Concordia University MIGS

Back to Holocaust Memoirs | Back to MIGS

Helen Rodak-Izso

The Last Chance to Remember




We walked to the farm, nobody bothered us and we didn't see a living soul. Suddenly we found ourselves in front of an open barn. A hog was prepared for butchering. We found a pail, threw one part into it. When everybody had a piece, we left, dreaming about a big feast with our newborn happiness and optimism. We went on walking on our adventurous trip, forgotten by the whole world. All of a sudden we found ourselves in front of a farm house. The doors were slightly open. Later I was told that Olly and Fodor Dori, one of our group, helped us in. We were so numb and our mind so foggy that we didn't think at all. The sudden freedom had us in a daze, in shock.

The owners of the house had just left hurriedly because of the sirens, alarm signals, and ran for safety. The table was set for breakfast, the oven was hot, smoke was wafting from the chimney, but we were blind to all those signs. We enjoyed enormously our freedom, the cleanness and made ourselves comfortable. We started to wash our tired body with warm water, changed our clothing for clean ones. I went upstairs where I found some plain farm clothing, really nothing special, but everything was beautifully clean. I have to admit something: it was not very nice what I did, but I left my lice infested clothing behind.

My sister made scrambled eggs from five eggs, neither of us could touch anything. We saw too much food suddenly and we were too weak for all this excitement. There was so much food in the pantry, this family was provided for a long, long time.

We finally realized that we could not stay there, so we started to prepare ourselves to leave this beautiful place. The meat was distributed and each of us had a part to carry. My only big wish was to find a small pillow and I was lucky to discover one. Some of the girls took a camera or bicycle and slowly, quietly we left. Nothing and nobody was pushing us but the time seemed to be ripe for leaving. We were completely mesmerized by this experience!

It was unthinkably beautiful. The rooms were warm and almost smelled of cleanness and had a taste of family life.

With one hand hugging the pillow, the real treasure, my other hand clutching the pail, our would-be supper. We left the house one by one, very slowly and suddenly our brain started to function because we found ourselves face to face with the owners of the house. This woke us up very fast, we became sober instantly. It dawned on us how thoughtless we had been.

After the end of the danger signal those people started to return from their shelter and met our group with their belongings. They were a whole group of people, mainly women with a few men with rifles in their hands, ready to use at any minute. They were very angry and the yelling was most frightening.

They demanded that we put down and leave on the ground their belongings and they meant business. It was not a joke. Slowly each of us put down everything. For me it was hard to part from my pillow but I had no choice and the bucket had the same fate (Eimer, as the Germans called it). They were so much stronger, healthier and they were a whole group. But, mainly we were so weak like a fly, anybody would have an easy task with us. It would have been very foolish to disagree with the facts. We were too tired, physically, mentally and all over. We gave up everything.

Very slowly we started to walk away. We were trying to reach the forest, where we lay down in the rain soaked grass and didn't care about anything anymore, because we were certain that those German people with all their anger would follow us any minute and finish us.

In the last days we were just dragging ourselves. On top of everything the diarrhea tortured and plagued my existence. We really didn't care anymore. We were very quiet, giving up everything and waiting for our fate through the wet and dark evening as, in the meantime, night fell.

We didn't understand yet what saved us temporarily. The Belgian soldier, our leader had been busy packing and taking two suitcases from the house. He was smacked and hit from every side until they took back everything from him that belonged to the owners of the house. They were shouting and yelling loud at him, but this short time was what we had needed. We never saw him again.

It is really unbelievable how in such a hopeless situation from which we didn't dare to hope, we were spared. We can be thankful forever to this stranger who saved our lives unwittingly, while he was in big trouble. We were very quiet, nobody uttered a word, there was nothing to say, we were certain that this time was really the end.

Suddenly we heard some noise from the bushes but nobody dared to look up. One of the girls turned to me and said: for you it doesn't matter anymore, go and see!?

She was right and we all knew in what bad shape I was. So I lifted my head and there stood a gray horse with a Russian soldier. The miracle had happened!! We were Liberated! at the last minute! in that short time while the German people had the quarrel with our leader.

As unbelievable as it sounds, our dream came true. It had now become reality. Suddenly we became alive, jumped up from our somber situation and hugged and hugged the soldier even his horse. I love animals but from a distance. This was something else. A more beautiful scene was just not imaginable.

After a brief, very happy welcoming the soldier urged us to leave the forest because they had to comb through the whole place looking for civilians. He sent us to the farm. At first we were reluctant and afraid to go, but he assured us that now the situation was different. We were not eager to meet those people again.

Back to Key Words and Abstract

To Chapter 22

© Concordia University