Margaret Schwartz

"Never Again!"

Name at birth
Margit Kaufler
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Budapest, Hungary
Name of father, occupation
Solomon, Laborer, worked in wine cellars
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Amilia Fried, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, two sisters: Elisabeth and Rasalia, one brother Laszlo, (four years older), and me. Laszlo and I lived at home
How many in entire extended family?
Ten: two aunts, one uncle, and seven cousins
Who survived the Holocaust?
Only my brother Laszlo and me
I was 19 years old, living at home with my mother when we were taken to the Budapest ghetto in 1944. This was the same year that my brother died performing slave labor.  From the ghetto, we were walked to an abandoned brick factory where we stayed for about two weeks, from there we were loaded on a train to Auschwitz, and we arrived there in June.  
When we got to Auschwitz, they sent my mother to the right. It was cold out, and I ran after her with my coat. I thought she would be cold. I got my introduction to a rifle butt. Lucky they didn’t send me with her…I hope it happened to her fast, that she was gassed.  I was in Auschwitz until September. We were not allowed to have conversations, we were not allowed inside the buildings, but we were not allowed to congregate either. There were ten of us, and we decided that we were going to survive.
We walked three miles to work in the winter. They gave us shoes that had wooden bottoms and a canvas top. Walking in the snow, I got an infection just below the knee. We did not dare go to the hospital, because we knew that Mengele was working there. A woman who was a nurse in Czechoslovakia said she would help. We went behind one of the buildings, and she used a melon baller to clean out the infection. Two good friends held my arms while she did it so that I would not scream. I still have a big scar there.
We were told pretty regularly about the ovens. The smoke going up is your sister….that’s your mother. Once they took us to get washed and the soap that we were given to wash we were told that it was made from the fat of your mother and your sister and your father….and we survived all of that.
Next we went to either Kattowice or Cracow and we walked every day to the factory to make nuts and bolts. Sometimes, we were sent outside. It was a sight to see the American planes with the little silver fish coming out. We had a French foreman who let us know quietly that if you make a mistake, you may get beaten, but it is another bomb that won’t go off, or a screw that they can’t replace because they didn’t have the metal. There was also a Wehrmacht soldier, who would yell bloody murder at us but then slip us a small piece of bread, an apple, something.
When the Russians came in, they said we are free. We stayed for two days, but nothing was happening except that girls would disappear at night. They took the girls and we never saw them again. Ten of us just decided to go on our own. We ended up digging a hole under the fence because we didn’t actually believe that we could leave. We took whatever trucks or trains we could, and we didn’t know where we were going. We ended up in Prague, twice! Finally, we made our way back to Budapest.
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
We were liberated in 1945. We dug a hole under the fence to escape, even though the Russians had already liberated us.
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
We came to New York State and later moved to Detroit in 1966
Occupation after the war
Worked in Jewelry Stores and Gabor Sisters Stores in Hungary
When and where were you married?
1945 in Hungary
Albert, Restaurant supply salesman
Anthony, surgeon in Arizona Ellen, project manager here in Michigan
What do you think helped you to survive?
Blind hope that my mother would be alive, and desire for revenge. We told each other that the first German that we would meet when we are free, we are going to tear him apart. And when we met the first German, a whole family at a picnic. They were all shot right through…and we said, “No we can’t do it and live with it.”
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Never Again!
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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