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The Beginning of the Following Sorrowful Story
Sunday, January 21ST, 1945
by John Knodel
Lehigh Acres, Florida - 1979
39 pages translation by his granddaughter
Gerti Soderquist
Published at DVHH.org 16 Aug 2005 by Jody McKim Pharr

The Knodel Family 1942

The following story is being transcribed from Hungarian to German from a daybook that I had kept during my 33 month, 1000 day, imprisonment in Russia.  (In 2002, his granddaughter, Gerti, translated it into English).

It is a sorrowful story full of indescribable pain and human suffering that only a person who himself went through similar suffering, could fully understand. 

My story is not fiction, it is rather a true story of what happened to me while a forced laborer in Russia.  We were captured and forced into slave labor in order to re-build what had been destroyed in Russia during the war (World War II).  The Russians enslaved millions of people.   

I was imprisoned in the south Ukraine, between Donetz and the river Don, about four kilometers from the city of Lisicsansk, in the Donbass industrial region.  (Approximately at 48 degree latitude and between 38/40 degree longitude, in the Donets coal basin, Ukraine)  Everywhere around us were coal mines.  In our vicinity, there were over a hundred thousand slaves, most of which had to work in the coal mines.  Others also worked as slave laborers in the building trades and worked on trains. 

Along with others from my hometown, I was forced to work at a coal mine. We had to walk 4 kilometers to start a new coal mine.  Andreas Vejtei, Heinrich Schneider and five more neighbors from Hungary, and myself, were together.   

The Russians made me a carpenter (in Hungary, he owned a building supply store).  There was a good old Russian, Ingenhor, who tried to help us as he could.  

I made the measurements for the wooden frames that were made to fit inside the mine shaft.  The first coal mine was 60 meters deep, the second coal mine was 110 meters deep.  The work was very hard and exhausting.  The work was split up into three shifts. 

In our camp, there were 900 young women from Romania, who were of German descent, 1,600 people, most men, from Hungary, and over 2,000 men from Ober-Schlesien.  In the beginning, most of the people from Romania and Schlesien died, then us Hungarians.  They died cruel deaths from starvation and cold, freezing conditions.  It was the hardest on the coal miners, as they didn’t have any way of working/trading their skills to earn additional food to keep them alive.  By October of 1945, they were replacing the dead with young Russians.

(December, 1945 – the Russians entered Hungary and took control of the country.  As part of war reparations, the Russians raped the country, stripping it of it’s machinery, raw materials and it’s citizens.  Over 600,000 Hungarian citizens were abducted by the Russians and made slave laborers.  Everything went to Stalin’s Russia.)

It was a Sunday, January 21st, 1945.  The Russians came into our village, Harta (100 miles south of Budapest, Hungary, on the Danube river) and took another group of people away with them, 22 men and 3 women, myself included.  In six horse-driven sleighs we were driven 30 kilometers to Soltwatkert – and overnighted there at a farm.  During the night, two men took off and the Russians let one woman go free.  The next day, January 22nd, we were driven to Kiskunhalas (still Hungary), underway, the Russians found the men who took off and returned them to our group. 

On January 23rd, we were quartered in a barrack – eight of us men were put together in one room and heavily guarded.  The only food we ate was whatever food we had brought with us from home, otherwise, you went hungry.  We weren’t allowed to sleep.  Bathroom trips were only arranged with five men at a time watched by two armed Russians.


So did the days go by until the 28th of January, a Sunday – the Russians brought five more men from Harta.  On Monday, the 29th of January, the Russians brought four hundred more people to the barracks.  The next day, January 30th, they brought three hundred women from the Baja (Hungary) area, now there were 1,600 prisoners in the barrack.  We were in the barrack for two more days before our march to paradise. 

On February 1st, (Thursday) the entire barrack prisoners were escorted to the train station by heavily armed Russians.  On the way to the train station, two men who tried to escape were shot to death by the Russians.  The train car separated us just like in cages, 54 people were caged in the top portion of the car, and 54 people caged in the bottom portion.  Not only did we prisoners shed many tears but tears were shed by our loved ones back home, but it also rained “tears from heaven” on us for two days. 

February 2nd, 1945 (Friday) Kelebia (Hungary), the Russians rounded us prisoners up and stole anything and everything we have of value – knives, shaving equipment, wallets, mirrors and other personal items all stolen from us! 

February 3rd, 1945 (Saturday) We’re still on the train, waiting in Szabadka. (Subotica, Yugoslavia)

February 4th, 1945 (Sunday)  As the train began pulling out, three men from our wagon ripped the wire grates from a window and jumped out.  The third man had a small box – he threw it out of the window and then jumped himself.  It was then that the shooting started.  The first two men escaped, but they shot the third man dead and kept his body for two days in our wagon.  While we were still in Szeged, the Russians warned everyone that if anyone tries to escape, their entire wagon car would also be punished.  So, we were punished.  For two long days, we were denied a drop of water.  We were very thirsty.  They buried the third man in a shallow grave beside the railroad tracks. 

February 5th, 1945 (Monday)  The train stood still in Temesvar (Timosoara, Romania) while we watched hoards of Russian soldiers with heavy weaponry travel past us, towards Hungary. 

February 6th, 1945 (Tuesday)  In Karasebes.   

February 7th, 1945 (Wednesday)  In Orsova (Romania) 

February 8th, 1945 (Thursday)  In Simian, Romania.  Here, a great deal of weaponry was being stored.  

February 9th, 1945 (Friday)  We traveled further east to Cerena-Bals

February 10th, 1945 (Saturday) In the city of Piatre-Olt (Piatra-Neamt, Romania).  Here they sent back half of the guards back to battle in the slaughter fields of Slatina-Potcova. 

February 11th, 1945 (Sunday)  Baranyes, Chitila. After two days, we were again given water.  Being thirsty is worse than being hungry.  In the morning, we arrived in Bucharest (Romania).  For the first time, the train took on food and coals.  Our spirits were pretty much broken by now. 

February 12th, 1945 (Monday)  In Braila (Romania), from here, we traveled over the Szeret River in a northerly direction. 

February 13th, 1945 (Tuesday)  It is Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) but no Paprikash and Doughnuts that we always had to celebrate back home.  Today everyone on the train only spoke about their homes – about how good the Paprikash would taste at home and about how good a glass of wine would go with it. 

February 14th, 1945 (Ash Wednesday)  In Jassi (Iasi, Romania).  Here, for the first time, we received a little sugar and salami.  Then we were transferred into Russian wagons. The Russians hacked a small hole in the corner, this was our toilet for 80 people.

February 15th, 1945 (Thursday)  In Kisinev (Kishinev), Besarabien (Bessarabia)

February 16th, 1945 (Friday)  We arrived in the Russian Ukraine.  It still had snow. I ate the last piece of bread from home that I had so long spared.  At two o’clock, we traveled over the river Nyester in Szlobotka. 

February 17th, 1945 (Saturday)  It snowed a great deal.  Today they removed Wendel Endrodi from our wagon, as he was sick. 

February 18th, 1945 (Sunday)  We continue to travel east in the Ukraine.  The landscape is wide open here. 

February 19th, 1945 (Monday)  More towards the East over the Nyepfer (Dnepr River) by Nyeppropetrosk (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine).  Here it is very cold with snow.  Today, we will not receive anything to eat. 

February 20th, 1945 (Tuesday)  More traveling. 

February 21st, 1945 (Wednesday)  We arrived in the town of Lisicsansk (possibly Lugansk, Ukraine).  Today is exactly one month since we were made captive. 

February 22nd, 1945 (Thursday)  As of today, it’s been three weeks of being on a train, from Kiskunhalas to Lisicsansk, on the river Donetz (Donats River, Ukraine).  Here we were made to depart the train and walk eight kilometers to a broken down building with no doors or windows.  We were all made to bathe in cold, stinking water – from our heads down to our toes.  We almost froze from the cold.  Then we received no food all day – finally a little food at midnight.  We were all finished from exhaustion and no food.  Then we had to march three kilometers to a camp.  The camp consisted of six large brick buildings, each three stories high.  The insides were not finished; there was only a wood frame, but it had no doors or windows. 

February 23rd, 1945 (Friday)  After a 22 day train ride, we finally arrived in our paradise.  It had three rows of barbwire fending, three meters high – to keep us in captivity.  There were armed watchtowers all around, so that no one could escape.  Since January, they had already 450 prisoners here.  They had already started to use the wood to make doors and windows – and in the rooms – to make bunk beds.  The wood was green.  The beds were frozen and covered with ice.  We had nothing, no straw to make mattresses, nor blankets, nor pillows to keep us warm.   We were always freezing, we always had colds and many of us had bad skin rashes.  The cuisine was watery cucumber soup and two tablespoonfuls of cornmeal. 

February 24th, 1945 (Saturday)  Received a small piece of Barley bread. 

February 25th, 1945 (Sunday)  Today we were given some type of vaccination in our backside. Andreas Vejtei, Heinrich Schneider and I – along with nine others are put in one room.  In the room is an old stove that doesn’t work.  We fixed it – and with the wood we gathered, it provided a little heat to keep us from freezing. 

February 26th, 1945 (Monday)  Today was the first roundup in the camp by the Russians.  They stole all our Hungarian money, pocket mirrors, wallets and anything else they took a fancy to. 

February 27th, 1945 (Tuesday)  We are continuing to settle in.  We dug a fifty-meter long ditch for a toilet. 

February 28th, 1945 (Wednesday)  We made our room orderly, cleaning it with lime.  We received glass for one window. 

March 1st, 1945 (Thursday)  We spent the entire day repairing and fixing up the camp, bombs and fire damage had ruined it.  The roof has many holes and the rain pours onto the third floor.  The weather is sunny today.  Many people already have head and body lice.  The Russians all have lice. 

March 2nd, 1945 (Friday)  Always more of the same – fixing and repairing. 

March 3rd, 1945 (Saturday)  Bathing, shaving, clothing and room cleaning.  We gathered material to heat our stove with. 

March 4th, 1945 (Sunday)  Received orders for who will do what jobs in the coal mine.  Today we received our second vaccination. 

March 5th, 1945 (Monday)  A strong snowstorm.  We’re preparing for the next mornings work in the coal mine.

March 6th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Today, it was very cold.  We were assigned to the Woroschilofka coal mine

March 7th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Still working in the camp.  Lots of snow and very cold. 

March 8th, 1945 (Thursday)  Today they burned the clothes of 24 women.  They had to stay in the freezing cold camp for three days with no clothes until the Russians got them clothing. 

March 9th, 1945 (Friday)  Still cold.  Today the Russians made us move from the room we’ve spent so much time fixing up into an awful, dirty room.  We had to sleep on the dirty floor for two days before they gave us bunk beds. 

March 10th, 1945 (Saturday)  More stormy, cold weather.  Today, no bread – only twice, Cabbage Soup. 

March 11th, 1945 (Sunday)  Today we received bread to eat and instead of Cabbage Soup, Barley Soup. 

March 12th, 1945 (Monday)  We had to retrieve our food from a snow mound – they threw it there, instead of bringing it to our camp.  They feed us minimal food, it makes us so weak, and we are as hungry as wolves.  We think only of eating. 

March 13th, 1945 (Tuesday)  This morning at 7 a.m., 71 men and 30 women walked 4 kilometers in deep snow to the coal mine.  They divided us up into three shifts, I received the third shift.  Everyone received 100 Rubles (Russian currency).  As of today, we just pay for our food. 

March 14th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Again, they stuck us in another dirty room on the second floor.  It looked miserable.  We made the mistake of cleaning and fixing up our two previous rooms, so now they expect more.  We buried three Romanians today; they only lasted two months from the malnutrition of only cabbage and cucumber soup. 

March 15th, 1945 (Thursday)  Today is Hungary’s Independence Day.  It was our first day of forced labor in the coalmine.  At 5 a.m., we received a small portion of cabbage soup (no bread), and were forced to walk 4 kilometers to the coalmine.  After working 8 hours without any food, we were forced to march back to the camp.  We received more cabbage soup and three tablespoonfuls of cornmeal as supper.  Twice a day, everything the same. 

March 16th, 1945 (Friday)  The weather is warming up a bit.  Today we had 14 men drive 2 kilometers with a sled to bring wood to the coalmine; it was very hard work.  Andreas Vejtei and I bought 2 deci grams of cornmeal and we cooked it that night. With only the camp food, most people get weak and dizzy from hunger.  Today Ingenohr (Russian Guard) told me that Andreas Vejtei and myself would be doing woodworking from now on, instead of mining. 

March 17th, 1945 (Saturday)  Me and 20 men brought heavy Oak tree stumps 1 kilometer from the train station to the coalmine on sleds. 

March 18th, 1945 (Sunday)  Worked with the circular saw.  They gave me an extra food coupon for my good work.  I ate a double meal in the evening, but it didn’t fill me up, I’m still very hungry. 

March 19th, 1945 (Monday)  Today, again 19 men pulled heavy lumber to the coal mine.  We were like oxen, pulling wood the entire day. 

March 20th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Today I sold a piece of soap for 40 Rubles – I bought some food with it, but I’m still always hungry. 

March 21st, 1945 (Wednesday)  It’s been two months today that we were taken from our homes.  We received our third immunization today, probably so that we won’t feel our hunger. The cucumber and cabbage soup is too thin to be nourishing.  As of today, I am the carpenter and foreman of the circular saw.  We are now making the frames for the new coalmine.  I have asked that A. Vejtei, H. Schneider, a man from Vaskut, a man from Csaszartoltes and a man from Soltvadkert work with me. 

March 22nd, 1945 (Thursday)  Our group has started to dig two coalmines.  We are now making oak frames 3 ˝ meters long and 2 ˝ meters wide.  An old Russian, Ingenohr is too bossy and tells us how we should make the frames.  As of today, we received a card for upgraded food, which means we get two tablespoonfuls more water in our soup. 

March 23rd, 1945 (Friday)  The snow is starting to melt a little.  You receive pay according to your job.  If you work in the coal mine, you receive 300 rubles a month.  We receive 200 rubles monthly; the other works receive 150 rubles.  The twice day soup costs 5 rubles a day (5 rubles daily times 30 days = 150 rubles a month in food costs) 

March 24th, 1945 (Saturday)  The weather is cloudy.  I worked on the circular saw today; it’s about 100 meters from the pit.  There is no roof or any type of protection from the weather.  Today, another man died.  In the evening, A. Vejtei and I cooked cornmeal, we are always hungry.  The cabbage soap has no sustenance; it’s mostly water. 

March 25th, 1945 (Sunday)  Sawed heavy pieces of wood today.  I bought from the bazaar 2 deci liters of Beans and 2 of cornmeal.  My hunger is intense. 

March 26th, 1945 (Monday)  Today, I assembled heavy oak frames for the coal mine shaft.  In exchange for wood scraps, I received some cornmeal from a Russian, which I cooked that night.  The cabbage soup is too thin; it will not satisfy my hunger. 

March 27th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Today, 2,100 men for OberSchlesien (Was part of Prussia, Germany, now part of Poland)  were brought to our forced labor camp.  They are already weak from hunger, but have good clothing and underwear.  They traded their clothes for food. 

March 28th, 1945 (Wednesday)  In exchange for wood scraps, I received potatoes from a Russian.  We cooked the potatoes in the evening and we able to sleep better because of the food. 

March 29th, 1945 (Thursday)  Today again 3 are dead, one from Scepel and two from Romania.  In exchange for tobacco, I received bread and ate it right away. 

March 30th, 1945 (Friday)  Today is Good Friday; it’s very cold and windy.  We are still working out in the cold.  Our thoughts were on what was going on with our families at home – what they were eating and even if they were all still safe and sound at home. 

March 31st, 1945 (Saturday)  Cloudy, windy weather.  More people are dying.  Hundreds are sick, I have diarrhea from the cabbage soup.  The dead are being stored in a chamber full of lime.  Every night, they are buried 200 meters from the camp, their clothes are removed and then their bodies are thrown into a mass shallow grave, without the dignity of a casket.  Ingenohr gave me tomorrow, East Sunday, off.  In exchange for wood scraps, I received beans and cornmeal and will add it to my cabbage soup. 

April 1st, 1945 (Easter Sunday)  It is now ten weeks since the Russians took us captive.  I have a free day today.  To celebrate Easter, I cooked potatoes without any meat and ate it with my cabbage soup.  My thoughts were only on home today, I hope they are okay.  Here, it gets worse day by day.  More and more people are getting sick and dying.  The Russians have told us that we must work here until we all die.  It looks that way! 

April 2nd, 1945 (Monday)  Now the hardest work goes on at the coalmine. Above the mine shaft are two huge cogwheels, which 18 – 20 women must pull, as each cogwheel goes into the shaft, they are filled with dirt by the men inside, then the women must pull the filled containers back to the ground again.  Just like you’ve seen in pictures of China, where they still operate like in the middle Ages, it’s the same way here.  The yelling goes on endlessly, the Russians screaming “Davaj” (Hurry) and “Bistra!” (Faster).  It is still very cold here.  When the ground thaws out a bit during the day, the women get their shoes stuck in the mud.  They have to bind wire around their shoes in order to work.  Every day, more people are getting sick and can’t go to work.  Every day, people die.  I am only writing about the people in our coalmine.  In this whole camp, 4,600 people are imprisoned and have to work in eight different coalmines. 

April 3rd, 1945 (Tuesday)  A cold icy wind continues to blow all spring, it is still bringing snow from the east. 

April 4th, 1945 (Wednesday)  I traded tobacco for a shirt, which I promptly sold for 170 rubles. I bought food with the money; 1 kilo of bread cost 25 rubles, 1 liter of milk cost 20, 5 eggs cost 25, 2 deci-gram sugar for 35 rubles, 2 deci-gram salt for 16 rubles, 4 deci-gram beans for 10 rubles and 4 deci-gram of cornmeal for 8 rubles, which altogether cost me 139 rubles.  This will help keep me with nightly dinners for 1 – 2 weeks, to help satisfy my hunger. 

April 5th, 1945 (Thursday)  The Russians gave us all a green jacket and pants Most of us, including myself, sold them at the bazaar in order to get food – we are so hungry. 

April 6th, 1945 (Friday)  We continue to work hard making the frames.  The shaft keeps on getting deeper; soon the entire mountain will be excavated.  It is still very cold. 

April 7th, 1945 (Saturday)  We were made to march to the mines by armed women today!  They are like amazons; they hit people who walk too slowly, due to lack of proper nourishment. 

April 8th, 1945 (Sunday)  Today I asked Ingenohr for my Godfather to work with me.  Janos Kaszt is so weak that he can barely walk. 

April 9th, 1945 (Monday)  The prisoners from OberSchlesia were all assigned to the older coalmine, they are dying daily.  They were already weak and malnourished before they even came here. 

April 10th, 1945 (Tuesday)  It will never get warm here.  The Russians tells us to work faster – then we won’t freeze. 

April 11th, 1945 (Wednesday)  We continue to sleep on the bare planks of the bunk beds, with only our clothes to keep us warm.  Many people have skin rashes all over their bodies.  There is only one nurse here; she only has a thermometer – no medicine – no bandages – nothing to help the sick.  Those with 41-Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit) fever don’t have to go to work. 

April 12th, 1945 (Thursday)  The snow is slowly melting.  I wish it would finally get warmer, so that we won’t have to keep suffering from the cold – we have enough suffering already. 

April 13th, 1945 (Friday)  I sold a pair of pants so that I could buy some food at the bazaar.  With only the food at the camp, no one can survive.  Every day, people die. 

April 14th, 1945 (Saturday)  They are constantly pushing us to work harder, it is crazy.  We continue to build frames, which go deeper and deeper into the mine. 

April 15th, 1945 (Sunday)  Snow again today!  I had a 41-degree fever (105.8 Fahrenheit), so I stayed in the camp today.  I lay in my bed all day.  By the evening, my fever had gone down to 39 (102.2 Fahrenheit), so I’ll have to return to the mine and work tomorrow.

April 16th, 1945 (Monday)  When Ingenohr returned from lunch at home today, he brought me a piece of cornbread and two potatoes – to help me get better. 

April 17th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The only help for a fever here is a cold compress.  If that doesn’t help, then they’ll put you in the lye chamber and then bury you in the grave, where many are already resting.  A man’s life here is only worth that of a fly.  They are determined to let us starve to death – that’s what they always say! 

April 18th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Today is my daughter, Christine’s birthday.  She is 8 years old.  I thought of home the entire day.  I had a free day today, so I washed and repaired my pants.  A roommate, from Hajos (Hungary), died today.  In the evening, they buried four men. 

April 19th, 1945 (Thursday)  They won’t even let you rest at the end of the workday in the camp, there is always something that has to be fixed.  We walked 1 – 2 kilometers to retrieve re-usable building materials from destroyed buildings for the camp. 

April 20th, 1945 (Friday)  My hunger is so strong.  There is only saltwater in the cucumber soup.  The bread they give us is half full of inedible weeds.  Three men died today. 

April 21st, 1945 (Saturday)  Some days, it’s not so cold.  In exchange for excess wood scraps, the Russians give me food – it helps a little bit.  The people who work in the mines can’t do anything on the side, so they end up dying sooner. 

April 22nd, 1945 (Sunday)  We were sent to another building in the camp today, it even has a different kitchen.  Now we have to fix up this place on our only day off.  What a Sunday! 

