Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ADSS 8.324 Burzio to Maglione: deportation suspended

In his telegram to Rome mid-evening on 24 March, Giuseppe Burzio announced that there was a rumour that the deportation of the Slovak Jews had been suspended.  He does not provide any evidence for the rumour.  He went on to say that a round up of Jewish women between 16 and 25 had taken place. 

Three days earlier an announcement had been made that all Jewish women born before 1925 to report to the railway station by 24 March for "work".  999 Jewish girls and young women were rounded up and taken for deportation.  They were put on a train that was sent to Auschwitz were all of them were gassed upon arrival. 

Among them was Judith Rosenburger (1925-1942).  Her parents, Hugo and Piroska believed that Judith's forced deportation was only the beginning.  Fearing the worst, they decided to take their other daughter, Olga (b 1926) and without waiting to see if their fears were realistic or not, the family fled Bratislava and made their way to Hungary where they lived in relative safety for the better part of two years.  The family returned to Bratislava in mid-1944 when the Arrow Cross fascists took power in Hungary and initiated the "final solution".  Olga and her parents and other family members were denounced to the police, arrested and sent to Auschwitz in the autumn of 1944 along with many of the surviving Slovakian Jews.  Hugo Rosenburger died in Birkenau.  Piroska and Olga were "selected" for work and spent the rest of the war moving from camp to camp until they were finally dumped in Belsen.  Piroska died within minutes of her liberation by the British in April 1945.  Olga was the only survivor of her family.  She wrote her autobiography in 2000, From Auschwitz to Australia.  I had the honour to be her consultant editor.

The second part of Burzio's telegram repeated the rumour that was articulated in Rabbi Steif's concern, namely that Jewish women were being sent to German military brothels on the Russian front.  While I have found no evidence to suggest that any Slovakian Jewish women were prostituted, there is evidence that some Jewish women were sexually assaulted before they were murdered, or kept in brothels at some of the larger concentration camps. (See
Sonja Hegepath & Rochelle Saidel (eds), (2010 ) Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust, Brandeis, Boston.)

ADSS 8.324

Reference: Tel nr 21 (AES 2553/42)
Location and date: Pressurg

Summary statement: Deportation of Slovak Jews is suspended. Many Jews are forced into prostitution.
Language: Italian


Rumour has it that the Government has suspended the plan to deport the Jews because of the intervention of the Holy See. (1) Last night, however, many Jewish women aged 16 to 25 years were torn from their families, and it is thought they are to be sent as prostitutes behind German lines on the Russian front. (2)

Cross references:

(1) Cf ADSS 8.298, 300, 303, 322.

(2) See also ADSS 8.326.

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