Gluck, Michael

Gluck, Michael

Kantorianoshi (Hungary), Matezoko, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Gusen II, Gunskirchen

Gluck, born in 1928, is the son of Ferenz and Edith Gluck of Kantorianoshi, Hungary, a village more than 100 miles southeast of Budapest, near Debrezin. His father, an Orthodox Jew, was in the meat business for both kosher and non-kosher products. Gluck had four sisters and two brothers. He attended both public and Hebrew schools. Although anti-Semitism was present in his village, he does not recall any overt actions against himself or his family. Good relations existed in the village between the Jewish and Gentile population.

Gluck does not recall much change in the daily activities of his family following Hungary’s joining the Axis powers (Germany and Italy) in November 1940, or after its entry into the war against Russia in June 1941. Some Jews, older than he, were drafted into labor troops but he, his father, and brothers were not affected. Gradually some restrictions on Jews were enacted such as the wearing of the Star of David, but in his village there were no drastic actions against Jews. He states that the atrocities performed against Jews in Germany and Poland and other countries occupied by German forces were not known to him or his family nor to the others in his village at that time.

Following the occupation of Hungary by Germany in March 1944, conditions for Jews deteriorated very rapidly. He and his entire family were rounded-up and sent to the nearby town of Matezoko, where a Jewish ghetto was established. There his entire family had to live in one room and food became very scarce. At the end of May 1944, the Gluck family and others from the ghetto were shipped by cattlecar to Auschwitz. The journey took three days, during which they did not receive any food or water.

During the selection process at Auschwitz conducted by Dr. Mengele, Gluck, his older brother and their father were separated from the rest of the family. The three stayed there about two weeks and were then shipped to the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria. Gluck worked in a stone quarry there for about two weeks and was then separated from his father and brother and sent to, Gusen II, a satellite camp of Mauthausen, where he was required to work in the mine being dug to create underground facilities for factories. The work was very dangerous due to frequent cave-ins which caused many deaths.

Fortunately for Gluck, he was transferred to kitchen duties; he attributes his survival to this since there was a greater availability of food. After about ten months at Gusen II, he was marched for three days to the Gunskirchen labor camp. Anyone who could not keep up during the forced march was shot by the guards. It was at Gunskirchen that he was liberated by American military forces.

Gluck stated that toward the end food became so scarce that some inmates resorted to cannibalizing dead fellow inmates and that he personally witnessed these acts.

Following his liberation and after being hospitalized, he returned to his home village and discovered that his older brother and one sister also had survived. Everyone else in his family had perished.

In 1949 Gluck came to the United States where he worked in the meat business. He subsequently married and had five children. He became a U.S. citizen in 1959.

Interview Information:
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Date: June 7, 2000
Length: 1 hour 17 minutes
Format: Video recording