April 23rd, 1945 (Monday)  For the second time, I stayed in the camp sick, but was not allowed to rest, I had to nail together tables and chairs.  For my efforts, I received a bowl of saltwater cucumber soup. 

April 24th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Still sick in the camp.  I washed my clothes and repaired my pants. 

April 25th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Had to work again in the kitchen, I made tables and benches out of old wood. 

April 26th, 1945 (Thursday)  Back to the coal mine.  They were waiting on me to return, as they are desperate for more frames.  Today we finally received our pay; it was high time, as we had all run out of money to pay for our meals.  They want us all to starve. 

April 27th, 1945 (Friday)  Ingenohr gave us all 6 meal cards for the kitchen – since we had to work so hard to make the frames they are in desperate need of. 

April 28th, 1945 (Saturday)  The Russians are just crazy, they keep on pushing us even though we are so weak from hunger.  Every day people die while working or marching to the mines. 

April 29th, 1945 (Sunday) “Razzia” (roundup) again!  The Russians took whatever they wanted from us. 

April 30th, 1945 (Monday) The Russians are acting crazy – as they are excited that tomorrow is May 1st

May 1st, 1945 (Tuesday) The Russians got drunk today on vodka and rode around in trucks and sang songs like crazy men.  But we prisoners had to work today.  The Russians said the coal is for the Red Army, that’s why they received the vodka. 

May 2nd, 1945 (Wednesday) The Russians were all sick today from drinking too much yesterday.  We only received cucumber soup today.  Every day, 2 – 3 people die here. 

May 3rd, 1945 (Thursday) The Russian residents here are beginning to plant their gardens.  The ground is as black as the night and very fertile. 

May 4th, 1945 (Friday) We ate some oily cakes from the bazaar, even though they’re bad for your stomach, we are so hungry. 

May 5th, 1945 (Saturday)  The weather is slowly getting nicer, but my hunger is getting worse.  Not a day goes by that 2 – 3 people die here. 

May 6th, 1945 (Sunday)  In exchange for scrap wood, the Russians usually give me food or sometimes even money so that I can buy whatever food I want at the bazaar.  My only thoughts are on food, then on dying. 

May 7th, 1945 (Monday)  I sold my pillow from home for 200 rubles and bought some food.  My hunger never leaves me day or night.  Our monthly pay is only 180 – 220 rubles, which is not enough to even pay for our lousy camp meals of watery soup. 

May 8th, 1945 (Tuesday)  We don’t know what the matter is, but the Russians are pushing us harder and harder to work. 

May 9th, 1945 (Wednesday) My day off.  Around afternoon, everything went crazy, the Russians told us that the war had ended, Berlin fell and Hitler is dead!  I cooked a few potatoes and ate them with my cucumber soup.  Many of us prisoners are saying that we’ll soon be going home.  (Hitler committed suicide on April 30th, the Germans officially surrendered on May 7th

May 10th, 1945 (Thursday)  There will be no more days off, as the Russians said that in the short time we’d be here, we’ll have to work hard.  Some people believe them, but others say to only wait – as they’ve lied to us often. 

May 11th, 1945 (Friday)  It only took two days for them to change their story.  Now we have to wait until everything is built up again in Russia before we can go home.  Now everyone here realizes the hopelessness of our situation. 

May 12th, 1945 (Saturday)  I sold a blanket that I had brought from home for 350 rubles.  I bought some food at the bazaar.  Many people lie in their beds sick and can’t ever return to work.  Every day, these sick hungry people end their suffering by dying.  Eternal peace. 

May 13th, 1945 (Sunday)  I bought 1 liter of milk for 20 rubles and promptly drank all of it.  I also bought 20 potatoes for 20 rubles and cooked them in the evening.  We have headaches and are very dizzy from the lack of food. 

May 14th, 1945 (Monday)  We are pushed to work harder to make the oak frames for the mine.  In the camp, there are so many people who lie in their beds; they will never be able to return to work. 

May 15th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The Russians sent many sick and injured people, who can’t work anymore to Kolchoss, where there is easier work. 

May 16th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Even though it was my free day; I still had to work in the camp making doors and windows.  I just want to scream at how badly they treat us. 

May 17th, 1945 (Thursday)  One of our countrymen from Csepel/Budapest, died today.  Just about everyone has severe body rashes and open wounds.  There is no medicine to treat us, what doesn’t heal on it’s own will cause our deaths.  Many people’s teeth are falling out. 

May 18th, 1945 (Friday)  No more talk about going home.  The work goes on even though we are all very weak.  The food I get in exchange for wood scraps helps me a great deal.  Andreas Vejtei and I work together and cook together, when we have extra food.  We are trying to hold on as long as we can.  Perhaps one day, we’ll be freed from this paradise. 

May 19th, 1945 (Saturday)  “Razzia” (roundup) again!  They stole our mirrors, scissors, etc.  We cannot defend ourselves. 

May 20th, 1945 (Sunday)  Pentecost – we received 4 pieces of a honey cake in the camp today; we had to pay 2 rubles extra for it.  It tasted good, as we only have cabbage or cucumber soup.  Even though today is a holiday, we had to work.  Even the sick were made to work today.  They make us work twice as hard on holidays. 

May 21st, 1945 (Monday)  Pentecost Monday – we talked only of the special cake that’s served on this day at home.  It’s been four months since we’ve been imprisoned.  They are driving us crazy with work.  Every day, they yell “bistra” (faster). 

May 22nd, 1945 (Tuesday)  I sold a hand towel and a wool jacket for 80 rubles. I bought cornmeal, sugar and four eggs at the bazaar for the money.  I cooked half of everything and ate it right away.  Every day, more people are dying, most from Romania and the Schlesier. 

May 23rd, 1945 (Wednesday)  With the camp food alone, you can only starve.  So many people are sick in the camp; they can’t go back to work. 

May 24th, 1945 (Thursday)  A strong wind and rain all day today – we still had to work in the heavy rain, with no covering to protect us.  My wet clothes kept on tugging at my body rash; it hurts and makes the rash worse by opening up raw sores. 

May 25th, 1945 (Friday)  The outlook is bleak.  If they don’t start feeding us more and give us better food, we’ll all die. 

May 26th, 1945 (Saturday)  In the four months of our imprisonment, we received our first ever noodle soup today.  I was sick the whole day with stomach pains, but I still had to work.  So many of the others are too sick and weak to work. 

May 27th, 1945 (Sunday)  Another rumor went around today about going home, if it continues the same way it has, then our only hope of going home will be to the hole they bury the dead in.  No day goes by that people don’t die here. 

May 28th, 1945 (Monday)  After two days of heavy stomach pains, I begged a Russian to bring me tea and 6 pieces of bread from home.  I had to pay him 35 rubles.  After two days of not eating the cabbage soup, I was better. 

May 29th, 1945 (Tuesday)  A lot of people are dying from diarrhea and stomach cramps. 

May 30th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I went to the nurse and asked for medicine for my stomach cramps, she told me there was no medicine; that I should eat dry bread.  I told her they only feed us cucumber and cabbage soup, no bread. She told me that it wasn’t her problem. 

May 31st, 1945 (Thursday)  I was sick and stayed in the camp today, as my fever was over 41 degrees (105.8 Fahrenheit).  Andreas Vejtei bought me bread and tea from the bazaar for 40 rubles.  I didn’t eat their soup.   

June 1st, 1945 (Friday)  They made me go to work today even though I am still sick.  At noon, Ingehohr wrote me a pass so I could go back to the camp.  On the way back, I bought 6 eggs and cornmeal from the bazaar.  I’m cooking it now.  I’m not eating their soup, only dry food for a few days.  They work us all until we’re dead. 

June 2nd, 1945 (Saturday)  Only heaven knows our suffering here.  So many people are sick and can’t work. 

June 3rd, 1945 (Sunday)   I’m still sick.  They’re making me work tomorrow, but I’m so sick and weak that I can barely walk.  I’ve got more sores/abscess on my body now, they hurt like crazy.  The sore under my arm broke and it’s very painful.  We’re all going to end up dying here.  It will be a miracle if anyone ever sees home again. 

June 4th, 1945 (Monday)  I had to work today even though I’m in great pain and very weak. 

June 5th, 1945 (Tuesday)  I sold a Russian jacket and bought potatoes at the bazaar.  With only the camp food, you’ll starve.  Sometimes Ingehohr brings me a little food from his home after his lunch. 

June 6th, 1945 (Wednesday)  We’ve been here over four months and we still haven’t gotten any mattresses or blankets.  The bugs won’t let you sleep at night. 

June 7th, 1945 (Thursday)  I sold my pants at the bazaar for 150 rubles in order to buy food.  Those that can’t get money for food are merely shadows of their old selves.  Every day, people are going into eternity. 

June 8th, 1945 (Friday)  The people who work in the coal mine every day can’t even wash themselves; as there is no bathing facility here.  Now they are finally building a cleaning facility so that clothing can be washed.   

June 9th, 1945 (Saturday) The food is always terrible and so meager, you could go crazy from hunger. From the original 4,600 prisoners, many have already died.  They are replacing them with Russians.  Everything is hopeless; more and more of us are dying. 

June 10th, 1945 (Sunday)  The weather is warm.  The work goes on here like crazy; the shaft keeps getting dug deeper and deeper.  It is now 60 meters deep, but they still haven’t gotten any coal yet. 

June 11th, 1945 (Monday)   At the mine, Russian women are selling eggs and milk; I bought both for 25 rubles to help ease my insatiable hunger.  It is a crime what they are doing to us. 

June 12th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Today, a man from Hajos injured himself in the mine and ended up dead.  Another prisoner committed suicide by jumping from the third floor of the camp.  He also had three children at home. (John Knodel himself had three children) 

June 13th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Sold a shirt and a towel for 250 rubles today in order to buy beans and cornmeal at the bazaar.  Selling my clothing has helped me survive. 

June 14th, 1945 (Thursday) For the first time in five months of captivity, we were allowed to bathe today.  The facility is much too small for all 4,000 of us captives; there is a line of people waiting day and night in order to bathe. In our camp section, four more people died. A woman from Romania, a man from the Bacska and two from OberSchlesien. 

June 15th, 1945 (Friday)  I traded a pair of socks for potatoes and cornmeal today; my hunger is so great. I suffer from constant headaches and stomach cramps. 

June 16th, 1945 (Saturday)  Two more men died from our section; one from Csepel and one from Vaskut. (both in Hungary) 

June 17th, 1945 (Sunday)  There will be no more days off, we all have to work every days, seven days a week now.  They say we are working too slowly.  We are going to have to work until we die.  A man hung himself in the camp today.  Another man in our section died.  I am only writing about the people around me who work in the same coalmine.  Now instead of 2 – 3 deaths daily, there are 5 – 6 deaths daily. 

June 18th, 1945 (Monday)  The Amazonian women armed guards continue to hit and stomp on the people who are too sick and weak to walk on the way to and from the coal mine.   

June 19th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The work continues to go on like crazy; even though so many lie in the camp, too weak to work.  We can barely maneuver the big oak trees to make the frames anymore.  We got two more men to work with us today.  

June 20th, 1945 (Wednesday) We’re still building frames.  No coal yet from the mine. 

June 21st, 1945 (Thursday)  It’s been five months today since the Russians captured us and took us from our homes.  It feels like an eternity already.  My hunger and the sores on my body are driving me crazy.  The sores are so itchy and hurt; I don’t sleep at night. 

June 22nd, 1945 (Friday)  I still can’t sleep from the sores on my back and legs.  For the first time ever, we received some antiseptic cream, but it’s only enough to cover half the sores. 

June 23rd, 1945 (Saturday)  We’re still making frames for the shaft, still no coals. 

June 24th, 1945 (Sunday)  Another rumor about going home.  With 6 – 7 people dying daily, even if they released us, who would be left to go home? 

June 25th, 1945 (Monday)  I dreamt about home last night and saw my father-in-law Grob and my brother-in-law Heinrich (Heinrich was missing in action, presumed dead during World War II, was never heard from).  I bought ˝ liter milk, 4 eggs and 2 pieces of cornbread for 38 rubles at the bazaar.  I promptly ate everything. 

June 26th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Those that are too sick and weak to work anymore have been written up and supposedly, they will be returned to their homes. 

June 27th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Had to work in the camp today to repair doors, windows, tables and benches.

June 28th, 1945 (Thursday)  Today they wrote up the names of the very sick and also took the names of their parents and children.  It’s only a bluff.  Every evening those who are buried are the one who went home. 

June 29th, 1945 (Friday)  Today is Peter and Paul day (Saints Day).  At home, the harvest will have started.  Everything is still green here.  In honor or the day, we received two honey cakes with our soup. 

June 30th, 1945 (Saturday)  It was so cold and rainy today that we worked in our winter clothes.  The sores on my back and legs are so bad, they drive me crazy.  During the day, my pants rub the sores raw, at the night, the sores hurt so much that I can’t sleep.  I also can’t sleep because I’m hungry and have my doubts about whether I’ll ever see my homeland and my family again.  The future is doubtful. 

July 1st, 1945 (Monday)  The camp food quality continues to worsen.  The soup they now cook stinks and is bitter tasting.  Every day, more people get sick from it and die. 

July 2nd, 1945 (Tuesday)  The food has never been as bad as it is now.  People are falling from starvation on the way to the mine, at the coal mine and some on the way back to the camp. 

July 3rd, 1945 (Wednesday)  A man from Vaskut died today, he had one daughter and 200 acres of farmland at home.  Who will take care of his fields and his daughter? 

July 4th, 1945 (Thursday)  A day off.  Today they brought back Lajos Nagy to the camp; he had escaped and was gone for three weeks.  The Russians beat him severely and locked him in a basement room for three weeks with only a small piece of bread and 3 dezi-gram of water. 

July 5th, 1945 (Friday)  Three men and a woman were buried today from our section.  Every day, 5 – 6 people go into eternity. 

July 6th, 1945 (Saturday)  After four months of digging, coals were produced at 63 meters deep.  The Russians were very happy. 

July 7th, 1945 (Sunday)  The coals are only one meter thick.  Now they have to excavate 20 centimeter of stones so that the men can enter the shaft on their hands and knees. 

July 8th, 1945 (Monday)  The coals are now coming. They are bringing evergreen trees from the forest, which we cut into 10-centimeter thick, 2-meter long lumber, with ten large posts for support. 

July 9th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Today was a solar eclipse, it got very dark for a short time.  They are needing even more lumber for the mine. 

July 10th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Cloudy weather.  I’ve got a big sore/abscess on my right knee that hurts so much.  It’s hard to work. 

July 11th, 1945 (Thursday)  My day off.  I put a warm compress on my sore knee; the pain is driving me crazy.  There are still many sick in the camp, they lay in the sun and some go to sleep into eternity. 

July 12th, 1945 (Friday)  I dreamt about home again and saw my wife Kati and my daughter Christine in my dream.  I hope that I can see them while I’m still living, but it doesn’t seem that that will happen. 

July 13th, 1945 (Saturday)  They gave us 20 pieces of sugar cubes.  Now we have to work 12 hours a day.  They need a lot of lumber for the mine.  Two others died today by us. 

July 14th, 1945 (Sunday)  I am 38 years old today.  They made us work very hard today.  The old engineer often brings me food from his mid-day meal.  At night, I had a piece of bread with sugar. 

July 15th, 1945 (Monday)  Bought a liter of milk and ˝ kilo of sour cherries for 20 rubles and ate everything right away.  My hunger is so great that if I get food, I have to eat it right away. 

July 16th, 1945 (Tuesday)  We worked 12 hours today; they need the lumber so much.  For our efforts, we get a bowl of cabbage soup with a small piece of bread in the morning.  In the evening, we get the same thing.  What they feed us is not enough to survive on. 

July 17th, 1945 (Wednesday)  We protested today, we are weak and dizzy from hunger.  They gave us 6 small pieces of cornbread. 

July 18th, 1945 (Thursday) My day off.  They made me work repairing doors and windows again until the evening.  I didn’t even have time to wash my clothes. 

July 19th, 1945 (Friday)  Three men and a woman went to eternity today.  Now there is no talk about going home.  My sores are slowly healing, the greatest pains have lessened. 

July 20th, 1945 (Saturday)  A huge thunderstorm soaked us to the skin all day while working.  They keep on pushing us for more wood for the mine. 

July 21st, 1945 (Sunday)  Today marks 6 months, a half-year since we’ve been imprisoned.  It feels like it’s been a year.  Always hungry, a person could go crazy. 

July 22nd, 1945 (Monday)  It’s Heinrich (his son) and Kato (his daughter) birthdays today.  Are they still living and still at home?  I haven’t heard from home. 

July 23rd, 1945 (Tuesday)  We unloaded dynamite from the train station today, they need it for the coalmine.  In exchange for wood scraps, I receive sometimes bread or potatoes from the Russians at noontime.  It helps. 

July 24th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Again two more dead, one on the way to the mine and one died in the camp.  We’ll all die from the beet/turnip leaf soup. 

July 25th, 1945 (Thursday)  It was supposed to be my day off, but they made me work today making lumber for the mine.  It rained all day and soaked us through to the skin.  We are weak and dizzy and have constant headaches.  It makes you crazy. 

July 26th, 1945 (Friday)  They are pushing us like crazy at the mine.  The people who work in the mine come out so dark and dirty, you can barely see them.  The bathing opportunities are so slim here that these people are constantly filthy.  They will die in their filth. 

July 27th, 1945 (Saturday)  Another dead today.  Many more are sick.  If this keeps up, then we will all slowly stay here for eternity. 

July 28th, 1945 (Sunday)  I sold a pair of shoes for 300 rubles and bought cornmeal.  Andreas Vejtei and I cooked it that night in the camp.   

July 29th, 1945 (Monday)  Two more people died today, our numbers are dwindling. The Romanians/Germans and Schlesier have the most dead.  Also, the Hungarians from Hajos, who drank a lot of wine at home and some from the Budapest area are all mostly in their final resting places. 

July 30th, 1945 (Tuesday)  They pushed us extra hard today, they needed a lot of wood for the mine.  The whole day they yelled, “Davaja” and “Bistra” (faster, hurry up!). 

July 31st, 1945 (Wednesday)  Now there is no more talk about going home.  By the time Russia’s rebuilt, we’ll be dead.  Every day, people die here. 

August 1st, 1945 (Thursday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes.  Everything is turning into rags. 

August 2nd, 1945 (Friday)  I sold my boots today at the bazaar for 450 rubles and bought some food.  You starve with only the camp food. 

August 3rd, 1945 (Saturday)  The second mine is now also 110 meters deep, so we must also provide wood for the second mine.  We work in three shifts; the mines require an enormous amount of wood.  Good black coals are the result of our labor. 

August 4th, 1945 (Sunday) It rained on us the entire day, but we weren’t allowed to stop working.  My sores returned, my entire back and legs are covered with open sores that hurt so much.  The sores hurt me day and night. 

August 5th, 1945 (Monday)  I cooked cornmeal tonight to help alleviate my hunger pains.  On top of my sores, bugs at night won’t let me sleep. 

August 6th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The Russians are saving the Oak trees for use in making streets, so we have to use fir trees for the mines now. 

August 7th, 1945 (Wednesday)  So many captives are lying sick in their beds.  The beet and cucumber soup gives everyone diarrhea. Most people can’t even walk anymore. 

August 8th, 1945 (Thursday)  My open sores hurt me so much that I’ll soon go crazy.  During the day, the open sores rub against my clothing, at night, they won’t let me sleep.  Today was to be my day off, but they made me work at the mine. 

August 9th, 1945 (Friday)  In the area, rye and wheat are beginning to ripen, the harvest will soon begin.  We hope that after the harvest, we’ll be getting better food than beet leaves and cucumber soups. 

August 10th, 1945 (Saturday)  Ears are growing on the corn.  We’re eating whatever we can find raw from the fields – corn, cabbage, carrots and cucumbers.   

August 11th, 1945 (Sunday)  If you have money, you can buy food at the bazaar.  If you don’t have money, you’ll starve from only the camp food. 

August 12th, 1945 (Monday)  I’ve been sick for a few days already, but I still have to go to work. 

August 13th, 1945 (Tuesday)  I was sick in the camp today with a 41-degree (105.8 Fahrenheit) fever.  To my further misfortune, I have severe stomach cramps and diarrhea.  I am very weak. Kathi (his wife) has her birthday today. 

August 14th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Still sick with a 41-degree fever.  A. Vejtei brought me potatoes from the bazaar and cooked them for me.  I will only eat dry foods, no more soup from the camp. 

August 15th, 1945 (Thursday)  I’m still sick in the camp with a high fever and am very weak.  When you see all the sick people here who can’t even walk, then you lose your hope of ever going home. 

August 16th, 1945 (Friday)  My condition worsens.  I can barely walk, and am getting weaker.  They brought me eggs and sugar from the bazaar to give me strength and help my stomach improve. 

August 17th, 1945 (Saturday)  I sold a pair of pants for 200 rubles and bought eggs and bread. I will only eat dry foods, no camp soup. 

August 18th, 1945 (Sunday)  My fever will not go away.  They brought me black tea from the bazaar to drink instead of water.  The sick here who drink the camp water and eat the camp soup never get better. 

August 19th, 1945 (Monday)  A Vejtei brought me eggs and a ˝ liter vodka from the bazaar.  Maybe this will help me. 

August 20th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The Russians celebrated and danced today, as the war with Japan is now also over.  Back home in Hungary it’s St. Stephan’s day, it was always a national holiday.  (Japan officially surrendered on September 2nd

August 21st, 1945 (Wednesday)  It’s been seven months today since the Russians have sent us to hell.  Will any of us return home?  I am still very sick. 

