Goldner, Lily

Goldner, Lily

Noszlop (Hungary), Auschwitz, Krakow-Plaszow, Taucha

Goldner was born in a town called Noszlop in Hungary in 1923. She lived there together with her parents and her eight siblings. Her father owned a store and worked also as a Hebrew teacher. Goldner was brought up in an Orthodox home and left school after six years of elementary education. Since she was the second-oldest child, she then helped her mother to raise her younger brothers and sisters. She was used to playing with non-Jewish children, but she recalls that her brothers were often beaten by their Gentile schoolmates because they were Jewish.

In 1939 World War II broke out, and Goldner was aware of the persecution and humiliation of Jews in Poland because her family received Jewish newspapers from other countries. At this time, the Hungarian army called all young Jewish men into service, assigning them to special labor battalions on the Russian front.

In April 1944, the German army occupied Hungary and many anti-Jewish laws were implemented immediately. Jews were not allowed to leave their houses and then the Hungarian gendarmerie (equivalent to the SS) announced that all Jews in Noszlop had to gather in the local Jewish school in order to be resettled to another area. Knowing it would be impossible to escape with his children, Goldner’s father he followed the order. After they had spent the night in the Jewish school, all the Jews were take to a ghetto in a nearby town. Many local people assisted the Hungarian gendarmerie in implementating the deportation. All Jews who attempted to escape were shot on the spot. After some time in the ghetto, the German SS took over responsibility and most of the Jews were shipped away on a train. Goldner says that many Jews appreciated the SS takeover, since Germans were considered to be the most civilized people. This turned out to be a erroneous belief.

After three days in a cattle car, they arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp. There, on the ramp of the railroad station, men were separated from women. Then the camp’s physician selected those prisoners, whom he considered to be able-bodied and sent them to the camp’s barracks. All the others were annihilated in the gas chambers. Goldner was forced by the Nazis to write a postcard to her relatives in Hungary saying that she was together with her family at a place called Wallsee. Goldner was a witness as members of the Sonderkommando burned little bundles in a big trench. Later on she learned that they were burning the infants of the camp’s inmates. She also recalls an incident when the barracks’ senior inmate killed a newborn child, in order to save the mother from being sent to the gas chamber. Goldner also states that she remembers two cases in which German soldiers provided her with additional food, eventhough they found her while she was hiding from work. In October 1944, members of the inmates’ underground movement succeeded in destroying one crematorium with smuggled handgrenades.

As the Russian Red Army approached the camp, the SS tried to destroy the evidence of their mass murders. In January 1945, the Nazis began a hasty withdrawal, and most of the prisoners were driven out of the Auschwitz camp and sent on death marches. During the marches, the prisoners received just one raw potato per day and many perished. Goldner and her sister managed to survive the death march and finally arrived at a ammunition factory near Leipzig, Germany. They were forced to work for the German company HASAG in the Taucha labor camp.

In March 1945, this camp was liberated by the Russian army. Goldner notes that despite this fact, women in the campd had to be scared of violation by Russian soldiers. Back in Hungary with her sister, Goldner found one of her brothers, who told them that their father and their other brothers perished in the Ebensee concentration camp, Austria. In 1948 Goldner immigrated to the United States. In her interview she also describes some anti-Semitic incidents that she experienced during her time in the United States.

Interview Information:
Date: July 21, 1993
Interviewer: Donna Sklar
Length: 2 hours 15 minutes
Format: Video recording