. He looked at me and stopped beating me, but I had already been beaten black and blue. My arms and legs were whole swollen. And I´m not even talking about my mind.”

Cattle Cars

Viola Fischerová - Cattle Cars (data format Flash Video)

“They made cattle cars available and herded us into them. There were almost hundred people in one car and they gave us just two buckets. We had one for water and another one for ordure. As I was the youngest, I was assigned to empty the bucket with ordure out of the window. And I really did it, but the wind blew all that sewage into my face. That was what I looked like. Nobody would recognize me at all. Sometimes they opened the car and the bolder ones went out for water. But there was only death awaiting them.”

Arrival to Auschwitz

Viola Fischerová - Arrival to Auschwitz (data format Flash Video)

“And so we travelled. We asked them where we were going and they just told us we went to work. Though, everybody knew we went to a slaughterhouse. As they pushed us into those cars, they put a board there because there were no stairs, so they herded us over that board. My mammy couldn’t get there and fell down, they lifted her up, and finally she hardly came there. We came to Auschwitz camp and it was written there “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free). But it wasn’t true.”

The First Meeting with Doctor Josef Mengele

Viola Fischerová - The First Meeting with Doctor Josef Mengele (data format Flash Video)

“They drove us out of the car and sorted us out. Doctor Mengele did it. He stood next to the ramp, had an SS uniform, black gloves, white coat, SS cap, barrier went up and he pointed. Left or right. Without any problem. He asked nobody. I was sent to the side of death, but then he looked at me and called me back. I went with my mammy, he asked me how old I was and when I answered, he hit my mammy who fell down and was tumbling on the floor. Then he sent me to the side of life. And now, unfortunately, I am here and I won’t find my place because it still haunts me. I cannot find peace of my mind.”

Hair and Golden Teeth as the First Material to Be Processed

Viola Fischerová - Hair and Golden Teeth as the First Material to Be Processed (data format Flash Video)

“After coming to that Auschwitz they cut off our hair. I had very nice and long hair. They cut off our hair, took everything from us, unclothed us and they gave us another clothes, I got a dinner gown. An ambulance used to go there to repair teeth. However, they didn’t do that. They only looked into the mouth of prisoners and if they saw a golden tooth, they got it out.”

Looking at the Dreadful Death

Viola Fischerová - Looking at the Dreadful Death (data format Flash Video)

“Every day I had to kneel on the rocks and hold up a brick in my hands. It took the whole day. And now I am a beggar. Then we were transferred to one empty place where was a bonfire. And there three thousand Gypsies were burnt to death. And we had to watch it. It was dreadful. After coming back to camp, Granny [the guard] said: “Look out of the window, can you see that huge fume? Your beloveds are now being burnt there and tomorrow you will wash yourselves with the soap made of them.” And it really became the truth.”

Gas Chambers

Viola Fischerová - Gas Chambers (data format Flash Video)

“They gave us another clothing, bright one, and sent us to the gas chamber. They exposed us to hot air, so we sweated profusely and then they ran us out to coal and cold. We struggled there and when we caught a cold, they sent us back to that crematory. To that gas chamber.”

Bombing and Thoughts of Suicide

Viola Fischerová - Bombing and Thoughts of Suicide (data format Flash Video)

“When Army Groups drew near and a lot of air attacks occurred, Germans, of course, ran away. They closed the factory and awaited the time when they would bomb out and liquidate us. And they left us in the cellar where we sat in the water for many hours. I escaped also from that place, but afterwards, our naked bodies were beaten again with thin sticks. I was absolutely hopeless, so I wanted to throw myself under the train.”

Escape from the Concentration Camp

Viola Fischerová - Escape from the Concentration Camp (data format Flash Video)

“When I saw that it was possible, I had organized [the escape] with other seven women. I knew that after crossing the river dogs wouldn’t sniff us out. There was a little stream. And we really crossed it. And we finally got to Austria.”

The story and videoclips of this witness were put together and published thanks to the financial support of EU within the programme Europe for Citizens – Active European Remembrance.

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