August 22nd, 1945 (Thursday)  I didn’t get my full pay from the mine because I was so sick. 

August 23rd, 1945 (Friday)  So many people are sick here.  They will slowly die of starvation and malnutrition. 

August 24th, 1945 (Saturday)  My fever has lessened and I feel a little better. 

August 25th, 1945 (Sunday)  The Russians gave us underwear.  I sold them right away for 150 rubles.  I bought eggs, sugar and bread with the money.  I’m as hungry as a wolf. 

August 26th, 1945 (Monday)  I had only a 39-degree (102.2 Fahrenheit) fever last night.  I had to work at the mine today.  I could barely function from my weakness and barely made the march back to the camp at night. 

August 27th, 1945 (Tuesday)  My fever went back up to 41-degrees (105.8 Fahrenheit), so I stayed in the camp.  A roommate, Josef Knipl died today, he had also been sick for a long time. 

August 28th, 1945 (Wednesday)  I sold everything I could today to get money to buy me food.  Maybe the food will help me hang on and get better. 

August 29th, 1945 (Thursday) My sores are giving me great pain today.  Everyone in the camp is sick of the cabbage and cucumber soups. 

August 30th, 1945 (Friday)  The weather is already changing.  A chilly east wind is bringing winter soon.  Not many of us will be able to survive; we all sold our winter clothing in order to buy food to sustain us. 

August 31st, 1945 (Saturday)  We are already afraid of the coming harsh winter here.  The war has ended; maybe they’ll let those left living, go home. 

September 1st, 1945 (Sunday)  I worked at the mine today, my fever was 39-degrees. The weather was nice today.  Every day, more people die on the way to the mine, at the mine, or on the way back to camp. 

September 2nd, 1945 (Monday)  I am still very dizzy and weak, but have to work hard. The mine is producing a lot of coal. 

September 3rd, 1945 (Tuesday)  a Romanian and myself had to work repairing two houses near here that were damaged in the war. 

September 4th, 1945 (Wednesday)  A Russian working on the roof said that young Russians who fought against Hitler would be coming here to work in the mine. 

September 5th, 1945 (Thursday)  I am feeling a little better.  I am still as hungry as a wolf.  Every day, 3 –4 people die. 

September 6th, 1945 (Friday)  I bought a plateful of cooked potatoes and two eggs from a Russian today and ate it right away.  

September 7th, 1945 (Saturday)  A person from Csepel/Budapest and a 19 year-old Romanian died today.  I received potatoes and plums in exchange for scrap wood today.  I cooked the potatoes with cornmeal in the evening. 

September 8th, 1945 (Sunday)  The camp food alone is not enough to sustain anyone. 

September 9th, 1945 (Monday)  We have to make 300 bunk beds. The Russians put triple-thick wire around the houses we fixed up.  On top of the fence, they put barbed wire. 

September 10th, 1945 (Tuesday)  The open sores have multiplied and gotten worse.  Now my hands are also covered.  There is no medicine.  When my clothes rub against the open sores, the pain is so great – Ill go crazy. 

September 11th, 1945 (Wednesday)  It was cold, cloudy and windy today.  What will happen to us if we’re still here this winter? 

September 12th, 1945 (Thursday)  I finally got a day off today.  I washed my clothes and mended them as best as I could.  This evening, I had to help bury three people. 

September 13th, 1945 (Friday)  More and more are dying.  It is hopeless that anyone will ever get to return home. 

September 14th, 1945 (Saturday)  Even though the war is over and their harvest was good, we are still only receiving watered down, salty, terrible tasting soup.  They still give us only cabbage or cucumber soup.

September 15th, 1945 (Sunday)  Most of the bread they give us is half-full of inedible unchaffed grain – it sticks like burrs in your stomach and intestines. 

September 16th, 1945 (Monday)  Today we built a huge rack at the mine 21 meters high.  It’s motorized and it pulls up the wagons full of coal and then returns the wagons to the mine for more coal.   

September 17th, 1945 (Tuesday)  We see a lot of new things that they’ve stolen from Germany here.  Our workforce has dwindled due to malnutrition and starvation.  The Russians have also sent some to other slave labor places. 

September 18th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Even though we were soaked from working in a cold, heavy rain all day today, they still pushed us, crying “Davaj! Bistra!” (hurry, faster!).  Most of us can barely stand by ourselves. 

September 19th, 1945 (Thursday)  Now we have malaria here!  A lot of people have a very high fever and the shivers.  They are very sick.  The Russians said that for malaria, they’ll try and get medicine – we’ll see if any comes before everyone dies. 

September 20th, 1945 (Friday)  Malaria got me!  I have a 40-degree fever (105.8 Fahrenheit) and am shaking.  I am some times so hot that I feel I’m burning up, and then get so cold that my whole body and even my teeth are shaking.  A third of our camp is sick with Malaria and can’t work. 

September 21st, 1945 (Saturday)  It’s been eight months today that we’ve been here.  Two Hungarian girls, 17 – 18 year olds died today.  They are replacing the captives who’ve died with Russians. 

September 22nd, 1945 (Sunday) Relief!  The pills came today.  We have to take 3 yellow pills and 3 blue pills daily.  The pills taste so awful, some people won’t take them.  I’ve been taking the ones other people won’t take; perhaps I’ll need them again. 

September 23, 1945 (Monday)  I’m still very sick with malaria.  Three more roommates died today.  It is hopeless. 

September 24th, 1945 (Tuesday)  My fever will not subside.  I’m taking the pills as prescribed every day.  I’m amazed that I still live to see another day. 

September 25th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My roommates told me that I was talking in my sleep all night.  I said that I couldn’t stay here anymore, that I must return home.

September 26th, 1945 (Thursday)  I’m feeling a little better today, the cold shivers aren’t as bad.  A. Vejtei brought me cooked eggs and potatoes from the bazaar.  It was the first time I was able to eat in days. 

September 27th, 1945 (Friday)  I’m still sick today.  Three more people died.  Only heaven knows the suffering we’ve had to endure. 

September 28th, 1945 (Saturday)  I had to work today, my fever was 39 degrees (102.2 Fahrenheit).  I could hardly make the march to the mine.  Two more Schlesier died today.  About half of our original group is already dead and buried in the pit. 

September 29th, 1945 (Sunday)  There was a frost today.  It is getting colder.  I’m still taking the malaria pills that I bought from others.  My fever is gradually lessening, but my hunger is still very great. 

September 30th, 1945 (Monday)  Three more people died today, two from Hungary and one from Schlesien.  We are all so weak, we can barely stand alone, but they continue to make us work – always faster! 

October 1st, 1945 (Tuesday)  No more days off, everyone must now work every day of the week.  More of the same hard work, more of the same people collapsing and then dying. 

October 2nd, 1945 (Wednesday)  They replaced the crazy Amazonian women guards with handicapped men wounded in the war.  Good riddance to the women!  They were s quick to kick and hit the weak captives who didn’t march fast enough for them. 

October 3rd, 1945 (Thursday)  They wrote up those over fifty years old and those that are sick and can’t work anymore. 

October 4th, 1945 (Friday)  It was cold working outside today.  I have a strong hunger and my stomach aches.  I’m still supposed to work faster and faster. 

October 5th, 1945 (Saturday)  I sold a pair of shoes for 300 ruble and bought food at the bazaar.  My hunger is so great! 

October 6th, 1945 (Sunday)  They sent back the old and sick today.  They said they were being sent home.  I hope so.  Who knows?  They also sent back J. Kast, from my home town, Harta, Hungary. 

October 7th, 1945 (Monday)  The cucumber soup is giving me severe stomach cramps again.  The sores on my back and legs are getting worse again.  They keep on pushing us closer to death.  They only sent back thirty persons, over a thousand of us have already died here.  They were buried without any clothes in a mass grave, with no headstone to mark their passing. 

October 8th, 1945 (Tuesday)  I bought five eggs and some honey at the bazaar to ease my hunger.  I bought a pair of shoe from a Schlesier for 120 ruble and was able to sell the same pair at the bazaar for 300. 

October 9th, 1945 (Wednesday) I was sick again and stayed in the camp today with a 41 degree (105.8 F) fever.  Three more roommates died today.  I have a huge open sore on my left leg, which I am putting hot compresses on.  Now my hunger is worse than the pain. 

October 10th, 1945 (Thursday) Sick again with a high fever.

October 11th, 1945 (Friday)  Still Sick. 

October 12th, 1945 (Saturday)  Still sick.  I have stomach cramps and diarrhea.  Many young Russians arrived here today to work in the mine.  They were captured by the Nazi’s to work in Germany, now the Russians are making them work here one year before they are allowed to return home.  They are quartered in the buildings we recently repaired. 

October 13th, 1945 (Sunday)  A. Vejtei bought a ˝ kilo of beef, which we cooked in the evening, along with potatoes.  I’m feeling a little better today.  My fever is lessening, I hope I’m getting better. 

October 14th, 1945 (Monday)  I had to go to work today.  My fever was 40 degrees (104 F).  I was so hungry and weak that I could barely stand up.  I was cold.  In the afternoon, Ingenohr sent me back. 

October 15th, 1945 (Tuesday)  My fever went up to 41 degrees, so I was allowed to stay in the camp today.  People are dropping like flies this fall. 

October 16th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Still sick today.  Stayed in the camp.  You can’t imagine how many sick people are here who can’t walk or stand up straight. 

October 17th, 1945 (Thursday)  I still have a high fever.  Sometimes I’m boiling hot, sometimes freezing cold.  I’m hungry and have pain.  Winter is knocking at the door.  Many will not survive the winter. 

October 18th, 1945 (Friday)  My thoughts were only on food and at home in Harta today.  It was a sad day. 

October 19th, 1945 (Saturday)  I’m still very sick, even though I’m only drinking boiled water.  I’m only eating dry food – potatoes which I cook myself on the stove.

October 20th, 1945 (Sunday)  I’m still sick and stayed in the camp.  My hopes are deflated after seeing all the sick people here who did daily. 

October 21st, 1945 (Monday)  I was made to work today in the ice and snow.  The Russians gave us all green jackets and pants, which I promptly sold at the bazaar for 184 ruble in order to buy food. 

October 22nd, 1945 (Tuesday)  I was sent to the infirmary today, as my fever is still very high.  The infirmary is the second to the last place you go to here, from here, most people go into the burial ditch.  There are twenty people in this room.  There are no beds, so we all lie on the dirty floor.  They give us bitter-tasting black tea and a small piece of bread to eat. 

October 23rd, 1945 (Wednesday)  Two people died this morning in our sick room.  They brought in two more people to replace their spots on the floor.  I am so afraid that I’ll die, but I can’t give up hope. 

October 24th, 1945 (Thursday)  Three people were dead this morning.  If this keeps up, it will be my turn soon.  We still only receive tea and bread.

October 25th, 1945 (Friday)  Today only one person was dead.  They didn’t replace him.

October 26th, 1945 (Saturday)  Today three people died in the sick room.  They don’t even cry out, they just die like they’re falling asleep. 

October 27th, 1945 (Sunday)  No one died in the room today.  I am feeling a little better.  I’m only praying for food, I have such strong hunger pains. 

October 28th, 1945 (Monday)  Still in the sick room with a high fever.  I am still very weak.  They paid me for two weeks work and didn’t take money for camp food, as I didn’t eat any. 

October 29th, 1945 (Tuesday)  I was sent from the infirmary to my own room today to my roommates A. Vejtei and A. Schneider.  I made it out from the death room!  I am still very sick. 

October 30th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Andreas Vejtei bought me eggs and cornmeal from the bazaar for 80 ruble.  Now I can cook four meals with it. 

October 31st, 1945 (Thursday)  I survived two very hard weeks with sickness.  I always kept the thought in my mind that I can’t die here, that I have to be able to return home to my family before it’s my turn to die. 

November 1st, 1945 (Friday)  I’m still sick in the camp.  Josef Imgrundt from Bacsalmas, Hungary, died today, along with three others.  He was 21 years old.  No day goes by that people don’t die here. 

November 2nd, 1945 (Saturday)  I helped bury Joseph today.  I’m feeling a little better and was able to work in the camp kitchen repairing tables and benches.  They gave me a big bowl of cornmeal.   

November 3rd, 1945 (Sunday)  I was made to work at the mine today even though I’m very weak.  I was freezing cold all day.  Two more people died today from our mine. 

November 4th, 1945 (Monday)  Worked on the saw all day today out in the open.  The snow was flying and it was bitter cold.  Still so weak. 

November 5th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Worked with wet, unseasoned green wood that was frozen.  The saw barely could cut into it.  It has to be used, as they need the wood for the mine frames. 

November 6th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My first saw injury.  A co-worker wanted to help me, he fell holding the wood and the saw cut my right hand.  We made a bandage from the back of my shirt.  No medicine for the pain. 

November 7th, 1945 (Thursday)  It’s my eighteenth wedding anniversary today.  My thoughts were at home even though my pains were driving my crazy.  My wound is already beet red with infection, even my entire arm is swollen. 

November 8th, 1945 (Friday)  A. Fussenecker from Csaszartoltes, Hungary, died today. 

November 9th, 1945 (Saturday)  My hand wound is worse, all infected and swollen.  Since there is no medicine, I am prescribing my own.  Even time I urinate, I pour some of the water I passed over the wound.  It seems to be helping. 

November 10th, 1945 (Sunday)  The nurse wrote me up as sick today.  It’s very cold and windy today. 

November 11th, 1945 (Monday)  As my injury was job related, I don’t have to pay for my food.  When it gets better, then I’ll have to repair tables and benches in the kitchen in exchange for free food. 

November 12th, 1945 (Tuesday)  My medicine must be working, as the infection is going away.  It’s still very sore and painful. 

November 13th, 1945 (Wednesday)  We buried Jakob Onhaus today, he was fifty six years old.  We also buried three other people from our mine. 

November 14th, 1945 (Thursday)  They are still making me work repairing tables in the kitchen even though my hand is swollen and bandaged.  The Russians gave me a pair of leather gloves lined with sheep’s wool so that I can work. 

November 15th, 1945 (Friday)  They wrote up those that are very sick and old today.  They are still pushing me to fix things in the kitchen. 

November 16th, 1945 (Saturday)  It’s very cold, windy and snowy today.  An east wind is blowing the snow like crazy.  I’m glad that I’m inside the warm camp kitchen, still repairing things. 

November 17th, 1945 (Sunday)  It’s 19 degrees (2 F) outside today.  There’s 40 centimeter of snow on the ground already.  I don’t have to pay for the cabbage soup, but I do have to pay for the bread. 

November 18th, 1945 (Monday)  I still have some money, so A. Vejtei bought me some eggs and cornmeal at the bazaar for 40 ruble.  I can make four meals with it.

November 19th, 1945 (Tuesday)  My hand wound is slowly getting better, my medicine has helped.  Many others have died from similar wounds.  Those people died from high fevers and had severe pain, they didn’t die peacefully in their sleep. 

November 20th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My thumb is still stiff and rigid, I hope it will also heal.  I’m now working in the basement, putting together a small kitchen where we can cook.  We’re not supposed to cook in our rooms anymore. 

November 21st, 1945 (Thursday)  It’s been now ten months since we’ve been imprisoned.  It feels like ten years already. 

November 22nd, 1945 (Friday)  They brought in tables and benches that were factory made and put them in our basement kitchen. 

November 23rd, 1945 (Saturday)  It snowed the entire night.  The first shirt lost it’s way in the snow and arrived late at the mine. 

November 24th, 1945 (Sunday)  I got another bad case of sores/abscess on my legs and back.  Most everyone is full of them, too. 

November 25th, 1945 (Monday)  Today is my wife’s names day, Katharina day.  Will we ever celebrate it together again?  (It was the custom then to celebrate Names Days, not actual birthdays) 

November 26th, 1945 (Tuesday)  I’m still sick in the camp today.  The weather is very cold and it’s snowing. 

November 27th, 1945 (Wednesday)  I sold two pieces of soap for 40 ruble today to buy bread. 

November 28th, 1945 (Thursday)  Today was pay day at the mine.  I didn’t receive anything, because I couldn’t work with my hand injury.  If you don’t have money, then you can’t eat the camp food and then have to die of starvation like so many already have done.   

November 29th, 1945 (Friday)  I am still sick in the camp.  Since I’m repairing tables and benches, they’ve been giving me free soup, so I’m still among the living. 

November 30th, 1945 (Saturday)  The winter is approaching.  I am feeling a little better.  Today was Andreas Names Day, so Andreas Vejtei and I celebrated by cooking four potatoes and some cornmeal. 

December 1st, 1945 (Sunday)  After twenty-four days out sick with my hand wound, I returned to the mine today.  It was hard working in the cold, snow and wind. 

December 2nd, 1945 (Monday)  I am hungry and very tired. I sold my summer clothes for 550 ruble and bought bread, cornmeal and eggs at the bazaar. 

December 3rd, 1945 (Tuesday)  More and more Russians are filling the places of those of us who’ve died.

December 4th, 1945 (Wednesday)  I sold my shoes and paid 150 ruble extra for a better pair of shoes, as my feet were always wet and cold working at the mine. 

December 5th, 1945 (Thursday)   Had to work out in the open all day, it was very cold.  We’ll soon go to the ground. 

December 6th, 1945 (Friday) Very cold again working at the mine today.  It’s even cold in our camp room at night, as we have no bedding to keep us warm and have to wear our wet clothes when we sleep. 

December 7th, 1945 (Saturday)  Hunger and cold day and night.  No wonder so many die. 

December 8th, 1945 (Sunday)  We marched to the mine in –25 degree (-25 F) cold and snow.  It was dark marching.  We worked eight hours without any food and then marched back the four kilometers to the camp at night.  It’s no wonder that over 1,000 people have died from our original 4,600. 

December 9th, 1945 (Monday)  We went by truck to the forest today to harvest wood.  It was – 30 degrees (-30 F), very cold. 

December 10th, 1945 (Tuesday)  They kept pushing us and pushing us to produce more wood for the mine.  We can hardly stand up, how do they expect us to work? 

December 11th, 1945 (Wednesday)  Our lives are even more miserable with the cold weather.  The snow is already 50 – 60 centi-meter thick.  You can only think about food. 

December 12th, 1945 (Thursday)  I bought beans and cornmeal at the bazaar today for 60 ruble.  I cooked it tonight.  

December 13th, 1945 (Friday)  Jacob Grieks from Vaskut, Hungary, died in our room today.  My stomach aches are getting worse. 

December 14th, 1945 (Saturday)  Cold, hungry and in pain all day while at work. 

December 15th, 1945 (Sunday)  Four more people died from our mine today.  I am feeling terrible. 

December 16th, 1945 (Monday)  I stayed in the camp today, as I had a 40 degree (105.8 F) fever.  There are many who are severely sick and must suffer from starvation and die. 

December 17th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Sick in the camp today.  A monstrous snowstorm raged the whole day, I thought the world was going to end.  Many people got lost marching to and from the mine. 

December 18th, 1945 (Wednesday)  My fever went down, so I had to work at the mine today in –31 degree cold weather, I almost froze. 

December 19th, 1945 (Thursday)  My hand injury finally healed, but my hands are always cold.  It took six weeks and I endured lots of pain before it healed. 

December 20th, 1945 (Friday)  It was –35 degrees today and cold.  We had to pay 6 ruble for a teaspoonful of sugar and lard. 

December 21st, 1945 (Saturday)  It’s been eleven months since they’ve imprisoned us.  Over one third of us have already died. 

December 22nd, 1945 (Sunday)  The cold weather has lessened a bit, but the 4 kilometer march to the mine is still tough and hard to maneuver in this weather. 

December 23rd, 1945 (Monday)  Fog this morning, we could barely find the way to the mine.  The fog was very damp and made my clothes cold and wet. 

December 24th, 1945 (Tuesday)  Even though we worked as hard as we could, they still yelled at us all day today.  It was icy in the morning, when it melted a bit in the afternoon, our gloves and clothes got wet. 

December 25th, 1945 (Wednesday)  The first Christmas day!  We had a very meager feast, only our usual cabbage soup and a small piece of bread.  Had to work all day at the saw.  At night, A. Vejtei and I boiled potatoes for our Christmas meal. 

December 26th, 1945 (Thursday)  My Names Day today.  I cooked beans.  It was the most sorrowful Christmas in my life!  No one can understand the tragedy that has befallen us.  I only thought about home, hope they’re all alive and safe at home.

December 27th, 1945 (Friday) I stayed in the camp today, sick.  I think it was from the beans I cooked the night before, they were too heavy for my weak stomach.  Three more people died today. 

December 28th, 1945 (Saturday)  I’m still sick in the camp today.  I had to repair doors and windows.  They gave me a bowl of soup and a piece of bread.  More young Russians are coming to replace those of us who’ve died. 

December 29th, 1945 (Sunday)  We received our pay and a piece of soap from the mine.  I bought some potatoes and cornmeal and cooked them tonight. 

December 30th, 1945 (Monday) Now the second mine that we’ve had to make wooden frames for is producing coals.  The first mine produced coals at 60 meters, the second mine produced coals at 110 meters. 

