Birthdate: 17 Apr 1922

Place: Csakanyhaza, Hungary

In 1944 Katalin's entire family of ten was arrested and transported by horse and cart to the Illespusztat ghetto near her home town and subsequently by cattle train to Auschwitz. Katalin was taken to the showers, her head shaved, and all her belongings taken off her. She was then sent to work in a nearby stone mine at Plaszow (Plaszów, Poland) where the prisoners received just one meal per day and no drinking water. At the end of each day one person out of each group of ten was selected at random and shot, making way for new arrivals.

In December 1944 Katalin was sent back to Auschwitz, shaven once more, and had the number 15450 tattoed on her arm. One month later she was sent to the Rochlitz Aeroplane Factory where she worked as a grinder operator. In April 1945, after being force-marched 60 kilometers, she was liberated.

Katalin lost her entire family in the Holocaust. After the war she lived in Hungary for a while and in 1953 she and her son came to New Zealand and settled in Auckland.

(Original video material courtesy of the Auckland Jewish Oral History Group)

To Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Explore this theme further: Genocide & The Camps

The establishment and operation of concentration camps or Konzentrationslager followed through a number of stages. From 1933 onwards already, four concentration camps had been set up: Dachau (near Munich), Oranienburg (on the outskirts of Berlin), Ravensbrück (north of Berlin), and Buchenwald (Thuringia). They were used to incarcerate the Jewish opposition, political dissidents, and anyone who criticised the National Socialist government... >> more