Eva Nove

"I want my story to be told. People should remember the Holocaust. People should treat each other with love not hatred."

Name at birth
Eva Steinkohl
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Moved to Budapest when I was 8 years old
Name of father, occupation
Father died when she was very young
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Esther Steinkohl, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Mother, brother Henrick, Eva, brother Bala, and grandfather, Jacob Weiss
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
My mother, brothers and me
I was living in Budapest.  I was nineteen years old, in March 1944.  The Hungarian Nazis were together with the German Nazis, the Hungarian Nazis needed young people to go to a labor camp.  Mother stayed home with her younger brother. My older brother and me were taken to different labor camps.  I was gathered with a group of 80, transferred to an old section of town and then to a farm.  We lived in an attic of a large barn with holes in the roof, we slept on hay.   It was a cold November.  We were taken back to Buda and gathered in a brick factory yard, afterwards we walked to Vienna, 35 kilometers a day, we walked for two weeks.  We slept in different places along the way.  
When we arrived at the Austrian border, we were put into wagons by the Austrians and were fed.  We were transported to a women’s camp, Ravensbruck.  We would wake up early in the morning, stand in line for three or four hours, not properly dressed for the winter, and then go to work.  We had to gather up wood, and shovel coal, we were always outside.  
I contracted typhus and was quarantined with others.  I was very weak but the whole camp was being evacuated.   We walked to a train, I was weak and disoriented.  I was lucky because I was weak and fell several times but was not shot as others were who were in similar conditions.  We were transferred by train, overnight to a smaller camp, Ellenholtz. 
I was lucky because there I was in a barracks with younger girls, ages 12-14 from Czechoslovakia and Poland.  We didn’t have to stand in line for the roll call as the adults did.  I was very lucky, after I had typhus and was weak, one of the female guards looked at me and since I was blond and blue-eyed, and was very weak, the woman put me in with the younger girls.  Because I was with the children, I didn’t have to go out in the cold morning and wait during an appel, the roll call.  The reason we were moved from Ravensbruck is that it was getting too close to the Russian front.  
About 50 or 60 of us were evacuated out of the camp and escorted by German soldiers on a march.  We saw fire in the near distance, we were aware that the Russians were close.  We noticed that the German soldiers had civilian clothes under their uniforms.  After two days, we stopped and were instructed to sleep in a clearing off the road.  In the morning, we found that the German officers had disappeared.  We were now on our own.  We were very happy but we were physically, very weak and hungry.
For three days, we saw no one.  We went to a German village to ask for food.  We saw the German homes had white flags of surrender.  We felt ashamed that we had to go to the Germans to beg for food.  We very sick and had diarrhea; we were unaccustomed to their food.  They gave us some milk which gave us diarrhea.  They gave us a little food, they had very little themselves.  
We found an open building to sleep at night.  There were Russian soldiers there who wanted to rape us.  One of our women spoke Russian and tried to stop them.  Fortunately, a high ranking Russian Jewish officer as well as other Jewish officers helped to stop them.
More soldiers came and we were taken to another camp with other Jewish refugees.  I had a high fever and was delirious.  In this camp, I contracted typhus again.   I was taken to a large hospital with other similar patients.  The doctors were Polish Jews.  I was in that hospital for five weeks.
In Budapest, when the Hungarian Nazis were in power before the Germans came in, they had certain rules, regulations, and curfews against the Jews.  I had a very good friend, Kamilla.  We went outside during the limited time we were permitted to go out.  At the end of the day, I wanted to walk home, Kamilla insisted on taking the tram.  She was pulled off the tram and I didn’t see her until we were in the same hospital after liberation.  Unfortunately, she was dying.  
Before I was deported, the Hungarian Nazis would come into the Jewish homes and harass us.  We heard of many young girls being raped and shot. Once, a Hungarian Nazi came into our home.  He found me to be attractive and asked me to follow him.  He was in uniform and had a rifle slung over his shoulder.  I anticipated that I would be raped.  He was unsuccessful in his attempt, he probably was drunk.  
When I was in that camp, a Jewish organization from Budapest came to see who was alive to post it in Budapest.  After I recuperated at that hospital, I think the name was Neubrandenburg, the Russian put many of us on a cattle train to return to Budapest.  I was picked up by the Jewish organization.  It just so happened that one of the workers was my aunt.  She took me to her home.   My aunt told me that my mother and my brothers left Budapest after being liberated early in February, 1945.  The Ghetto was being bombed toward the beginning of liberation.  My mother and my brother Bala were hiding in an air raid shelter.  They went home and found that my other brother Henrick also returned home. They decided to leave Hungary and went to Transylvania (now Romania) where we had some family.  My brothers were so disgusted with what happened in Hungary, they didn’t want to live there anymore.
My aunt told me she had my mother’s address.  I was taken to the Romanian border.  I followed the instructions on how to find the address.  I was walking down the street when my mother opened the window and saw me.  She barely recognized me.  I had a bloated belly from the starvation.  She was afraid to ask me, she thought I was pregnant.
My mother, my brothers and I lived in Satmar, Romania.  In 1948, my brothers decided they no longer wanted to live in Europe.  They hoped to come to the United States.
Once they reached Italy, they were not able to obtain papers to go to the United States.  They stayed in Italy for three years.  They then went to Argentina.  Henrick stayed in Argentina for 25 years.  Bala went to Palestine after two years and lived on a kibbutz.  He served in the Israeli air force and lives in Israel. 
I married in 1947 to Melhior Nove.  In 1966, we applied to leave Romania when Israel was paying a ransom to Romania to allow Jews to leave.  We were no longer allowed to keep our jobs after we applied to leave. 
We went to Italy, HIAS paid for our food and rent.  We arrived in the United States in 1967 and lived in Brooklyn, New York for 7 or 8 years.  
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Occupation after the war
Cook for kosher catering company
When and where were you married?
In 1947, in Romania
Melchior Nove, Drapery business
Judith, registered nurse
Alicia and Kolman Reaboy
What do you think helped you to survive?
I had luck
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
I want my story to be told. People should remember the Holocaust. People should treat each other with love not hatred.
Interview conducted in Hungarian with Kathy Bartos and Charles Silow
Interview date:

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