December 31st, 1945 (Tuesday) The last day of the year.  I was very sick more than a few times this year, when I thought I might not live to see another day.  It is a crime what they are doing to us unlucky, innocents.  The food is miserable and not enough to survive on, but they make us work eight hours a day and then stick us back in this camp.  Many people have already fallen on the way, at work and on the way back, and die.  They remove their clothing and throw them in a shallow ditch as a grave.  They let us write postcards home monthly, but they are never sent.  We haven’t heard any news from our homes.  No one knows if their relatives are still alive.  My thoughts are of home.  With a heavy heart, I close the year of 1945. 

In August and September, typhoid fever claimed many lives.  How much longer do we have to suffer here?  No one knows. 

January 1st, 1946 (Tuesday)  A new year and we still don’t know if our families are safe back home.  Still no word from them.  In twenty days, it will be a full year since they captured us. 

January 2nd, 1946 (Wednesday)  For New Years Day, A. Vejtei and I bought two corncakes, two small sausages and one dezi-gram of vodka for 90 ruble. 

January 3rd, 1946 (Thursday)  Our roommate Franz Arnold from Hajos, Hungary, died today. 

January 4th, 1946 (Friday)  We received an inoculation today.  They are bringing more and more Russians to fill the spots of those who’ve died.  We cut a lot of wood today. 

January 5th, 1946 (Saturday)  The young Russians here were originally captured by the Nazi’s and forced to work in Germany.  Now they must work one year here in the mine before the Russians will let them return to their homes. 

January 6th, 1946 (Sunday)  It was very cold working today on the saw.  Many of us can’t work anymore and are lying in the camp, waiting for death to free them. 

January 7th, 1946 (Monday)  Today is the Russian Christmas, work goes on as usual here. 

January 8th, 1946 (Tuesday)  The beds in the camp are gradually emptying, we are dwindling in numbers. 

January 9th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but I have to work in the camp, sawing off the bunk beds into two separate beds.  Everyone in our room now has his own bed, but still no covers, blankets, pillows, etc. 

January 10th, 1946 (Thursday)  The cabbage soup they feed us is too weak to sustain us, many cannot work anymore due to weakness and starvation. 

January 11th, 1946 (Friday)  A soft snow makes it very hard for us to walk to the mine today.  Our shoes are soaked, then when we reached the mine, our shoes were frozen. 

January 12th, 1946 (Saturday)  In exchange for wood scraps, a woman gave me potato soup and two eggs.  I bought cornmeal for 20 ruble at the bazaar. You’ll starve with only the camp food to eat. 

January 13th, 1946 (Sunday)  They brought more timber from the forest to the mine today.  We can’t cut the wood fast enough for use in the mine. 

January 14th, 1946 (Monday)  Today is the Russian New Year.  They drink vodka, but the work continues even faster. 

January 15th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We assembled a small hut from 4 x 6 boards.  Tarpaper was used for the roof – so now after a whole year, we have a little protection from the weather to saw the wood. 

January 16th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but they made me working the camp, repairing doors and windows.  After one whole year, they actually gave us a glass pane for one window. 

January 17th, 1946 (Thursday)  There is always a cold strong wind blowing around here.  They will not let us use any coals to make a fire, the coals are only for Stalin and his red army. 

January 18th, 1946 (Friday)  Snow and very cold.  There was no bread again this morning, we had to work eight hours with only a few spoonfuls of a thin cabbage soup for sustenance.  It’s not enough to survive! 

January 19th, 1946 (Saturday)  There is no salvation.  Every day, people are dying. 

January 20th, 1946 (Sunday)  I sold a pair of knitted gloves today and bought cornmeal at the bazaar.  Still many sick and starving at the camp. 

January 21st, 1946 (Monday)  It’s been exactly one year, or 365 days, since they enslaved us and brought us to their hell hole.  There’s been no government or agency to see what’s been going on here.  How much longer do we have to put up with this? 

January 22nd, 1946 (Tuesday)  Bitter cold today.  The wood was so frozen, the saw just spurted fire sparks.  In exchange for wood scraps, I received a piece of bread and cornmeal, which I cooked. 

January 23rd, 1946 (Wednesday) I bought a sheep fur vest for 50 ruble to help keep me warm. 

January 24th, 1946 (Thursday)  I bought some corncakes and two spoonfuls of sugar for 6 ruble.  The cucumber soup is not enough. 

January 25th, 1946 (Friday) Two more people from our section died today.  We are all so weak and dizzy, we are only shadows of our former selves. 

January 26th, 1946 (Saturday)  We buried five people last night.  They don’t have to suffer from starvation and extreme cold anymore.  We are living in inhumane conditions here. 

January 27th, 1946 (Sunday)  It’s always the same here, our hunger is all we can think about.  People keep on dying, that’s probably their plan for the rest of us. 

January 28th, 1946 (Monday)  The snow is so thick, you can barely see in front of you.  We had to saw out in the open. 

January 29th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Icy and windy today.  We had to work the entire day out in the open. 

January 30th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes.  In the afternoon, I had to repair tables.  They gave me a bowl of soup and a piece of bread in exchange. 

January 31st, 1946 (Thursday)  Very cold.  They continually cry for more wood, it’s harder to cut now that the wood is frozen. 

February 1st, 1946 (Friday)  It’s been one year since we left Hungary by train and made to starve here. 

February 2nd, 1946 (Saturday)  Not so bitter cold today.  Three more men died today, two from Schleisen and one a German/Romanian. 

February 3rd, 1946 (Sunday)  We cut down trees from the forest, loaded them into trucks and delivered them to the coal mine today.  The weather was cooperative. 

February 4th, 1946 (Monday)  We cut down trees in the forest again today.  We are stocking up on lumber, in case it thaws, the roads will be too muddy to drive. 

February 5th, 1946 (Tuesday)  The sheep’s wool vest that I bought for 50 ruble – I sold it for 160 ruble.  I bought cornmeal and beans with the money. 

February 6th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Even though there was nothing to repair in the kitchen, they gave me a free bowl of soup.  I washed my clothes.  In the evening, I had to help bury two people. 

February 7th, 1946 (Thursday)  Worked like crazy on the saw all day – they are still pushing us for more wood, it’s never enough. 

February 8th, 1946 (Friday)  It snowed all day, a cold wind made it miserable to be outside.  A. Vejtei and I cook almost every night for ourselves. 

February 9th, 1946 (Saturday)  I found out about a house that needs a wooden floor in their kitchen.  The daughter works in the mine and carries the wood from the saw to the mine shaft. 

February 10th, 1946 (Sunday)  The daughter was also enslaved by the Nazi’s and made to work in Germany.  She speaks very good German, but only when the guards are not around to overhear.  Her father is an employee at the mine.  Their house is not far from the mine. 

February 11th, 1946 (Monday)  I delivered wood to their house this morning.  They told me that I should stop in on my way back tonight, they’ll give me food.  They gave me a bowl of rich, thick soup with potatoes, noodles and even meat.  Oh, it was so good.  I haven’t eaten like that since I left home! 

February 12th, 1946 (Tuesday)  A strong wind with a mix of rain and snow today.  I hid some wooden flooring planks in the snow. 

February 13th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I was at my leisure today until this evening, when I had to help bury three people.  About 100 meters from camp is the final resting place of over 1,000 people.  They don’t have any more suffering nor hunger pains. 

February 14th, 1946 (Thursday)  More Russians are coming to the mine to re-place the slaves who’ve died.  I delivered some wooden planks to the house again.  Their daughter brought me cornbread and potatoes. 

February 15th, 1946 (Friday)  Pay day and a piece of soap.  I sold the soap for 20 ruble and bought beans and cornmeal at the bazaar to cook with. 

February 16th, 1946 (Saturday)  In exchange for wood scraps, a Russians gave me a bowl of beef soup.  It helps. 

February 17th, 1946 (Sunday)  I made a footstool for a Russian.  He brought me a plate of roasted potatoes.  It tasted very good. 

February 18th, 1946 (Monday)  A windy snowstorm today.  I made a few more wooden planks for their kitchen floor today. 

February 19th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We had to work in a snowstorm all day.  We almost froze.  We are all so weak, the wind just pushes you around. 

February 20th, 1946 (Wednesday)  Wasn’t allowed to take my day off today.  We had to work in a blinding snowstorm, thought that the world was going to end. 

February 21st, 1946 (Thursday)  Still no word from home, even though we’ve been here thirteen months now.  We write a postcard every month, if it ever gets mailed, no one knows.  We certainly have never received a reply. 

February 22nd, 1946 (Friday)  It’s our one year anniversary since we were delivered here to the coal mine.  The entire area is a coal basin.  The terrain is hilly and the dirt is black. 

February 23rd, 1946 (Saturday)  The snow is starting to melt.  I sold a piece of soap for 20 ruble and bought two meat cakes at the bazaar.  After eating them, I felt a little better. 

February 24th, 1946 (Sunday)  Now that the snow is melting, everything is turning to mud.  It’s very difficult to walk the four kilometers to the mine in mud, you get stuck in it.  A lot of people lost their shoes in the mud, they had to walk the rest of the way to the mine in their socks. 

February 25th, 1946 (Monday)  More of the same misery. 

February 26th, 1946 (Tuesday)  When we asked our guards if we’ll soon be going home, their reply was, you’ll be going home soon – into the hole where your comrades are buried.  It’s utterly hopeless. 

February 27th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  They made me work in the camp today, repairing the floors.  I also washed and mended my clothes. 

February 28th, 1946 (Thursday)  The truck with trees from the forest got stuck in the mud.  We had to hand carry the trees to the saw. 

February 29th, 1946 (Friday)  It’s hard to walk, some places are still frozen solid with snow, in other places, you fall right through.  No one can understand the misery and suffering we have to endure. 

March 1st, 1946 (Saturday)  Everything’s still frozen around the sawmill, but around it is slime and mud. 

March 2nd, 1946 (Sunday)  There was a frost and a cold wind today.  Everything froze again, including us. 

March 3rd, 1946 (Monday)  The Russians stole my green jacket, knife, mirror, comb and other personal items of mine.  We reported it, but nothing was done. 

March 4th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Instead of sleeping, we all had to clean our rooms.  They said they are awaiting a commission to visit. 

March 5th, 1946 (Wednesday)  The weather changes daily, on day rain, the next, snow.  When will it ever get better?  Nicer weather makes our work a little easier. 

March 6th, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off.  They made me make clothing hooks to hang on walls, some day off. 

March 7th, 1946 (Friday)  A terrible snowstorm and cold wind the entire day.  Two people died while at the mine, one died on the way back.  Our numbers continue to dwindle. 

March 8th, 1946 (Saturday)  They took everyone’s names today, they also asked our father’s name, if we had a family, where we were born and if you had been a German soldier.  What will become of this information? 

March 9th, 1946 (Sunday)  The household I made a wooden kitchen floor for gave me bread, potatoes and a good soup.  I can cook 2 – 3 meals with it.  More dead today. 

March 10th, 1946 (Monday) A little warmer today.  They brought in more Russians to replace our dead. 

March 11th, 1946 (Tuesday) Had to walk four kilometers to the mine in mud and dirt.  The truck got stuck in the mud again, so men had to hand-deliver the wood to my saw. 

March 12th, 1946 (Wednesday)  No one can image what goes on here.  Every day, men fall dead while working. 

March 13th, 1946 (Thursday)  We started a third coal mine today, it is named “Vorosilofka”.  The second mine is producing a good supply of coal, but it requires a lot of wood for the shaft. 

March 14th, 1946 (Friday)  It’s still very cold in the morning, but the afternoon sun helps warm us.  It’s also still muddy and slimy. 

March 15th, 1946 (Saturday)  Today is Hungary’s national independence day.  It’s a holiday back home.  We have no holidays here, only if we’re dead. 

March 16th, 1946 (Sunday)  Still cold.  There are hundreds of sick people stuck in the camp who can’t work anymore.  They are dying of starvation. 

March 17th, 1946 (Monday)  More Russians were brought in to replace the sick and dead. 

March 18th, 1946 (Tuesday)  In exchange for more floor boards, the Russian family gave me a rich, thick soup, cornbread and potatoes.  This will provide me with 3 evening meals. 

March 19th, 1946 (Wednesday)  A windy snow all day.  In the evening, I cooked sugar beets with potatoes. 

March 20th, 1946 (Thursday)  I bought a pair of quilted pants for 55 ruble and underwear for 37 ruble from the camp today.   

March 21st, 1946 (Friday)  More rainy weather.  The way to the mine is so muddy, it reaches up to your ankles.  A lot of people got stuck in it and died. 

March 22nd, 1946 (Saturday)  It was fourteen months yesterday since they took us from our homes.  About one-half of us are already dead in the hole. 

March 23rd, 1946 (Sunday)  I sold my winter pants for 250 ruble and bought summer pants for 100 ruble.  The leftover money will be used to buy food at the bazaar, to be able to cook something at night. 

March 24th, 1946 (Monday)  Rain mixed with snow today.  Received food in exchange for wood scraps.  I sawed some boards today and at night, mailed a small chest together for my own use. 

March 25th, 1946 (Tuesday)  The camp gave us a 600 gram soap, which I sold right away for 55 ruble to buy food.  I’m always hungry. 

March 26th, 1946 (Wednesday)  I made a chest for A. Vejtei.  The trucks got stuck in the mud again, men had to drag the heavy timbers 150 meters to the sawing area. 

March 27th, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off, but they made me repair windows and doors.  The crazy Oberschleisien camp leader doesn’t leave me alone. 

March 28th, 1946 (Friday)  Sawed wood the entire day.  I made myself another chest to sell for 25 ruble, that will pay for one meal. 

March 29th, 1946 (Saturday)  Received a 200 gram bar of soap, I traded it with a Russian for a piece of bread.  Every day, 2- 3 people die. 

March 30th, 1946 (Sunday)  It snowed again today.  All the people who work with wood had to go to the train station at Lisicsansk to unload timber.  The trucks can’t make it in the mud. 

March 31st, 1946 (Monday)  A cold eastern wind all day.  The food they feed us is hopeless, the soup is only water with a few pieces of cabbage or cucumber, no potatoes, no fat.  Since half of us have died already, the mine replaced them with Russians.  It looks like we’ll all break down and die here. 

April 1st, 1946 (Tuesday)  A huge snowstorm with a very cold wind.  Andreas Vejtei and I cook together a lot. 

April 2nd, 1946 (Wednesday)  Snow and cold.  We can’t think of anything else except wanting to eat.  We have constant headaches and are dizzy.  Everyone walks around like they are deaf and dumb. 

April 3rd, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes, they need constant repairing.  Two more dead in our quarters. 

April 4th, 1946 (Friday)  The sun shone today.  It wasn’t too windy.  The weather’s improving, but our hunger is still immense. 

April 5th, 1946 (Saturday)  The muddy way to the mine is slowly drying up, so we don’t get stuck in the mud anymore.  Hopefully, spring will come soon so that it won’t be so cold.  This was the longest, coldest winter in my entire life. 

April 6th, 1946 (Sunday)  It’s been six months since they took away some of the old and sick.  No one knows what happened to them.  Janos Kastz from Harta, Hungary was also with them. 

April 7th, 1946 (Monday)  Many people lie here in the camp, unable to work.  They are slowly starving to death.  Every day, some of them die. 

April 8th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Every day the same, a four kilometer walk to and from the mine, twice a day watery soup and a piece of bread.  Not enough to sustain us. 

April 9th, 1946 (Wednesday)  They threw out all of our stoves, so that we can’t heat our rooms anymore.  We rescued our stove and fixed it back up in the middle of the night. 

April 10th, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off.  I had to work anyway in the camp, fixing tables and benches. 

April 11th, 1946 (Friday)  Cloudy, cold weather. It’s always windy here.  I made some more wooden boards to make chests with.  They are popular, many people want one. 

April 12th, 1946 (Saturday)  They put in a bath and a toilet in the basement, one half separated for the women, the other for the men. 

April 13th, 1946 (Sunday)  It snowed the entire day today.  I bought beans and cornmeal at the bazaar to cook tonight. 

April 14th, 1946 (Monday)  More and more Russians are coming to work at the mine.  Some of them are sympathetic to our plight and sometimes bring us bread or potatoes. The others would rather shove us under the earth. 

April 15th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We sawed a lot of wood for the mine.  It’s amazing how much coal is produced. 

April 16th, 1946 (Wednesday)  A strong, cold wind the whole day.  It was pay day, I received 83 ruble, which wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the camp food.    

April 17th, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off.  Had to work in some Russians’ garden, digging it up.  I ate twice until I was full and received 25 ruble. 

April 18th, 1946 (Friday)  Andreas Vejtei and I both worked in the camp commander’s garden.  We each received 4 first class mess cards.  Christine, my daughter, is nine years old today.  My thoughts were always at home with them. 

April 19th, 1946 (Saturday)  I worked digging up a garden again today.  I received a good meal and two mess cards.  For the past two days, we’ve had enough to eat.  It’s been a long time. 

April 20th, 1946 (Sunday)  Worked in the garden again today.  We received food and mess cards. 

April 21st, 1946 (Monday)  Easter Sunday.  We had a sad holiday.  It’s been fifteen months since they captured us and took us from home.  Will any of us ever see our homes again? 

April 22nd, 1946 (Tuesday) At home, today is still a holiday.  Here is only the sorriest existence.  Thoughts were only of home. 

April 23rd, 1946 (Wednesday) Only “Davaj, Bistra” (work faster) today.  Andreas Fussenecker from Hajoz, Hungary, died today along with two others.  They were buried in the evening. 

April 24th, 1946 (Thursday) My day off, but still had to repair doors and the wooden floor in the camp.  I also washed and mended my clothes. 

April 25th, 1946 (Friday)  Sawed wood all day, was able to saw a few boards to make my chests.  The weather is getting warmer, but it’s still windy. 

April 26th, 1946 (Saturday) I can only think about my hunger and of at home, I’ve forgotten everything else. 

April 27th, 1946 (Sunday) Over half, or 300 of the Russians who were in slave labor here and in Germany, have been sent to Siberia.  They weren’t satisfied here, they said they were treated better in Germany. 

April 28th, 1946 (Monday)  Wind and rain the whole day.  We were soaked to the skin working out in the open all day.  They kept pushing us to work faster. 

April 29th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Had to work longer today, as tomorrow is a holiday.  Received two weeks pay today, it will barely cover the cost of the watery soup. 

May 1st, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but work went on as usual for the rest of us.  The Russians who could afford it, bought vodka and got drunk.   

May 2nd, 1946 (Thursday)  They switched my shift to the afternoon, it was a nice day.  I had time in the evening to make floor boards and cut wood to make my chests. 

May 3rd, 1946 (Friday)  I bought a 1 kilo white bread at the bazaar and ate it all right away. 

May 4th, 1946 (Saturday)  Now I can cut wood to make chests every night.  I cut wood all night. 

May 5th, 1946 (Sunday)  In the 15 months I’ve been here, today was the first day that I had to go into a mine.  I had to make a wooden frame for the wagon tracks that carry out the coal.  The air was damp and thick.  I couldn’t work in there. 

May 6th, 1946 (Monday)  Still on the afternoon shift, working on the saw, so I can cut wood for myself.  I can make a chest a day and sell it for 25 ruble. 

May 7th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Now that it’s gotten warmer, there’s been fewer deaths, but still 1 –2 per day go to eternity. 

May 8th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off. I put together two chests and sold them for 50 ruble.  I also had to repair a table in the kitchen today, and received a bowl of soup and a piece of bread. 

May 9th, 1946 (Thursday)  It’s been one year today that Berlin fell and the war ended.  We are still here in misery and have continual hunger.  It is a human sin that we’ve had to be here so long. 

May 10th, 1946 (Friday)  Big to-do today.  I have to make a free chest for our room leader, otherwise, he threatened to take mine.  He is a crazy man from Oberschlesien, he makes sure he fills himself up with the kitchen food, while his countrymen slowly starve. 

May 11th, 1946 (Saturday)  After nine days on the afternoon shift, I am now back on the morning shift.  They don’t have enough wood during the day.  I cooked beans with cornmeal at night. 

May 12th, 1946 (Sunday) A severe lightning and thunderstorm all day.  It soaked us through to the skin.  We could hardly stand it.  How much longer can we last? 

May 13th, 1946 (Monday)  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought cornmeal.  I have hunger pains day and night. 

May 14th, 1946 (Tuesday)  A lot of Russians planted potatoes and corn without even plowing the ground.  The ground is black and ashy. 

May 15th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, so I made two chests and sold them for 50 ruble.  Received another inoculation today.  They won’t give us anything to relieve our hunger, though. 

May 16th, 1946 (Thursday)  They took seventeen men who had been in the Nazi SS.  They were taken to a soldier camp. 

May 17th, 1946 (Friday)  Now that the SS  men were taken away, we think that us civilians will be allowed home.  There are now many Russians working here. 

May 18th, 1946 (Saturday)  Nice warm weather today.  The warmer weather is a little easier on us, but we’re still starving and very weak. 

May 19th, 1946 (Sunday)  At home, Sunday is a day of rest.  Not so here, we work at the mine every day of the week and in three shifts a day.  I bought from a Russian woman cornbread and bean soup for 23 ruble, and ate everything right away. 

May 20th, 1946 (Monday)  They kept pushing us for more wood today.  In the mine, more than two-thirds of the workers are now Russians.  Of our original 4,600 captives, over on-half are already dead, with many more lying sick in the camp. 

May 21st, 1946 (Tuesday)  It’s been sixteen months now since they’ve taken us prisoners from our homes. 

