Vasarosnameny (Hungary), Jasz Berany labor camp, Mauthausen, Gunskirchen
Brenners was born in 1924 and lived in Vasarosnameny, Hungary, a city about twenty kilometers from the Czechoslovakian border. He recalls that it had a population of about 3,500, which included approximately 200 Jewish families. He talks in great detail about Jewish life and national politics in prewar Hungary. He describes the first shocks to normality: his father, a veteran, called to a labor camp in 1940 (before the Nazi occupation); the Polish-Jewish neighbors deported in 1940 or 1941; the neighbors sent to labor camps never to be seen again; his uncle suffering this fate and the consequential family anxiety.
Brenners remembers March 15, 1944, when transports began and April 15, 1944, when he received a draft notice from the Hungarian army and was sent to Jasz Berany, a labor camp. He was in the death camp Mauthausen for three weeks. He remained strong and reasonably healthy until struck by typhus days after liberation. He witnessed and experienced numerous atrocities. He remembers being beaten, having a gun placed to his head by an SA man, seeing brutal murders of young people and SS guards chasing prisoners, burying hundreds of bodies, seeing naked bodies strewn over Mauthausen and stacked, freezing in a death march, and more.
Of his three brothers and one sister, only two survived. He became an American citizen after his arrival in New York in 1950.
Date: December 14, 1981
Interviewer: Sidney Bolkosky
Length: 3 hours
Format: Audio recording