Concordia University MIGS

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1. Our home town

2. Our vanished world - lost - bygone past

3. Our stolen and lost youth

4. Labour camps

5. Air raids

6. Fire in the plant

7. Zsuzsi

8. Refugees

9. Leaving our home

10. We Were Homeless

11. Latrine

12. Bar Mitzvah

13. Our Last Days and Leaving

14. Auschwitz

15. Kaiserwald at Riga

16. Stutthof

17. Glowen

18. The Last March

19. Ravensbruck

20. Battleground

21. The Road to Freedom

22. Trying to Cope With Out New Found Freedom

23. Muritz-Malchow

24. Departure

25. Cesky Tesin

26. Budapest

27. Garai Magda

28. Homeward Bound

29. Our Family on Father’s Side

30. Our Family On Mother’s Side

31. Here We Go Again!


Volume 17

Helen Rodak-Izso

The Last Chance to Remember

published by the
Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies
Copyright Helen Rodak-Izso, 2002


Key Words

Kosice-Kassa, Czechoslovakia; Labour camps; Auschwitz; Dr. Mengele; Birkenau; Kaiserwald camp, Riga; Kurbe, Latvia; Dundanga camp; Rechlin camp; Stutthof, Danzig; Glowen camp, near Nitzow/ Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg; Ravensbruck camp; Muritz camp; Russian soldiers; Budapest; Emigration to Canada, family life, occupation.


Describes the features of her town Kosice-Kassa, located in the border area between Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Recalls past family life; brother leaves for Palestine. She marries in 1942, husband sent to labour camp, then into combat on the Russian front. Air raids over town. German invasion of Hungary 1944. Introduction of "Yellow Star" and leaving home for temporary quarters on outskirts of town. Evacuated to Auschwitz June 2/3 1944. Selection by Dr. Mengele. She manages to stay together with her older sister for the duration of the war. Last view of Mother. Describes the distinctive "stars" worn by the different prisoners. Sent to Kaiserwald Camp near Riga. Transported to Kurbe, Latvia where she spends a month. Recalls cruel treatment at the hands of Jewish woman from her town. Incident when S.S. guard gives her bowl of soup. Moved to Stutthof camp, Danzig. Calls this the darkest of all camps. No work was carried out, but suffered from the constant selections. Moved to Glowen, a labour camp. Allied air-raids begin, camp evacuated. Inmates forced to march for three weeks. Roads crowded with civilians escaping the Russian onslaught. Reach Ravensbruck camp; receive Red Cross parcels. After short stay prisoners are forced to march again, until guards desert and they are left on their own. Liberated May 2, 1945 in Muritz near Hamburg. Journey home through Cracow, Bratislava, Budapest. Finds brother alive. Relates incidents of meeting relatives who are indifferent to their plight. Narrative includes description of all family members who did not survive. Emigrates to Canada via Southampton and Halifax to Toronto. Works as library assistant at University of Toronto. Death of husband and remarriage until widowed again. Describes her children and grandchildren.









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