May 22nd, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes.  There’s been no more talk about letting us go home.  Slowly, we’ll all end up dead here.  Most of us are so weak, they can’t even walk. 

May 23rd, 1946 (Thursday)  It rained all day today.  We took off our shirts so they wouldn’t get wet.  I made a semolina porridge tonight, with no sausage or fat in it. 

May 24th, 1946 (Friday)  Lots of coals are coming out, and lots of wood is going under.  The Russian workers are much stronger than we are, because they also receive better food that we do. 

May 25th, 1946 (Saturday)  More and more sick in the camp.  They are so weak, it’s pitiful.  Many lie in the sun to get warm during the day, sometimes they are dead before the end of the day. 

May 26th, 1946 (Sunday)  Dry weather is keeping the corn and potatoes from growing.

May 27th, 1946 (Monday)  It was very warm today.  They kept pushing us to work faster.  Old Ingenohr often brings me food from his mid-day meal, it helps.  At night, I cooked bean soup, without any meat or fat. 

May 28th, 1946 (Tuesday)  The mine sold us all blue pants for 50 ruble.  I sold them at the bazaar for 210 ruble and bought food.  I sold a chest today for 25 ruble. 

May 29th, 1946 (Wednesday) My day off, but had to work all day in the camp repairing doors and windows.  Received a bowl of soup for my efforts.  Sold another chest for 25 ruble.  I am also now making shoe soles out of birch wood and sell them for 20 ruble or trade them for bread. 

May 30th, 1946 (Thursday)  It was an important day today!  Both Johann Kolb and Maria Jakob received mail from home today!  This is the first post anyone’s received here.  The news from their homes was that everyone was still alive there. 

May 31st, 1946 (Friday)  For the first time, I went in the camp truck to the city to bring back bread from the bakery.  I ate my fill of the bread.  Only slept about two hours, the bugs wouldn’t let you sleep. 

June 1st, 1946 (Saturday) It’s now very hot and dry here.  If it doesn’t rain soon, the potatoes and corn will dry out.  Even the Russians living here don’t have very much, the prices are climbing every day at the bazaar. 

June 2nd, 1946 (Sunday)  The sun has turned our skin black.  My constant hunger drives me crazy.  We are all dizzy and weak.   Every day, some of us are relieved from their misery by dying. 

June 3rd, 1946 (Monday)  They transferred Heinrich Schneider from us, to another job.  Now just Andres Vejtei and myself are the only ones left from Harta here in Vorosilofka.  The old Russian told us we should stay here with him.  He often brings us food from his house. 

June 4th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I am not always now on the saw.  I am now making shovels and hoes, for digging in the mine. 

June 5th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but they won’t let me rest.  I had to repair things in the camp.  I sold one chest for 25 ruble.  I bought cornmeal at the bazaar. 

June 6th, 1946 (Thursday)  There is a famine.  Many people are cooking weeds and grass.  You can’t survive on what the camp feeds you. 

June 7th, 1946 (Friday)  I sold a chest and bought food at the bazaar.  The hot weather is turning everything to dust.  Hunger drives you crazy. The future is hopeless. 

June 8th, 1946 (Saturday)  We talked about home all day today.  They are probably baking the Whit Sunday cake.  We are imprisoned here and starving.  The bugs are so bad that you can’t sleep at night, a lot of people are sleeping outside in the grass. 

June 9th, 1946 (Sunday)  Whitsunday.  Our thoughts were always on our homes, but we couldn’t smell the Whitsunday cake, not eat it.  I bought white bread, sugar and milk at the bazaar for 44 ruble.  I ate it right away. 

June 10th, 1946 (Monday)  For two days, we haven’t had any bread in the camp, as they ran out of flour in the bakery.  In the city of Lisicsansk live 30,000 people, with an additional 20,000 prisoners in six camps within the area.  This whole area is full of coal. 

June 11th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I was sick in the camp today.  My leg is swollen and full of water.  It’s been three days now that we’ve only had soup, no bread.  I sold a chest for 25 ruble, but I can’t walk to the bazaar to buy any food with the money. 

June 12th, 1946 (Wednesday)Still sick with a swollen leg.  We finally received a half portion of bread today.  The harvest this year will be really poor, as everything has dried out from lack of rain. 

June 13th, 1946 (Thursday)  A heat wave today.  I’m still sick in the camp.  My right foot is swollen and is full of fluids. 

June 14th, 1946 (Friday) Still the same.  My leg is as thick as an elephants.  I’m not supposed to eat any liquids, but they won’t give me anything but soup.  A. Vejtei brought me three corncakes from the bazaar for 18 ruble.  I ate them quickly. 

June 15th, 1946 (Saturday)  The swelling went down a little, but my knee is so swollen, I can barely fit my leg into my pants. 

June 16th, 1946 (Sunday)  They made me work today, as I don’t have a fever.  I made shovels today and two pairs of shoe soles.  I sold the soles for 15 ruble.  The prices are rising at the bazaar. 

June 17th, 1946 (Monday)  The drought continues.  The food shortage is worsening, even among the civilians. 

June 18th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I had to work on the saw today, they are in desperate need of wood.  My legs hurt, they are so full of water and swollen, that my skin will soon pop off. 

June 19th, 1946 (Wednesday)  They made all the sick people work in Kolhos hoeing corn.  It is still very dry, there will be little food this year. 

June 20th, 1946 (Thursday)  We buried seven people this week.  Those people who can’t work for themselves on the side will not survive. 

June 21st, 1946 (Friday)  Today is the seventeenth month that we’ve been imprisoned.  Over half of us lie peacefully in their eternal grave in the dark earth here.  If it keeps up, then we’ll all die here.  I sold another chest for 25 ruble. 

June 22nd, 1946 (Saturday)  The mine sold us a work suit for 35 ruble.  Two men broke out of here, they are looking for them now.  My right leg is still swollen and full of water, I can hardly walk to the mine.  At least I can sit on the job – making the shovels. 

June 23rd, 1946 (Sunday)  They found the two men who escaped and brought them back.  They beat them until they were very bloody and then locked them in the basement.  They brought about 30 prisoners from another camp here, they were all that survived. They were ten kilometers from us in another camp.  They were originally from the Danube area – Veszprem, Hungary. 

June 24th, 1946 (Monday)  My leg is still heavily swollen, it gives me great pain.  I still have to go to the mine.  Two of the people they brought over from another camp were put into our room today.  They said it is the same here as it was at the other camp. 

June 25th, 1946 (Tuesday) I made shovels again today.  I sold two to a Russians for soup and potatoes. 

June 26th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  My right knee is so thick that I had to cut my pants from the ankle up to the knee in order to put them on. 

June 27th, 1946 (Thursday)  Still very hot.  It hasn’t rained in two months.  More sickness and death here. 

June 28th, 1946 (Friday)  It thundered and rained a little this afternoon, a little relief from this heat.  The rain might still help the corn, but it’s too late to save the potato crop. 

June 29th, 1946 (Saturday)  Today is Peter and Paul (Saints Day).  At home, the harvest is just starting.  I hope that it hasn’t been as dry at home as it has been here.  We had to work two more hours today, they didn’t have enough wood. 

June 30th, 1946 (Sunday)  Another hot day.  My legs are still very swollen and painful.  I sold another chest, but for 25 ruble now, you only get a piece of bread. 

July 1st, 1946 (Monday)  The air is a little cooler today.  My legs are giving me great pain.  My legs are thick and swollen.  I sold another chest today, I barely got a piece of bread for it. 

June 2nd, 1946 (Tuesday)  There was an unusual windstorm today, it blew down houses and old trees.  We couldn’t work on the saw for two hours before of the wind. 

July 3rd, 1946 (Wednesday)  I’m in the infirmary, I can’t stand on my legs.  They have no medicine to reduce the swelling, I can only wait for my death to relieve the pain. 

July 4, 1946 (Thursday)  Still in the infirmary, still can’t walk on my legs.  Have to lie down.  Johann Kolb gave me a letter that was sent to me in October, 1945 from Lehrer Gerenyi.   

July 5th, 1946 (Friday)  Still in the infirmary.  A. Vejtei brought food from the bazaar for me to cook, cornmeal and sugar.  I was still so hungry after I ate it, that I could have eaten twice as much. 

July 6th, 1946 (Saturday)  Still in the infirmary.  My legs are a little thinner, I am always lying down.  Many more sick like me here. 

July 7th, 1946 (Sunday)  I had to go to work today, I could barely walk to the mine.  I made shovels and had extra time to make some wood for my chests.  I was very tired and my legs were still painful. 

July 8th, 1946 (Monday)  The weather was cooler today.  I sold the chest for 25 ruble and bought two eggs and cornmeal.  I was still hungry after I ate them. 

July 9th, 1946 (Tuesday) It was warm with afternoon thundershowers. The ground was so dry, the rain soaked right in.  I sawed wood and made shovels. 

July 10th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes.  I sold a chest for 25 ruble. 

July 11th, 1946 (Thursday)  It rained very hard today and took away the oppressive heat.  I bought cornmeal and sugar at the bazaar and ate them at night. 

July 12th, 1946 (Friday)  For the first time, we received barely soup today, it tasted so much better than the usual cabbage or cucumber soup.  They gave us a spool of thread, we’ve already run out of thread and had to use wire to mend our clothes. 

July 13th, 1946 (Saturday) They pushed and pushed us to work harder today.  My legs are still so swollen, I can’t even bend my knee.  It gives me great pain. 

July 14th, 1946 (Sunday)  My 39th birthday today!  My thoughts were at home today.  I bought myself beef, potatoes and one onion to make a stew.  I drank the camp soup and pretended it was wine.  After my meal, I wrote a letter back home.  Every month for a year, I’ve written a letter, still no reply. 

July 15th, 1946 (Monday)  An afternoon rainstorm, it drenched us.  I didn’t feel good the entire day. 

July 16th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Warm weather.  I am so tired.  My legs are thicker than my thighs.  My right knee is bigger than my head. 

July 17th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  A commission came to the camp today, they wrote up all the names of the sick, myself included.  What will happen, we don’t know.  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought food. 

July 18th, 1946 (Thursday)  Had to work today, my legs are still swollen and painful.  I am so tired.  The bugs won’t let you sleep at night. 

July 19th, 1946 (Friday) Two from our room died today.  They don’t have to suffer no more hunger nor pain!  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought food.  Those that can only afford the camp food are already dead. 

July 20th, 1946 (Saturday) They wrote up the names of everyone still living in the camp.  If this continues, they won’t have many left to deliver back home.  We keep on dying off. 

July 21st, 1946 (Sunday)  Today is the 548th day, or eighteen months since they took me captive.  I still haven’t heard anything from my family.

July 22nd, 1946 (Monday)  Today is Heinrich and Kato birthdays (my children). I thought of them all day.  I sent another card, but still haven’t heard from them. 

July 23rd, 1946 (Tuesday)  I sold a chest today.  Making things and selling them for food has helped me to survive this long.  There were a few times when I didn’t think I’d see another day.  

July 24th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes. My legs are still swollen.  I have constant hunger. 

July 25th, 1946 (Thursday)  It was warm working today.  I could only think about food.  Hunger is the worst sickness, people die every day here from starvation. 

July 26th, 1946 (Friday)  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought beans and barley to cook up. 

July 27th, 1946 (Saturday)  Those who are in the camp sick and can still stand up have to paint the rooms in the entire camp. 

July 28th, 1946 (Sunday)  I wrote up the prices at the bazaar; beans 6 ruble, sugar, 25 ruble, honey, 30 ruble, vodka, 25 ruble, 1 egg, 4 ruble, 1 liter milk, 16 ruble, 1kilo bread, 40 ruble, 1 small apple, 3 ruble, 15 pieces of sour cherries, 4 ruble.  I received 140 ruble a month.  From that I have to pay 105 ruble a month for the camp food, that leaves me 35 ruble.  How can you live on this? 

July 29th, 1946 (Monday) Those of us who work with the wood can often use scrap wood to make chests, shoe soles and stool to sell for food. 

July 30th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Heinrich Schneider came back to our room today.  For the first time ever, the camp gave us a 10 deca-gram bacon, we were charged 3.7 ruble for it. 

July 31st, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed clothes.  Three of us room mates cleaned, we burned the bugs and lice off our beds and washed the floor with boiling hot water. 

August 1st, 1946 (Thursday)  The harvest is pitiful this summer, due to lack of rain.  There are no potatoes and only a little corn. 

August 2nd, 1946 (Friday)  The days are harder and harder to survive.  We are all so weak.  Every day, people die due to the lack of food. 

August 3rd, 1946 (Saturday)  I sold a chest for 25 ruble today.  Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do in order to stay alive.  I can’t adequately describe how awful and meager the camp food is.  Every day, people die due to the lack of food. 

August 4th, 1946 (Sunday)  Everyone that can still walk is being forced to work.  Our invalid guards don’t have any sympathy.  Our bread ration is getting smaller and worse-tasting. 

August 5th, 1946 (Monday)  Cloudy today, but no rain.  It was very windy. 

August 6th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We had to work until 7 this evening, they needed wood.  Two people collapsed at work today, one died instantly, the other was carried back to the camp. 

August 7th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but they made me work until 10 in the evening.  They are changing everything.  From our original six buildings, two will be closed.  Those people in the two closed buildings will be re-assigned to the other four buildings. 

August 8th, 1946 (Thursday)  I had to work until 12 midnight. We made the bunk beds into single beds.  A. Vejtei and H. Schneider helped me. 

August 9th, 1946 (Friday)  They are putting young Russians into the two closed buildings.  I had to work until 3 in the morning.  We’ll soon go crazy with hunger and pain. 

August 10th, 1946 (Saturday)  I had to work all day at the mine and then make a table for the camp at night.  They gave me a bowl of salt water. 

August 11th, 1946 (Sunday)  A hot day.  Had to work longer hours at the mine.  It ended with two dead in the mine, they don’t have to suffer anymore. 

August 12th, 1946 (Monday)  Received a 400 gram bar of soap, sold it immediately for 30 ruble.  I bought beans and cornmeal to cook.  I worked on the saw today, was able to cut boards for my chests. 

August 13th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I made shovels the whole day.  The Russians often break them, they have more strength that we do.  Today is my wife Kati’s birthday. 

August 14th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed and mended my clothes.  At night, I cooked beans with cornmeal, are it with squash soup.  They wrote up again those that are old and sick. 

August 15th, 1946 (Thursday)  No more days off.  We have to work every day, even nights working in the camp so that our end will be quicker and we won’t have to suffer hunger and pain anymore. 

August 16th, 1946 (Friday)  More young Russians were brought in to work in the mine.  In the evening, I had to make stools for the infirmary. 

August 17th, 1946 (Saturday)  It was so hot today, I almost passed out at work.  I sold a chest for 25 ruble. 

August 18th, 1946 (Sunday)  Still hot and hungry, it drives you crazy.  After work, I went to the bazaar and bought a meat cake, four corn cakes and a ˝ liter of milk – ate it all right away. 

August 19th, 1946 (Monday)  Another hot day, 45 degrees (113 F).  A lot of people passed out, but only two died. 

August 20th, 1946 (Tuesday)  King Stephen’s holiday in Hungary.  I had a holiday today, too.  I assembled the wooden floorboards for the commandant’s kitchen.  I received three meals today and 100 ruble.  Their daughter, 19 is the one that was captured by the Nazi’s and made to work in Germany.  She speaks good German. 

August 21st, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  It’s been nineteen months since they took us from home.  I made a pig stall for a lady, she gave me twice potatoes with noodles, bread and watermelon.  It tasted wonderful.  She also gave me 40 ruble. 

August 22nd, 1946 (Thursday)  I’m feeling a little better today, since I’ve been able to eat well the past two days. 

August 23rd, 1946 (Friday)  A cloudy day with a strong wind.  Hunger and the bugs will vex us until we’re all dead.  Not a day goes by that people die. 

August 24th, 1946 (Saturday)  Thunderstorms today with very little rain.  It didn’t cool off too much.  I bought corn cakes for 27 ruble, but was still very hungry. 

August 25th, 1946 (Sunday)  Russians women made food and sold it today at the mine.  I bought meat and corn cakes, also tomatoes, for 20 ruble.  Those that have cows, have to slaughter then, as the drought dried up the corn crop, the cows have no feed. 

August 26th, 1946 (Monday)  I’m no longer on the saw, I’m making picks and shovels.  Sometimes I can trade them for food with the Russians. 

August 27th, 1946 (Tuesday)  A rainstorm today.  Now they have three armed guards escort us to and from work.  If any of us collapse on the way, one guards stays with them until they can pick the man up.  Before, we used to have to pick them up and carry them back to the camp. 

August 28th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I worked five hours, making stools for the infirmary again.  Received a bowl of squash soup and a piece of bread. 

August 29th, 1946 (Thursday)  Still warm.  There wasn’t much rain this summer, which affected the crops.  The potatoes were especially hardest hit.  Food is more expensive at the bazaar.  Our salary is often not enough to even cover the cost of camp food.  I sold two chest for 50 ruble and bought food. 

August 30th, 1946 (Friday)  Hot humid weather.  I worked on the saw today and was able to saw some wood to make chests for myself. 

August 31st, 1946 (Saturday)  It rained, but it was too late to save any crops.  There is very little food for sale at the bazaar now.  What there is, is 50 – 60% higher. 

September 1st, 1946 (Sunday)  Hot again today.  Still more and more sick and can’t work. 

September 2nd, 1946 (Monday)  I bought food to cook tonight for 21 ruble.  I’m very hungry. 

September 3rd, 1946 (Tuesday)  Still the same food in the camp, twice a day a bowl of watery vegetable soup with a piece of dry bread.  This is not enough food to sustain you.  This summer’s drought severely affected the potato and corn crops, very little was harvested. 

September 4th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I made two chests and sold them for 50 ruble.  I can make two meals with this money.

September 5th, 1946 (Thursday)  I got sick at work today, had a 41 degree (105.8 F) fever.  I went back to the camp at eleven and applied cold compresses the rest of the day.  My fever lessened a little by the end of the day.  There is no medicine here. 

September 6th, 1946 (Friday)  Sick in the camp.  My fever went down, was able to eat soup and bread.  Our room mate, Adam Kandler from Csepel, Hungary, died today.  Two or three others died today, too. 

September 7th, 1946 (Saturday)  Still sick in the camp.  At night, I cooked cornmeal and ate it with my soup. 

September 8th, 1946 (Sunday)  Still sick with fever.  A. Vejtei brought me a meat and corn cake from the bazaar.  I’m hungry and very weak. 

September 9th, 1946 (Monday)  Still sick with a fever.  My legs are swollen.  Every evening, the dead are buried, the rest lie sick in the camp.   

September 10th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I went to work today, but felt terrible.  I made shovels on the bench. 

September 11th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I spent the day in the city and bought sugar and food at the bazaar. 

September 12th, 1946 (Thursday)  It rained at night.  I bought a meat cake and a piece of bread for 10 ruble at the mine. 

September 13th, 1946 (Friday)  A third of us are too sick and weak to return to work.  They lie in the camp and wait – slowly dieing of starvation. 

September 14th, 1946 (Saturday)  The weather is getting cooler.  Hey took away the remaining Schlesier.  Some say they were sent home.  When will they send us home?  The Russians brought over 2,100 Schleisier here in April, 1945.  In September/October, over a thousand of them died from typhus.  They fell like flies in the fall frost. 

September 15th, 1946 (Sunday)  We were all very depressed today, we won’t be able to survive another winter here.  The harvest was very meager here, even the Russians don’t have much. 

September 16th, 1946 (Monday)  As to today, we have to pay a 30% increase for the lousy camp food.  This is a catastrophe, as most don’t even receive that much in pay, they won’t be able to afford any food.  They just want us to starve to death. 

September 17th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Cool, windy weather.  I bought two small corn cakes for 20 ruble.  I’m working on making shovels and pick axes. 

September 18th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed my clothes and readied my winter clothes.  It’s already getting cold in the morning. 

September 19th, 1946 (Thursday)  My hunger increases.  They are cooking only beet soup now, as soon as you eat it, you have to run to the toilet.  It’s giving everyone severe stomach cramps. 

September 20th, 1946 (Friday) Windy with rain today.  It’s too cold to wear just a shirt anymore.  The beet soup continues to make us all sick.  If they keep this u, then there won’t be any of us left to send home. 

September 21st, 1946 (Saturday)  It’s been twenty months since they took us from home.  I’ve been able to write in this diary every day since then.  How much longer will I have to keep this up here? 

September 22nd, 1946 (Sunday)  I sold a chest today for 25 ruble.  I bought meat and corn cakes from some Russian women.  Finally, something good for my stomach. 

September 23rd, 1946 (Monday)  They sent away some of the old and sick today.  They said they’re going home.  In the summer, we sold our winter boots, we didn’t think we’d still be here now. 

September 24th, 1946 (Tuesday)  It’s very cold in the mornings now.  We still haven’t received any boots, many of us have colds already. 

September 25th, 1946 (Wednesday) My day off.  I washed and mended my winter clothes.  Over forty men don’t have any shoes, including A. Vejtei and H. Schneider, they weren’t allowed outside to work. 

September 26th, 1946 (Thursday)  We received shoes today, they are leather with rubber soles.  They charged us 50 ruble each for them.  We all have colds. 

September 27th, 1946 (Friday)  For the last two days, we only received a half of our bread ration, apparently, another charge for our shoes.  They only want us to starve here. 

