Lanyi (Goldner), Livia

Lanyi (Goldner), Livia

Tapiobicske (Hungary), Ujpest, Auschwitz, Frankfurt, Ravensbrück

Lanyi was born in Tapiobicske, Hungary, the oldest of three children of a conservative Jewish couple. Her father was a landowner involved in farming, raising mostly grains. In August 1938 she married an attorney from Budapest and moved there.

After the start of World War II Jewish men were drafted into Hungarian labor battalions to support Hungarian and German troops fighting on the Russian front. Lanyi’s husband and brother became prisoners of war, captured by the Russians. Her husband died of typhus in a Russian POW camp. Her brother survived and ultimately returned.

In March 1944 Germany occupied Hungary and immediately started to confine Jews to special areas and deport them either to extermination camps or labor camps. Lanyi went into hiding but was betrayed by a neighbor. She was picked up by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. She survived several selections and stayed there for about one month before being shipped by cattle car to Frankfurt, Germany. There she worked repairing the damage from bombings at the Frankfurt airport. She remained in Frankfurt for about two months.

As the Allied armies were closing in, Lanyi was transferred again, this time to the concentration camp Ravensbruck near Berlin. There she was fortunate to get work inside a Siemens factory, working on small aircraft parts. Since this was considered “useful work,” the workers received better treatment, but still had to work twelve hours per day, six days each week.

Lanyi describes the working conditions, food, and specifics of each camp she experienced. She was on a death march from Ravensbruck when she was liberated. She attributes her survival to good health initially and to not getting any illnesses during her confinement.

Lanyi’s parents were gassed in Auschwitz. Her sister survived incarceration in an Austrian camp, and her brother returned from Siberia. Both remained in Hungary after the Holocaust. Lanyi met and married a former Hungarian serving with the U.S. Army, and they came to the United States together.

Interview Information:
Date: December 12, 1995
Length: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Format: Video recording