September 28th, 1946 (Saturday)  The quantity and lack of quality of camp food is becoming more critical.  It is impossible to work and exist on this food.  I bought two pieces of cornbread for 20 ruble. 

September 29th, 1946 (Sunday)  It gets worse.  In addition to the hunger, now the cold weather adds to our misery.  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought cornmeal.  Half of us can’t even pay for the food out of their salary, more are too sick and weak to work anymore.  They lie in the camp until they’re dead.  Death ends their suffering. 

September 30th, 1946 (Monday) A cold rain, it drenched us all day.  We were very cold.  Egi Matias, from Vaskut, Hungary, died in our room today.  I have his raincoat, it helps a little. 

October 1st, 1946 (Tuesday)  Rain with a strong, cold wind.  A big day in the camp.  Those too sick to work don’t get any pay, but the kitchen won’t feed them without money.  Today a commission came in and said that if anyone is too sick to work, the camp must provide them with free food. 

October 2nd, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Had to work in the camp, repairing doors and windows to keep the wind and cold out.  I also mended my winter clothes.  Every day, as least 2 – 3 sick people leave this hell hole and enter heaven. 

October 3rd, 1946 (Thursday)  Rain mixed with snow today.  It was very cold.  I wrote a postcard home. 

October 4th, 1946 (Saturday)  Great misery.  We’re so hungry and the food at the bazaar is so expensive.  The camp food is getting worse and worse. 

October 5th, 1946 (Sunday)  No one would believe what we have to endure here.  We’ll soon all die from cold and hunger.  They brought in another 100 Russians. 

October 6th, 1946 (Monday) It’s been six months since they sent the first group of sick and old people from here.  My neighbor, Janos Kaszt was included.  We don’t know if they were ever sent home, or if they were sent instead to another camp. 

October 7th, 1946 (Tuesday)  It rained the whole day.  It’s impossible to work while hungry and in this kind of weather.  I’m working mostly on shovels. 

October 8th, 1946 (Wednesday)  It was very cold this morning. It warmed up during the day, so on our way back to the camp, our shoes got stuck in the mud.  There men got stuck and just collapsed in the mud, they couldn’t walk any more, they were too weak. 

October 9th, 1946 (Thursday)  My day off.  I repaired the oven in our room today, so we can burn wood in it this winter to keep warm.  I washed and mended clothes. 

October 10th, 1946 (Friday)  Janos Baier received a letter from home, it was dated July the 6th.  As of then, his family was safe and healthy. 

October 11th, 1946 (Saturday)  The way to the camp is terrible.  They keep on pushing us.  We are all so weak, we can barely walk.  How many of us will survive this winter?  If this keeps us, then not many. 

October 12th, 1946 (Sunday)  I sold a bar of soap for 30 ruble and bought cornbread and sugar. 

October 13th, 1946 (Monday) I was especially hungry and tired today.  I could hardly walk back from the mine.  I sold a chest today. 

October 14th, 1946 (Tuesday) Many can only buy their bread ration, they are cooking their own beet soup, everything else is too expensive at the bazaar.  If this keeps up, we’ll all starve. 

October 15th, 1946 (Tuesday)  There was a hard frost this morning, with an icy wind all day.  We almost froze.  I bought two food rations tonight. 

October 16th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I was in the city and at the bazaar all day, otherwise, they make me work if I’m in the camp. 

October 17th, 1946 (Thursday)  I lost my pocket knife today. It was from home.  The only thing I have left now is this diary. 

October 18th, 1946 (Friday)  Cloudy, cold weather.  Received a shirt from the camp today, my old one was very bad. 

October 19th, 1946 (Saturday)  We’re all dizzy and always hungry.  They cried the entire day, “Bistra, Robota” (work faster).  Most of us could barely walk, we’re so weak. 

October 20th, 1946 (Sunday)  Snow and rain mixed today.  We were freezing and thoroughly soaked.  When I came back to the camp, I received my first mail from home in 21 months.  Heinrich (my son) wrote that he passed his tests and graduated from the school in Kecskemet, Hungary.  I was overjoyed to hear it and it gave me new hope that I might one day be able to return home. 

October 21st, 1946 (Monday) It’s been 21 months since we’ve been captured.  In exchange for wood scraps, received two pieces of corncakes and a ˝ liter of milk.  It tasted very good. 

October 22nd, 1946 (Tuesday) A cold rain all day.  The way to the mine is very hard to maneuver.  Many die on the way to or from the mine. 

October 23rd, 1946 (Wednesday)  They re-assigned the third group to the first.  Half of their numbers are already dead, they sent the old and sick away.  More and more Russians are working in the mine now, not many of us remain.  I was not allowed my day off. 

October 24th, 1946 (Thursday)  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought food to cook tonight.  It was very cold and it snowed the entire day. 

October 25th, 1946 (Friday)  In exchange for wood scraps, received some food.  I have great hunger day and night.  Now the winter is just coming. 

October 26th, 1946 (Saturday)  Worked making shovels and pick axes.  I made a wooden lean-to for a little protection from the wind and snow.  Many people lie in the camp, waiting on death to relieve them from their suffering and hunger. 

October 27th, 1946 (Sunday)  The work still goes on in three shifts.  They brought in more Russians to replace our dead.  How many will die before the spring? 

October 28th, 1946 (Monday)  I received four corn cobs in exchange for scrap wood.  I was so hungry, I couldn’t wait for them to get soft, so I ate them half-cooked. 

October 29th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I sold a chest for 25 ruble and bought food.  All the money I can get goes towards food. 

October 30th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I walked the 3 kilometers to the city to secure food, and received sugar beets and corn.  I can cook twice with it.  My hunger goes non-stop. 

October 31st, 1946 (Thursday)  The last day of October.  I sold an old pair of shoes for 140 ruble and bought food. 

November 1st, 1946 (Friday)  I received my second postcard from home today!  I’ve been gone from home almost two years already.  It took four months for the card to arrive.  They were all okay. 

November 2nd, 1946 (Saturday)  Cold, windy weather.  I bought an extra bowl of soup, I was so hungry.  There isn’t much food available at the bazaar anymore. 

November 3rd, 1946 (Sunday)  This is already our third winter.  Of the one left, who will survive?  There is only a third of us left (1,380 people left from the original 4,600).  Of those that are left, half of us can’t work anymore.  They lie in the camp sick and starving. 

November 4th, 1946 (Monday)  I sold a blue shirt for 55 ruble and bought a piece of meat and potatoes.  That was a new thing. 

November 5th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Very cold weather.  I exchanged three shovels for cornmeal.  Now I can cook three meals with it. 

November 6th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Had to work in the camp in exchange for a small piece of bread. 

November 7th, 1946 (Thursday)  Our 19th wedding anniversary.  I am so all alone in this great hell hole, starving.  Our wedding day was so nice, we ate, drank and danced.  Now I’m here half-starved.  I hope my family is faring better than I am. 

November 8th, 1946 (Friday)  My thoughts were at home all day.  If we don’t get released soon, then we’ll never see our families again, just like the thousands that lie in their mass grave for eternity. 

November 9th, 1946 (Saturday)  Heavy fog this morning, it made our clothing wet and damp. We froze all day.  It is indescribable what goes on here.  Our families would not recognize us today, we look so bad. 

November 10th, 1946 (Sunday)  It rained the whole night.  It was a mess walking to the mine, a lot of people got stuck in the muck. 

November 11th, 1946 (Monday)  I traded a piece of soap for two meat cakes and corn cakes.  I’m so hungry. 

November 12th, 1946 (Tuesday) I exchanged wood scraps for a meat soup and corn cakes.  My hunger is so great, that’s the only thing I can think of. 

November 13th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I paid extra for another soup and cornmeal.  Still very hungry. 

November 14th, 1946 (Thursday)  They sent 50 men off today.  It was a total surprise.  Janos Baier from my hometown of Harta, Hungary was also included.  Two months ago, he cut his leg with a rusty piece of iron.  It never healed.  Where they were sent to, no one said. 

November 15th, 1946 (Friday)  Since the harvest was so bad, many people had to slaughter their animals, as they didn’t have any food to feed them. 

November 16th, 1946 (Saturday)  A snow storm with icy wind the entire day.  We were freezing cutting wood.  The wood is wet and frozen, hard to cut.  My hands were so cold they almost made me cry from the pain. 

November 17th, 1946 (Sunday)  Snow and cold.  I spent the whole day at the saw, they need lots of wood.  I bought mashed potatoes from a Russian for 7 ruble.

November 18th, 1946 (Monday)  With the food they give us, it is impossible to stay alive.  They brought more Russians to work in the mine, to replace those of us who’ve died. 

November 19th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We are all only skin and bones.  My body is full of fluids, my legs are as thick as an elephant’s.  We are always dizzy, have constant headaches and can only think about relieving our hunger. 

November 20th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I bought potatoes and fish for 8 ruble.  Cold and rainy weather.  More people are dying in this miserable weather.  They don’t even complain, they just fall asleep and die.  It is shameful that they are buried without their clothing, without a casket, just thrown in a communal home in the ground. 

November 21st, 1946 (Thursday)  It’s been 22 months since they captured us and brought us to this evil place.  Over a thousand of us have already died.  For two weeks already, they are only cooking beet soup.  The beets are already spoiled and stink, but they still use them to feed us.  Most people are only eating their dry piece of bread and drink warm water. 

November 22nd, 1946 (Friday)  Bitter cold today.  Many people collapsed on the way to the mine today. 

November 23rd, 1946 (Saturday)  My day off.  I went into a village four kilometers away and bought some potatoes. I also begged and received some squash and beets to cook later in the camp.  You will starve with only the camp food. 

November 24th, 1946 (Sunday)  Today is Katarina Names Day.  How often have we celebrated this day!  There is nothing here to eat or drink.  In my thoughts, I was at home with my family.  I wrote a card to them.  I had a sorrowful evening. 

November 25th, 1946 (Monday)  I bought fish from Russians at the mine for 10 ruble and cooked it at night.  It was something different.  I’m working mostly on making shovel handles from birch, I can also make shoe soles from it.  I can usually trade the shoe soles for food. 

November 26th, 1946 (Tuesday)  Very cold.  I bought a meat cake and a corn cake at the mine and ate them right away.  It was a nice change from the beet soup. They pushed us harder than usual today. 

November 27th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Our roommate, Michael Ulrich from Csepel, Budapest, went to sleep for eternity today.  Just like all the rest, we buried him, without clothes, without a casket.  He doesn’t have to suffer from the cold and hunger anymore. 

November 28th, 1946 (Thursday)  Cold, windy weather.  Our situation is so terrible, it’s all so hopeless that we’ll ever see our homes again. 

November 29th, 1946 (Friday)  Pay day.  I received two weeks pay of 120 ruble.  In the camp kitchen this evening, they stole 115 ruble from Andreas Vejtei.  He had a very sad evening!  I had bought food at the bazaar for 28 ruble, I cooked it and shared it with him. 

November 30th, 1946 (Saturday)  I bought corn cakes for 10 ruble, but am still very hungry.  I am always hungry, my stomach growls constantly. 

December 1st, 1946 (Sunday)  Our problems are cold and hunger.  It is a wonder that some of us still exist. We have to endure unmentionable suffering. 

December 2nd, 1946 (Monday)  No doctor, no medicine here.  The sick just have to put up with their suffering until they die. 

December 3rd, 1946 (Tuesday)  It got warmer today, the roads are all muddy, the trucks couldn’t get through.  Men had to unload the trucks and carry the wood 150 meters to the mine. 

December 4th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  Today was the first day that a doctor was actually here in the camp!  The doctor checked out all the sick people, including me. 

December 5th, 1946 (Thursday)  I bought fish and corn cakes at the mine for 12 ruble and ate everything right away.  It was a Russian holiday today, so I had to go into the mine and shovel out coals for the red army.  Even those who worked in the kitchen had to work in the mine. 

December 6th, 1946 (Friday) The ground is once again frozen over.  We received more wood.  It’s so green and frozen, that the sparks just fly when you try and cut it.  The sick just lie in the infirmary, and when death takes them, more sick people take their places. 

December 7th, 1946 (Saturday)  A cold blustery, wind.  It was so cold we almost froze working on the saw.  I bought fish from a Russian at the mine for 8 ruble, and ate it right away.  Another roommate, Martin Lieber from Csepel, Hungary, died today.  He was buried with two others tonight.

December 8th, 1946 (Sunday)  Extremely cold weather.  I was constantly at the fire trying to warm and dry up my gloves.  I bought an extra portion tonight at the camp for 4 ruble, but was still very hungry. 

December 9th, 1946 (Monday)  Cloudy weather.  I bought a piece of bread from a Russian for 5 ruble.  Worked at the saw today.  If you stood still, you almost froze. We can barely walk. 

December 10th, 1946 (Tuesday)  I bought fish for 8 ruble.  In exchange for wood scraps, I received two corn cakes.  My hunger is enormous. 

December 11th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off.  I washed clothes and mended my winter coat.  A twenty year old German-Hungarian died today.  With all the dead, they’ve closed off some rooms and put the survivors in other places. 

December 12th, 1946 (Thursday)  In exchange for wood scraps, I received mashed potatoes.  “Razzia” (Russian for roundup) again today.  The Russians stole 250 pengo of my Hungarian money and any other thing that they wanted. 

December 13th, 1946 (Friday)  Cold and windy, 38 degrees.  Worked out in the open all day.  It was pay day, but most people didn’t receive anything after they deducted for the miserable camp food.  You’ll starve on only beet and cabbage soup. 

December 14th, 1946 (Saturday) I went to a small village and begged for food.  I was able to beg for potatoes, sugar beets and corn.  At home, only the gypsies begged for food, as they never worked.  Here in our paradise, we have to work and beg for food. 

December 15th, 1946 (Sunday)  Our roommate Matyas Kaszner died today.  He was from Madocsa.  Every day, the sick end their suffering and enter eternity. 

December 16th, 1946 (Monday)  I worked the entire day on the saw.  It was very cold.  In exchange for wood scraps, two Russians gave me food.  A group of fresh new Russians came to the mine to work today. 

December 17th, 1946 (Tuesday)  It was –35 degrees (- 35 F) today with a strong wind.  The snow flew like dry sand in the summer.  It was a hard day today. 

December 18th, 1946 (Wednesday)  My day off, but they made me and sixteen other men dig a hole two hundred meters from the camp to bury the dead.  The ground is already frozen 30 – 40 centimeters deep, we had to use picks to hack the ground. 

December 19th, 1946 (Thursday)  I traded a shovel for bread and baked squash.  Presently, I can still get food for shoe soles or wood scraps. 

December 20th, 1946 (Friday)  A bitter cold, had to work in it all day.  We were freezing.  We are only skin and bones, how many of us will survive this winter? 

December 21st, 1946 (Saturday)  It’s been 23 months today since they captured us.  I received food in exchange for wood scraps from a Russian.  The local Russians can’t buy any wood, there isn’t any for sale and the forest is very far away from here.  They receive coals from the mine to burn.  The misery is also great among the local people, the summer was too dry for much to grow. 

December 22nd, 1946 (Sunday) Another hard day at the mine.  Very cold and windy.  I sawed wood all day.  They need a lot of wood.  The young Russians work like crazy.  Received corn cakes in exchange for scrap wood.

December 23rd, 1946 (Monday)  Received a 600 gram bar of soap, and traded it for beans and cornmeal to cook at night. 

December 24th, 1946 (Tuesday)  We had a miserable Christmas Eve.  Our thoughts were at home.  Hopefully, they have it better than we do. 

December 25th, 1946 (Wednesday)  Christmas Day.  I had a day off and went to the bazaar to buy 400 grams of beef, a teaspoon of fat, an onion and four potatoes for 50 ruble.  Andreas Vejtei and I made a goulash and ate it together.  This is now our second Christmas here in this evil place.

December 26th, 1946 (Thursday)  Today is my names day.  At home, we always celebrated by going dancing in the evening.  Now I am stuck here.  I feel asleep hungry and sad. 

December 27th, 1946 (Friday)  We talked about home all day today, wondering what they had to eat and drink during the holidays.  I received two potatoes and a piece of squash and cooked them together.  Half of us are too sick and weak to work anymore, they are slowly starving to death. 

December 28th, 1946 (Saturday)  I went begging again in the village.  They gave me some potatoes, beets and a few pieces of squash.  I cooked it later that night.  If you can’t get extra food, you’ll starve. 

December 29th, 1946 (Sunday)  Very cold.  The wind blew the snow so hard that you couldn’t see 30 meters in front of you.  For the first time here ever, we received a piece of white bread at the camp.  There men in our room were buried. 

December 30th, 1946 (Monday)  Every day, more and more people can’t make the walk to the mine.  They collapse and fall dead.  Most are so weak that they don’t even whine, they just fall dead in their sleep. 

December 31st, 1946 (Tuesday)  The last day of the year.  They reduced our bread ration, now we only get a piece of bread the size of a small hand for the day.  They must think it’s taking us too long to starve to death, they’ll have to speed up the process!  A lot of people sold their winter clothes last summer for food.  Now they walk around freezing in their summer clothes.  People can’t understand what they’ve done to us. 

December 31st, 1946 (Tuesday)  New Years Eve.  I bought 600 grams of goat meat, bacon, beans, two potatoes and two onions for 62 ruble. A. Vejtei and I spent the evening until midnight cooking it, then we ate it until 1 a.m.  We sold ourselves, that no matter what lies ahead, at least we can say that we ate in the year 1947!  It’s been a long, sorrowful, painful year.  Just about one third of us remain here.  We had hopes that they might send us home so that we might once more see our homelands again, but it never happened.  So many of those at home are waiting on the return of their loved ones, but thousands will never return, as they are resting for eternity in a strange, foreign land.  They were buried without clothes, without a casket, not even a burial marker. What God has let happen, there is nothing we can do to change it!  We that are still living have a small hope that we can eventually return to our families.  I am only still alive because I didn’t have to work in the mine.  Right at the beginning, I was assigned to work with wood.  An old Russian, who is 69 years old, has helped me a lot.  He often brought me food back with him from his noon meal.  In exchange for wood scraps, shoe soles and shovels, I also received food from Russians.  I wrote in my little book every day the important things that have happened.  While I couldn’t write a lot, what I wrote is the truth about what happened to me and the other captives. 

January 1st, 1947 (Wednesday)  In God’s name, we begin this new year with the hope that we won’t have to suffer imprisonment, sickness and starvation much longer this year.  The outlook is very doubtful.  Over half of our original 4,600 are already dead.  The rest of us are sick and hungry.  A. Vejtei and I bought a piece of squash from a Russian for 15 ruble.  That was our New Years Day meal. 

January 2nd, 1947 (Thursday)  Bitter cold, worked on the saw all day.  Received corn cakes in exchange for wood scraps.  Josef Mattheis from Vaskut, Hungary, died today. 

January 3rd, 1947 (Friday)  The mine gave us a jacket and gloves today.  The gloves are too late for many, as they have already gotten frostbite and can’t work, can’t move their hands. 

January 4th, 1947 (Saturday)  I made shovels today and exchanged two for cornmeal and beans to cook at night. 

January 5th, 1947 (Sunday)  Cold and windy.  Hunger and sorrow are rampant here, even among the local people.  There is very little food available at the bazaar. 

January 6th, 1947 (Monday)  The snow is 1 meter high.  I’m sick today with a heavy cold and fever of 41 degrees (105.8 F).  They still made me work in the camp repairing doors and windows. 

January 7th, 1947 (Tuesday)  My fever went down to 39 degrees (102.2 F), so I had to work.  I almost froze outside, it’s so cold and windy. 

January 8th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Sick again today.  They brought back from the camp Arnold Martin, my relative from Harta.  He had a 41 degree fever.  We carried him to the infirmary.  All of us still alive from Harta visited him at night, he didn’t recognize us, he kept on asking for water. 

January 9th, 1947 (Thursday)  Those that are carried into the infirmary, seldom return from there alive.  There is no medicine.  We visited Arnold Martin again tonight, he was so still and quite, his end is near. 

January 10th, 1947 (Friday)  Arnold Martin died this afternoon.  All of us from Harta buried him at night. 

January 11th, 1947 (Saturday)  The card I sent home on October 24th, 1946 was returned to me today.  I went to work today, I could barely walk to the mine, I’m so weak.  I made a few shovels, I was so tired and so cold. 

January 12th, 1947 (Sunday)  I sold a shirt at the bazaar for 75 ruble.  I bought beets and squash at the bazaar, there was nothing else to buy.  The prices are very high.  The famine in this area was catastrophic. 

January 13th, 1947 (Monday)  A snow storm and bitter cold.  The four kilometer walk to the mine takes 1 ˝ hours.  Most of us can’t walk that far anymore.  Two more dead today, they no longer have to suffer cold and hunger. 

January 14th, 1947 (Tuesday)  Pay day. I received 110 ruble for two weeks, just enough to cover the camp food. 

January 15th, 1947 (Wednesday)  My day off, but I had to work in the mine.  We have to work seven days a week now so that we die quicker.  On the way to the mine, one person collapsed and died in the snow. 

January 16th, 1947 (Thursday)  I am presently making shovels and pick axes out of birch wood. 

January 17th, 1947 (Friday)  A clear day, but bitter cold.  I’m sick in the camp with a 41 degree fever. 

January 18th, 1947 (Saturday)  Still sick in the camp.  My legs are so thick and full of fluids, I can’t put my pants on.  I am in total desperation, which is the beginning of the end for most people. 

January 19th, 1947 (Sunday)  A. Vejtei brought me bread and squash from the bazaar.  That was the only thing I ate, no water.  

January 20th, 1947 (Monday)  Exchanged wood scraps for beans and cornmeal today.  I cooked them together at night.  It helped fill up my stomach, the camp soup is only salt water. 

January 21st, 1947 (Tuesday) It’s been exactly two years today that they captured us and took us to this hell hole.  It feels like an eternity already, in these horrific circumstances. I am only still alive because I’m working with wood and not in the mine. 

January 22nd, 1947 (Wednesday)  Gyuri Lori from Hajos, Hungary died today.  I’m only recording the deaths of people on our floor and work with us in our mine.  People in this camp work at eight various mines.  No day off today. 

January 23rd, 1947 (Thursday)  A miserable severe snowstorm and very cold.  Two men collapsed on their way to the mine.  By the time guards arrived to carry them back, they were already frozen to death.  It almost happened to me, too. 

January 24th, 1947 (Friday)  No day off today, either.  They delivered a huge supply of timber to the mine yesterday.  Now we have to work like crazy to make it into wood supplies.  Received two meal cards for the extra work. 

January 25th, 1947 (Saturday)  Cold, wind and snow.  It took us two hours just to walk the 4 kilometers to the mine.  We worked all day and only received food when we returned at night.  It’s so crazy here.  They brought more Russians to replace our dead. 

January 26th, 1947 (Sunday)  The wind blew the snow the whole day.  We are dying from cold and hunger. 

January 27th, 1947 (Monday)  It was – 36 degrees ( - 36 F) today.  Received from the camp felt-lined boots, I can barely put them on, my legs are so swollen.  They buried ten men yesterday, the ground is so frozen that they couldn’t dig graves, they just covered them up with snow. 

January 28th, 1947 (Tuesday)  Bitter cold today.  The wood is so frozen, it just sparks when you cut it.  We still have to continue, as they need wood in the mine.  We have no names here, only numbers.  When our number is up, they replace us with Russians. 

January 29th, 1947 (Wednesday)  No day off, had to work again today.  They need wood desperately.  There was no bread this morning, the delivery truck got stuck in the snow.  I exchanged wood scraps for a piece of bread and corn cakes. 

January 30th, 1947 (Thursday)  It was – 38 degrees ( - 38 F) today, bitter cold.  Seven men died today.  It’s no wonder so many people die with the meager food and bitter cold conditions.  If we aren’t released soon, then we’ll all end up in the hole with those that are already dead. 

January 31st, 1947 (Friday)  No one can believe what goes on here.  We are no longer human beings, only skeletons.  The ones that can still stand up are ordered to work out in this bitter cold.  Many collapse on the way to the mine, at the mine, on the way back.  Their only relief from suffering is death. 

February 1st, 1947 (Saturday)  A very cold wind that kept us freezing the entire day.  Tonight, someone stole 102 ruble, my chest and my food cards from me!  Now I’m really stuck here!  I suspect someone from Hajos. 

February 2nd, 1947 (Sunday)  I’m sick in the camp.  I gave a pair of underwear to A. Vejtei to sell for me at the bazaar – so I will have enough money to pay for the camp food until the next pay day. 

February 3rd, 1947 (Monday)  They took blood from my arm and spritzed it into my legs.  My entire back and legs are full of abscesses.  I am fading fast, if I can ever return to work is very doubtful.  I have a 41 degree fever and have great pain. 

February 4th, 1947 (Tuesday)  I sold my felt-lined boots for 350 ruble in order to buy food to survive.  I am laying in the infirmary now.  Most of my friends and A. Vejtei come at night to visit me.  My pain is very great now.  Most people end up dead after being admitted to the infirmary. 

February 5th, 1947 (Wednesday)  An abscess broke open today on the back, it really hurt!  Janos Gross from Csavoly, Hungary, went to sleep for eternity today.  I bought a piece of sunflower seed cake, I chewed on it the entire day. 

February 6th, 1947 (Thursday)  Two more people died in the infirmary today.  They were so weak, they just died in their sleep.  Everything is hopeless, nothing to eat, no medicine.  We have to keep it up until we’ve shed our last drop of blood, then it ends. 

February 7th, 1947 (Friday)  Snow and rain today.  I’m still sick in the camp, but am no longer in the death chamber (infirmary).  I never thought I’d made it back alive out of there.  My hunger is enormous, but have nothing to eat. 

February 8th, 1947 (Saturday)  I had to go to work today, I could barely manage it.  I had to make shovels, they were out of them. The old Russian, Ingehor, brought me some deer stew back from his lunch.  I exchange for wood scraps, I received a piece of bread. 

February 9th, 1947 (Sunday)  I sold a winter coat for 200 ruble.  I can only think about food.  For lack of food, I am so dizzy.  I often black-out and can’t think straight anymore. 

February 10th, 1947 (Monday)  I worked today, but I was so weak and dizzy, I couldn’t do much.  It took me forever to walk back to the camp.  Most of the sick here are so weak, many can’t even walk to the camp kitchen for their bowl of soup. 

February 11th, 1947 (Tuesday)  I am so weak that I stayed in the camp sick.  My knee is so swollen, I think it will soon rip my skin apart.  Every day, 2 –3 people die.  There is no more hope to see our homes and families again. 

February 12th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Still sick in camp today.  I am so very hungry.  It can drive you crazy seeing the poor sick people here slowly starving to death. 

February 13th, 1947 (Thursday)  Every day the same, nothing to eat.  Every day, 1 – 2 people find eternal rest.  The weather will not let up, it’s still snowy and bitter cold. 

February 14th, 1947 (Friday)  Sick in the camp.  I have two huge abscesses on the back, they are extremely painful.  Pay day, you can only get beets or sometimes corn cakes. 

February 15th, 1947 (Saturday)  I went to work today, my fever was 39 degrees (102.2 F).  My knee is as thick as a person’s head.  I had to rip open my pant legs to get them on.  The pain is severe.  I can only walk very, very slowly.  Got bread and cooked corn from the Russians. 

February 16th, 1947 (Sunday)  I bought a piece of goat meat and cooked it tonight.  I even ate the bones.  Three more dead today.  They are all buried without their clothes, with no casket. 

February 17th, 1947 (Monday) I bought sunflower seeds and corn grains for 8 ruble, and cooked it at night.   Still hungry. 

February 18th, 1947 (Tuesday)  The world would not believe what goes on here. 

February 19th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Received a new jacket from the mine.  I have six abscesses on my back and my knee is so swollen that I can barely walk.  I have constant pain all day.  They brought in some more Russians to replace our dead. It seems our group keeps on shrinking, soon they’ll be no one left to go back home anymore. 

February 20th, 1947 (Thursday) In exchange for wood scraps, some Russian women gave me corn cakes and a warm bowl of soup.  The weather will never get better, it still snows and is cold.  There is no hope of ever being released from here. 

February 21st, 1947 (Friday)  It’s been 25 months today since they took us from home.  Over half of us are already dead, no one cares what happens to us. We are innocents.  I could scream to the heavens and ask why so many innocent people have to suffer these terrible injustices, then endure pain and hunger, and die. 

February 22nd, 1947 (Saturday)  Today is two years since we’ve been dumped here in this camp.  There was a total of 4,600 people sent here, 750 Romanian, 1,600 from Hungary and 2,150 from Ober-Schlesien.  They sent 400 old and sick away, 1,700 remain here somewhat alive, and 2,500 rest in eternal peace here.

February 23rd, 1947 (Sunday)  I’m sick in the camp, still have swollen legs and knees.  My right knee is especially painful.  I cooked beans and barely for myself. 

February 24th, 1947 (Monday)  Still sick in the camp.  I can’t walk, my knee is as thick as a human head. 

February 25th, 1947 (Tuesday)  Still sick in the camp.  My legs are so swollen and full of water, my skin will soon pop.  I sold a shirt and underpants for 50 ruble and bought cooked oats.  I chew on them during the day to help my hunger. 

February 26th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Still sick.  Every day, 2 – 3 people on our floor died, they are relieved of their hunger and suffering.

February 27th, 1947 (Thursday)  Andreas Kekesi from my hometown, Harta, lost three fingers on the saw today.  I received only 50 ruble from the mine today.  I sold a piece of soap to buy food.  Pain and hunger are my constant companions. 

February 28th, 1947 (Friday)  Still sick.  I was out sick 17 days this month, and only worked 11 days.  This is the hardest period I’ve ever had to experience in my life.  I was so sick already, I was afraid that if I feel asleep, I wouldn’t wake up anymore!  I’ve pretty much given up on every seeing my home and family again! 

March 1st, 1947 (Saturday)  A cold wind and much snow.  I am still sick.  My legs and knee are still swollen and hurt severely. Whenever I try to stand, I get dizzy and pass out.  How much longer?

March 2nd, 1947 (Sunday)  Still sick.  I’m supposed to repair doors, but whenever I get up or turn around, I pass out.  The pain and hunger are indescribable. 

March 3rd, 1947 (Monday)  Still sick.  In the last three weeks, I was only able to work four days.  I don’t have any money to pay for the camp food.  Now they’re giving me the camp soup free.  Everything is going from bad to worse.  Now someone stole my scarf, gloves and socks! 

March 4th, 1947 (Tuesday)  This can’t go on much longer, every day, I’m getting worse.  Every day, 2 – 3 more are freed of their hunger and pain. 

March 5th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Clear, cold weather.  A. Vejtei brought me cooked oats from the bazaar.  I cooked a sort of coffee from it. I’m not drinking any water. 

March 6th, 1947 (Thursday)  I sold a blue jacket and a belt for 69 ruble.  I bought a piece of bread and a bowl of soup from the camp kitchen.  I’m starving.  I can’t think about anything else other than food.  People are falling like the flies in the autumn. 

March 7th, 1947 (Friday)  It looks like I’ll never return to work and that everything will end.  My legs are full of water and my back is full of abscesses. So much pain! 

March 8th, 1947 (Saturday)  Still haven’t been back to work.  No work, no pay.  I have sold almost everything I own except for the clothes on my back in order to eat. 

March 9th, 1947 (Sunday)  Still in the camp.  My hunger is great, my whole body is now full of abscesses and is swollen with fluids. Other people have already taken their own lives in order to end their suffering, they couldn’t take any more.  I still want to be able to go home! 

March 10th, 1947 (Monday)  A big to-do in the camp.  A commission came in and told them they have to give the camp food out for free to those that are sick and can’t work.  They only give you saltwater.  They steal whatever they want from you and sell it to buy vodka.  They are usually drunk. 

March 11th, 1947 (Tuesday)  They moved Heinrich Schneider and me today from our room.  For two years, I had been living there with A. Vejtei.  We slept next to one another, worked together, cooked and helped each other out.  Now we’ve been torn apart. 

March 12th, 1947 (Wednesday)  They sent us to a really bad spot.  There are only sick people who can’t work anymore.  They steal whatever they can reach. 

March 13th, 1947 (Thursday)  Andreas Stadler from Hajos, Hungary died today.  As of today, we receive a piece of bread as big as a small hand and twice a day saltwater.  This food will only hasten our deaths. 

March 14th, 1947 (Friday)  Now we are as near death as those removed from the infirmary to the death chamber, to fall asleep into eternity. 

March 15th, 1947 (Saturday)  Today was always a holiday back home, slaves were freed in 1848.  Now 99 years later, we’re still slaves. 

March 16th, 1947 (Sunday)  The days are getting sadder.  The camp food is so weak and meager, you won’t last. My legs are still very swollen and now I have a terrible pain in my left chest that just throbs. 

March 17th, 1947 (Monday)  I fixed tables and benches in the kitchen and received 20 food passes. I sold them for 50 ruble and bought a piece of bread and sugar for 25 ruble. 

March 18th, 1947 (Tuesday)  I have major headaches today, and am dizzy.  I cant’s stand up.  I bought coffee for 10 ruble, someone stole it from me! 

March 19th, 1947 (Wednesday)  As of today, I receive third class food portions consisting of twice a day soup, two teaspoonfuls of cornmeal and a small piece of bread.  This helps prolong my agony somewhat. 

March 20th, 1947 (Thursday)  The snow is gradually melting.  We hope that it gets warmer soon.  The burial holes are 150 meters from the camp.  Over the winter, the ground was frozen, so they buried the dead in only snow.  Now some of the dead are being washed out of the snow.  The stench is terrible.  They will have to use machines to dig holes and bury them.  I wouldn’t have believed this went on, if I hadn’t have seen it with my own eyes.  There is no respect for human beings here. 

March 21st, 1947 (Friday)  It’s been 26 months today since they captured us, and 790 days since we’ve been imprisoned here in this human misery.  It’s amazing that we all haven’t starved to death yet.  Every day, 3 – 4 people died on our floor. 

March 22nd, 1947 (Saturday)  Cloudy weather.  A hopeless future. 

March 23rd, 1947 (Sunday)  The days are long here in the camp.  Many are only skin and bones, they can’t even walk or stand anymore.  I can’t think about anything by eating, I’ve already sold all my winter clothes in order to buy food. 

March 24th, 1947 (Monday)  Still sick. I’m trying everything to get better.  I don’t want to go into the hole.  It looks hopeless, my legs are still swollen, I have great pain and am very dizzy.  I had to hold onto things in order to walk.  A. Vejtei cooked beans and cornmeal for me and brought it to my room. 

March 25th, 1947 (Tuesday)  The sun is shining through the window.  I am sitting in our room, what are they doing at home?  What are they cooking?  I can only think about my hunger, it plagues me day and night. 

March 26th, 1947 (Wednesday)  I received two cards from home today, one from November 1946 and one from January 23rd, 1947.  They are all still healthy.  They wrote about my building supply business, it made me very happy.  The cards gave me renewed courage, I have to return home, I can’t die here! 

March 27th, 1947 (Thursday)  We have to take two pills a day to ward off malaria.  For the first time every, the Red Cross was here today!  Everyone received a typhus shot.  Nothing else changed. 

March 28th, 1947 (Friday)  The doctor saw me today.  He told me I had to go back to work on April 1st.  My knee is still swollen. 

March 29th, 1947 (Saturday)  Two more died in our room today.  I am still sick, weak, dizzy and in pain.  I am too weak to work. 

March 30th, 1947 (Sunday)  I’ve already sold off all my clothes.  I don’t know how I can make the 4 kilometer walk each way to the mine. 

March 31st, 1947 (Monday)  I only worked 11 days in February and 0 days in March.  I am still too weak to work, but I’m anxious to get out of this room, as this is where people come to die.  Every day, many went to their eternal rest here! 

April 1st, 1947 (Tuesday)  The weather is better, but the roads are muddy.  I went to the mine today.  I never thought I’d live to see the mine again.  It took me three hours to walk back to the camp tonight, my legs and knee are so swollen, even my muscles cried out in pain. 

April 2nd, 1947 (Wednesday)  The sun is shining.  I worked on the bench making shovels and axes.  I bought ˝ liter milk and two corn cakes from some Russians.  I received two cards from home, from January 7th and 16th, they were all still living. 

April 3rd, 1947 (Thursday)  They reduced our bread portion.  How can we survive? 

April 4th, 1947 (Friday)  Good Friday, a fast day.  We’ve been fasting since we got here two years ago.  I sent a card back home.  I was sick today, my right knee is as thick again as a human head. 

April 5th, 1947 (Saturday)  Sick in the camp.  My knee is going to put me in the hole!  I gave Peter Tell a towel and socks to sell at the bazaar.  I received 15 ruble, he bought me food with the money. 

April 6th, 1947 (Sunday)  Easter Sunday.  Still sick.  I couldn’t even eat an Easter egg today, I didn’t have any money.  I wrote a card back home and thought about my family all day.  There have been more people who’ve taken their own lives here. 

April 7th, 1947 (Monday)  I went to work today, but I could barely walk. 

April 8th, 1947 (Tuesday)  It rained the whole day, the road was very slick and muddy.  Many people got stuck in the mud.  Many collapsed in the mud, some were carried back dead. 

April 9th, 1947 (Wednesday)  I made axes and shovels.  Sometimes I can trade one for food.  My knee is still swollen and painful.  I can barely walk. 

April 10th, 1947 (Thursday)  Now I have a huge abscess on my neck.  I can’t turn my head and have terrible pain.  They gave us rubber shoes.  There are very few of us still working, those that haven’t died already are sick in the camp. 

April 11th, 1947 (Friday)  My throat, my knee is killing me.  I have major headaches and hunger pains.  I was at the mine today, but I could barely do anything.  No one can believe what we have to endure here. 

April 12th, 1947 (Saturday)  I was even worse today.  On top of everything else, I got a tremendous pain in my kidney area.  I went to the doctor in the evening, and was told not to eat any more soup.  I sold my food passes and bought cornmeal at the bazaar.  I’m cooking it without any salt, and I’m not drinking any water. 

April 13th, 1947 (Sunday)  I was sick in the camp today, but they made me work repairing things in the kitchen.  They made me cornmeal, I ate twice until I was full.  The sick lie in the yard. 

April 14th, 1947 (Monday)  I bought acorns for 2 ruble at the bazaar, they are supposed to help hunger pains.  Some people ate raw oats, they died two days later. 

April 15th, 1947 (Tuesday)  Sick again.  A. Vejtei brought corn cakes back, which I ate instead of soup.  Menyhard Hohman for Csaszartoltes, Hungary and two others, died in our room today. 

April 16th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Still sick.  How long will this go on?  The future is hopeless, but I don’t want to stay here. 

April 17th, 1947 (Thursday)  Received only 200 grams of bread today and three times a watery soup.  It seems as if they want to get rid of those who can’t work anymore.  They want me to work in the camp, but I can barely walk. 

April 18th, 1947 (Friday)  Rain and wind.  Still sick.  I sent a card for Christine’s 10th birthday, and told them I’m still alive.  How much longer, is the question?  I can barely walk alone, my legs twitch and I am weak and dizzy. 

April 19th, 1947 (Saturday)  My knee is still so thick and swollen, I had to cut my pants to put them on.  There is a rumor, that those who can’t work anymore will soon go home, but who can believe it.  I still have money and buy myself some food everyday. 

April 20th, 1947 (Sunday)  The doctor wrote me up for five more sick days.  I’m supposed to make her a small table and a stool.  They gave me the materials and tools.  I can do it, but slowly.  The kitchen is giving me soup and bread twice a day. 

April 21st, 1947 (Monday)  It’s been 27 months since they captured us from home.  I sold my soup card and bought bread. 

April 22nd, 1947 (Tuesday)  The weather is getting warmer.  We warm ourselves in the yard, just like the little baby birds with no feathers yet. 

April 23rd, 1947 (Wednesday)  I finished the table for the doctor and received some food cards, which I traded for bread.  There was another rumor that the sick will soon be sent home.  I wish to God that it’s true.  Three of the sick died today, they went home. 

April 24th, 1947 (Thursday)  I’m now working on the doctor’s stool. I’m supposed to make benches for the kitchen.  Now they’re always giving me food passes, I trade them for bread.  My knee is a little thinner, but I still have severe pain.  I wouldn’t last the walk to and from the mine. 

April 25th, 1947 (Friday)  The doctor wrote me up for three more sick days.  She is now taking blood from my arm and injecting it into my back.  She has to stab me 3 or 4 times until she can get blood, it hurts. 

April 26th, 1947 (Saturday)  Today the cook told me that I won’t have to work in the coal mine anymore.  I told him that I’ll probably be going soon into the hole with all the other dead.  He said no, you will soon be going home.  “Skora Paschol po Doma”, we’ve heard these words two years already. 

April 27th, 1947 (Sunday)  I didn’t work today, I laid in the room.  It rained.  There is still talk about a transport taking the sick home.  Who can believe it, they’ve talked about us going home for two years already. 

April 28th, 1947 (Monday)  The doctor transferred blood again today from my arm to my back.  My abscesses are very bad!  I sold a sack from home to Peter Tell for 10 ruble, to buy food. 

April 29th, 1947 (Tuesday)  My legs are still very swollen.  I’m working in the kitchen making benches, otherwise I’d definitely starve.  Another rumor about going home, a commission is supposed to come.  A. Vejtei and H. Schneider said that they heard at the mine that the sick will be sent home. 

April 30th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Still sick.  I only worked ten days this month at the mine.  I received two cards from home today, from October 27th and December 15th, 1946.  They were all still living.  Received 170 ruble pay from the mine and bought sugar and bread. 

May 1st, 1947 (Thursday)  Work goes on at the mine even though it’s May Day.  Those in charge of the camp are all drunk. They used our food money to buy themselves vodka.  Those who are next to the fire warm themselves, while the rest of us can freeze. 

May 2nd, 1947 (Friday)  A bid day here!  At last, the commission did arrive and freed some of us, including me!  I went to the doctor this afternoon.  She took me to the room where the interviews were being held.  Our camp leader is a Schleiser, he put his own people on the list, not me.  The doctor spoke with two fat Russians, then my name was added to the list to go home.  Afterwards, I went back to my room.  The Schleiser came and wanted to know how I was able to get on the list.  I told him the doctor had spoken with the men from the commission.  He came back again and told me I had to wash the room down.  He made me clean the room four times, he wouldn’t leave me alone. 

May 3rd, 1947 (Saturday)  The Schlesier came again this morning and made me wash the floor again.  After I washed the floor, he told me to take my things, wash them, and bathe myself, because I’m to go home.  After that, I was so filled with happiness, I couldn’t do anything.  My whole body shook in disbelief, I was so shocked and surprised.  It took 27 and ˝ months to hear the words I’d been longing for. 

May 4th, 1947 (Sunday)  I had to work until midnight in the camp.  I bought a piece of bread and sugar.  They added more people to the group going home, Janos Kolb, Peter Knodel, Fritz Peters and Salamon Helfrich.  Now to clean clothes and bathe. 

May 5th, 1947 (Monday)  As of today, the camp food is free to us going home.  We can use the rubles we still have to buy food at the bazaar.  They stole whatever things they liked from us.  We got haircuts and bathed.  Those whose clothes were too ratty, they gave them clothes taken from the dead before burial.  I still had to repair tables and benches in the camp kitchen.  The dammed Schlesier was totally crazy. 

May 6th, 1947 (Tuesday)  In 1945, there were 4,500 people in this camp.  We had to work in eight various mines in the Lisicsansk area.  Some people worked in the building trades instead of the mines.  Now those sick people allowed to go home are being put into one building that’s already been cleaned.  We are not allowed to mix with those left behind. 

May 7th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Sunny weather.  They assembled us in the camp yard and after examining us, told us not to write anyone, nor take anything with us.  Now we really have hope about returning home! 

May 8th, 1947 (Thursday)  I gave my food cards to A. Vejtei and Andreas Kekesi. I bought bread and sugar for 20 ruble.  We had to sign the list for home transport.  Those that still had bad clothes were given better ones. 

May 9th, 1947 (Friday)  It’s been since May, 1945 that the war ended, but there’s over a hundred thousand here in slave labor!  In our camp alone, over two thousand have died and now rest in eternal piece. 

May 10th, 1947 (Saturday)  They asked for a photo, those that didn’t have a photo had to pay for one.  They are still making money on us!  Some people had to sell their bread in order to get the money to that low-based Schlesier! 

May 11th, 1947 (Sunday)  Franz Arnold, who was in the group to go home, died today.  We’ve been bathing ourselves every day and washing our clothes.  It took six months when we first came here to get a bath.  Before that, we set up a bucket in our room, so 30 – 40 people could take turns bathing in it. 

May 12th, 1947 (Monday)  They sent bread, food and cooking equipment ahead to the train station in Lisicsansk.  After a breakfast of soup, bread and tea, they examined us in the yard.  After a noon meal, they assembled us out into the yard again.  We were closely watched by armed guards, so that no one not on the list joins our group.  The night shift was in the camp.  They were confined to the buildings, they weren’t allowed onto the yard with us.  They stood in the windows, waved and cried tears for themselves that they weren’t released.  At three in the afternoon, they opened up the doors to the camp and we marched to the train station.  They had six train wagons there.  In one wagon was our food, in another, the kitchen and then four empty wagons for us.  The night was so long, we couldn’t sleep from excitement and the fact that we were sitting on hard wooden boards.  We were in the death camp from January 21st, 1945 until May 12th, 1947, 840 days. 

May 13th, 1947 (Tuesday)  I bought ˝ liter of milk and six cubes of sugar for 8 ruble at the train station.  Our breakfast was oatmeal and tea.  A truck brought steps and wooden boards.  I had to measure them.  Those that weren’t too weak helped me to put a second level in all the cars, so that there would be more room. 

May 14th, 1947 (Wednesday)  This morning, three more died.  We continued to work on dividing the cars.  By the afternoon, we had completed three cars.  Then they put the same number into each car.  The food was always the same, oatmeal and tea.  We were waiting on the train engine.  A few trains came by, but none picked us up. 

May 15th, 1947 (Thursday)  We’re still standing on the tracks in Lisicsansk.  Four people died last night.  Same food.  I bought milk and sugar again for 8 ruble. I traded a fork that I had brought from home for some sunflower seeds.  Still no train for us. 

May 16th, 1947 (Friday)  Two more died in the night.  How many more will died before we arrive home?  Two more died in the afternoon.  They took the dead back by truck to the camp and bought eleven more men to even out the count. 

May 17th, 1947 (Saturday)  After lunch, they put all the cooking fear into a wagon.  We were put into the wagons, too. They counted all of us and placed two armed guards in front of each wagon.  They didn’t want us to escape and return to the camp!  At five in the afternoon, a train pulled in, picked us up and after five days at the train station in Lisicsansk, we were off!  Many of us cried tears of happiness. 

May 18th, 1947 (Sunday)  We stopped in Charkov to have breakfast. Two more died.  They put their bodies in the back car.  At eleven in the morning, we were heading over Poltana, in the direction of Kiev.  When they passed over farmland, they stopped the train and buried five people next to the railroad tracks. 

May 19th, 1947 (Monday)  Arrived in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.  I bought ˝ liter milk at the station for 5 ruble.  Onwards, to Zsitomir, Korosteny.  At night, we arrived in Rokitno.  We ate beet soup and bread. 

May 20th, 1947 (Tuesday)  They stopped the train in an open deserted area and buried four dead in a shallow grave near the track.  At night, we stopped in Sarnye and ate dinner at the train station.  They we continued onwards. 

May 21st, 1947 (Wednesday)  It rained in the morning.  We are getting closer to the border.  Two people died in our wagon last night, Josef Kastater from Gyorkony and Anton Lauks from Hogyesz.  They were buried together in a shallow grave next to the tracks. 

May 22nd, 1947 (Thursday)  It was cold in our wagon at night.  Two from our wagon died overnight from Csepel, Anton Weiss and Josef Szeibert.  A truck took the dead away.  We were on the Polish border, at Brest-Lotovsk. You can see the difference here, they are more civil. 

May 23rd, 1947 (Friday)  They transferred us from the Russian wagons into smaller ones.  The weather was windy and cool.  They finally gave us food at three in the afternoon, a piece of bread and tinned meat. 

May 24th, 1947 (Saturday)  Franz Peier from Csepel, died in our wagon today.  They took his body and two others away by truck.  Here in Poland, no one gets buried at the side of the tracks. 

May 25th, 1947 (Sunday)  Whitsunday.  Ate lunch in the train station at Siedlee, then went on further.  At night, we arrived in Warsaw, the capital of Poland.  We had dinner.  Today we talked non-stop about our homes, they will be eating their Whitsunday cakes.  It was always a nice holiday at home. 

May 26th, 1947 (Monday)  Whitmonday.   At the station in Sochazev, Polish women were selling white bread and ham.  Some of us disembarked the train and spoke with the women.  They women had sympathy upon them, and gave them bread and ham.  Peter Knodel also received some and shared it with me.  It was very good, something new. 

May 27th, 1947 (Tuesday)  Over Warsaw/Posen, the land was at first hilly, then it turned into forests.  They had beautiful, even fields and towns, churches.  The house all had red bricks and red roofs.  They had black-white cows, pigs, geese and chickens, just like us at home. 

May 28th, 1947 (Wednesday)  Last night, we cross over the river Oder and ended our ten day train journey here in Frankfurt, East Germany (south of Berlin).  The sisters of the Red Cross gave us bread, tinned meat and coffee for breakfast at 4 a. m.  We were quartered in a barrack, so we were able to bathe right away.  At 3 p.m., they gave us lunch of soup, bread and a teaspoon of sugar.  Afterwards, they took our names, our birthdays and where our homes are.   Didn’t get any dinner. 

May 29th, 1947 (Thursday)  Breakfast and lunch were the same, soup, bread and sugar.  At 7 p.m. they turned us over to the East German Red Cross and were put into another barrack right next door to the Russian one.  Now the Russians, with their “Bistra, Robota” (work faster) are gone!  Those words will forever ring in my ears!  The East Germans registered us and wrote down where we wanted to return to.  The sun is warm already. 

May 30th, 1947 (Friday)  The same food, soup and bread and sugar.  The bread and sugar tastes good, we are starting to feel better.  Sadly, two men and a woman died, one was from Csepel and the other two from over the Danube.  They won’t ever reach their homelands.  In the afternoon, they gave us bread, sugar and marmalade to last us for two days. 

May 31st, 1947 (Saturday)  They took us to the train station in the afternoon, and we were off again.  First we reached Furstenwald, then spent three hours going through Berlin, then through Stassburg, and Hettsted-Teitschentahl, where we disembarked.  At the train station, 54 men and myself drank beer for the first time since our imprisonment.  In the meantime, our train left and we stayed behind.  They put our group on the next train to Halle, but we were too late there, too.  Then they sent us to Leipzig. 

June 1st, 1947 (Sunday)  They put us in a temporary barrack in Altenburg.  After that great excitement, we were able to bathe and sleep. 

June 2nd, 1947 (Monday)  Very warm weather.  Our breakfast was bread, sugar and coffee.  Our lunch consisted of vegetable soup and bread.  They gave us a bread/sugar/marmalade portion for tomorrow.  At 11 p.m., we left by train towards Weissenfels, in Sachsen-Anhalt. 

June 3rd, 1947 (Tuesday)  We arrived in Weissenfels at 3 in the afternoon.  They gave us tea, then soup and bread.  Afterwards, we bathed and were then assigned to a barrack with 22 men in one room.  They gave us here three meals a day, bread, potatoes, vegetables, marmalade and sugar. 

June 4th, 1947 (Wednesday)  They kept us here for five weeks, to recuperate and for quarantine purposes.  They were concerned about communicative diseases.  Everyone was looked at by a doctor.  For my right knee, they removed in the beginning, 4 – 5 deci yellow water with a needles, after two weeks, only 1 – 2 deci fluid needed to be removed.  It was so much better here than in Russia.  I bathed every day and laid in the sun to nap.  We didn’t receive much meat, but had bread, potatoes, vegetables, margarine, marmalade and tea with sugar. 

June 5th, 1947 – August 20th, 1947  We spent five weeks recuperating in Weissenfels, (state of Thuringen, then East Germany) which was in the Russian zone.  Afterwards, they divided us up among the local farmers to work.  I worked for Otto Kohler, a small farmer in Niederboza.  Johann Kolb, Peter Knodel, Salamon Helfrich and Johann Frits were also in the same village, working for other farmers.  Every day after work, we would all meet and enjoy conversation.  We continued to recuperate here.  We decided that we would escape East Germany for West Germany on August 20th.  From there, we would make our way back home to Hungary.  The farmer I worked for gave me my own room, and I had a white featherbed.  Right across the street from the farmer lived the village mayor.  Two days before our planned escape, I told the Kohlers our plan.  They didn’t have anything against our leaving.  The mayor gave us direction, to make it across the board easier.  The Kohlers packed up three days worth of food for us and after midnight on August 20th, we were off.  It was a 26 kilometer walk in the night.  As soon as we reached the West German border, we slept in a hay field.  In the morning, we walked to Melrichstadt, which was in the American zone. 

August 21st, 1947  Traveled by train over Schweinfurt, than Bamberg, until Nurnberg. 

August 22nd, 1947  By train again, by way of Regensburg to Vilshofen, which is on the Danube, near Passau in lower Bavaria, Germany.  There were many people in the camp here that had fled Harta because of the Russians.  They gave us dinner and we spoke until bed time. 

August 23rd, 1947  By train to Passau.  In West Germany, they let us travel by train free.  We also received meals from many people.  From Passau, we traveled over the Inn river into Austria.  We got out in Linz, Austria and went to the Red Cross.  They gave us food and a place to overnight. 

August 24th, 1947  I slept very well here in Linz.  The Red Cross gave me pants, a jacket and shoes, what I had were only rags, all ripped up.  We looked around the city and received free food and beer at in inn. 

August 25th, 1947   After three days, the Red Cross gave us train tickets to Vienna, Austria.  When we arrived in Vienna, we went straight to the Hungarian consulate.  The manager was from Harta, Heinrich Gottschall.  We recognized us right away.  They took our names and the addresses in Hungary where we wanted to go.  We celebrated the evening in Heinrich’s home.  His wife cooked for us.  We told them about our sorrowful imprisonment until midnight, then went to sleep.  In the morning after breakfast, he took us back to the consulate.  They had our papers ready to go home. 

August 27th, 1947  We traveled by train from Vienna to the first train stop in Hungary, Hegyeshalom.  The border police took us.  They gave us bean soup and stood guard watching us the entire night.  We couldn’t sleep. 

August 28th, 1947  Took the first train to Komaron, Hungary.  We were forced out of the train and locked in a dark room.  Towards evening, they asked us our ethnicity and if our families were still at home.  Afterwards, they gave us bean soup and we slept in the dark basement on straw. 

August 29th, 1947  They took us out of the dark cellar and fed us soup.  Then, they interviewed us again.  They asked how we liked it in Russian, who belonged to any ethnic party and what we plan to do when we return home.  Afterwards, they made us work in the cellar, cleaning it.  For three days, we were imprisoned here.  They gave us bread for breakfast, soup for lunch and bean soup for dinner.  Every day, a few more people joined us in the cellar. 

September 1st, 1947  At eleven a.m., they told us that we had to make ourselves ready very quickly, we’re to go home.  There were 27 of us from various villages and towns in Hungary.  Three armed guards with bayonets on their rifles escorted us to the train, where we traveled onto Budapest.  We arrived in Budapest at night.  They arrested all of us and threw us into a jail on Andrasi street. 

September 2nd, 1947  I was on the third floor of the prison, with eighty people in one room.  Three times a day, they gave us a spoonful of bean soup and a small piece of black bread.  It wasn’t any better than in Russia, except we didn’t have to work. 

September 3rd, 1947  We were happy that we were so close to our homes, but they treated us as if we were the most vicious of criminals.  Those people whose relatives weren’t in Hungary anymore, were shipped back to either Austria or East Germany.  After two weeks, they released Peter Knodel, Salamon Helfrich and Janos Frits.  Johann Kolb and myself were still here.  After another two weeks, they let Johann Kolb return to Harta, I was still here.  Finally, they released me on October 17th, 1947.  After thirty-three months, and about a thousand days, I was able to return to my family.  Those days away were a very hard time not only for me, but for my family. 

October 18th, 1947   My whole family was still at home upon my return!  The new government seized our house and property and gave it to a Hungarian family from Czechoslovakia. We were forced to live in three small rooms like servants in our own home.  I was still very sick, weak and swollen with fluids.  I was miserable.  After two weeks, our doctor sent me to the hospital in Budapest.  At the hospital, they didn’t have any medicine, nor food to feed us.  I kept on asking to go home.  After three weeks of taking fluid out of me, they let me go home.  The new government had already sent many of our villagers to East Germany. 

January 21st, 1948  The police encircled our village in the middle of the night.  They made us and other families go to the culture house.  They wrote us up and by that afternoon, they put us in cattle cars and sent us to Budapest.  It’s been three years since they first captured me to work in a slave labor camp in the Ukraine, now this! 

January 22nd, 1948  Now not only myself, but now my family, must endure this sorrowful existence.  I was only home for three months.  I’ve already had to endure hunger, pain and suffering for three years, now we all must share it.  The greatest injustice any man can do to another is to take away his freedom, his house and his property.  Our German ancestors settled in Harta in the 1750’s.  For over two hundred years, Hungary was our home.  Our ancestors lived here in freedom, working hard and living their lives.  Now a world war has ended all of it. 

February 6th, 1948  After fifteen days in the camp in Budapest, they let my parents and grandmother return to Harta.  The East Germans don’t want anyone over the age of sixty. 

February 20th, 1948  Sent off by train.  Traveled past Prague towards Sachsen in East Germany. 

February 24th, 1948  Arrived in Domitsch, East Germany and placed in a camp.  We were quarantined for six weeks, then they divided us up and sent us to various towns and villages.  We were sent to Sangerhausen, a small village.  We were given two small rooms (for five people). 

April 6th, 1948  We had three beds, five chairs and an oven.  Nothing else.  Our personal belongings lay in the floor in a corner. 

April 7th, 1948  We received cards to buy food.  The only food to buy was oatmeal and dark bread.  They didn’t have any eggs, milk or fat anymore until next month!  What miserable conditions.  We chopped wood from the forest and used it to cook and heat the room.  The terrible living conditions here gave us very little hope towards the future.  I was still very sick.  My wife pulled apart her wool scarf and knitted shoes with the yarn.  We added rubber soles from old bicycle tires and traded the shoes for food.  We were very poor, had nothing. 

May 5th, 1948  My mother-in-law and Andreas Schnautigel came to visit us from Munich – Maisach.  They took our big, heavy personal items with them and returned on the 6th

May 7th, 1948  We went by a small train to the border.  We paid for the train trip with cigarettes.  At night, we crossed over the border into the English zone near Walkenried, Gottingen.  In all the commotion, we left our plates and utensils behinds.  The police took us to a safe house where others who had escaped from the east were already.  In the morning, a truck took all our belongings, children and elderly to the train station.  The police told us we should go by train until the outskirts of Kassel, then disembark and take the local street car through the city to the end station.  Then, we were to take the next train onwards.  Kassel is in the American zone, we were told that if they found anyone without the proper identification, they send those people back to the Russian zone! 

May 8th, 1948  By afternoon, we were at the Kassel south train station and took a train towards Wurzberg/Ingolstadt on the Danube.  Our destination was Munich. 

May 9th, 1948  Arrived on Whitsunday in Munich, where my in-laws were living.  We caught up on our many trials and tribulations.  We also tried to find a place to live, but there was nothing available.  We had to go to a transitional camp in Schalding, near Passau. 

May 18th, 1948  After a week, we arrived in the camp.  There were over two thousand displaced people here.  The camp living was better than in East Germany.  I was still sick and weak, had to go often to the doctor. 

June 20th, 1948  The new German Marks were issued, every person was allowed to exchange the new for 60 of the old Reich marks. 

June 21st, 1948  From the first day of the new currency, suddenly, food and goods were now in abundance.  If you had the money, you could buy anything you wanted.  Previously, there was nothing available to buy.  Heinrich (my son) traveled to Passau and bought us porcelain plates so we could eat like regular people again.  We stayed in this camp until July 20th.  They sent 250 of us by train via Regensburg/Munich/Augsburg/New Ulm to Illerberg. 

July 21st, 1948  We were placed in a dance hall with 75 other people, more camp living. They wouldn’t take us in the French zone, they said there was no room.  There was no provision in the Yalta agreement that all the ethnic Germans should be forced out of the now communist lands and return to Germany.  We spent months here, from July 21st 1948 to November 10th, 1949.  Sixteen months. 

November 11th, 1949  They sent us to a city in Wurttemberg-Hohenzollern to stay at another camp.  We stayed there a week. 

November 16th, 1949  We were sent by bus to a small village called Goppertsweiler.  It was in a valley, 3 kilometers from Neykirch-Kreis-Tettnang.  We were sent to a farmer, the police had to stand by, the farmer didn’t want to take us in.  They finally gave us three small rooms above a cow stall.  By at least, we were finally in our own living space, if you could call it that.  The government gave us five iron beds with straw mattresses and blankets.  The Red Cross gave us 80 Deutshmark to buy groceries.  They also gave us certificates for a stove, heating oven, kitchen supplies, dinnerware, and a big washing tub.  The farmer’s name was Muhlebach.  We were in five different camps since leaving Hungary.  No one could appreciate what it was like to live in a camp unless you’ve had to do it yourself. 

Christmas, 1949  The German government gave a Christmas party for all of us refugees.  We all received little presents.  The major of Neukirch gave a little speech.  He told us there is no future here for us, he said he would travel to Friedsrichshafen, to meet with their mayor.  He understood that they are building new homes there.  He thought that we might as a group build our own homes there.  The government would provide the building materials, we would have to build them ourselves. 

June 12th, 1950  Us and 48 families moved to Allmansweiler, two kilometers west of Friedrichshafen.  We started to build 24 duplex homes.  We dug the cellars, etc.,  For every person who helped, every hour worked was an hour credit towards the price of our future home.  They still provided us with food and other social benefits.  So, the work progressed and soon one house after another was completed.  There were many tradesmen in our group, and everyone cooperated and worked very hard in completing the house.   The winter was warm here on the Bodensee (Lake Constance), so we were able to work through the winter.  There was a sawmill in the area, they made the wood for the house frames.  Franz Brigaztki, from Hungary, and I did all the carpentry work.  The floors and boards were made in a factory and delivered to the site.  (The Friedrichshafen area was heavily bombed during World War II, as there were many munitions factories in the area, also, it was home to the Zeppelins – apparently, the bombing destroyed many homes, hence the ability to re-build) 

Spring, 1951  The first 24 houses were finished.  They held a lottery, we drew #14 Gluckstrasse (Street of Luck).  We moved in March 19th, 1951.  Kathi and the children also helped a lot in building, so we amassed 1,900 hours in credits, exactly the cost of the house.  It took us three years and two months of wandering, living in camps until we were finally settled in our own home again!  Slowly, we bought household articles. Having worked together, we knew all of our neighbors, so it felt right away like home.  After completing the housing development, my daughter, Kati and myself found jobs in a wire factory.  When they completed school, my son Heinrich and my daughter Christine also found work.  By then, we were settled and very happy in our new land, Friedsrichshafen am Bodensee, (Lake Constance) south-west Germany.  The landscape was beautiful, with many fruit orchards.  Over two hundred years ago, our ancestors left Germany to settle in Hungary, now after WWII, millions were returned to their original homeland.  From here, many of us immigrated to other countries; America, Australia, Canada, England and Brazil.  My aunt and uncle Klein, his brother Janos and son, immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio.  There were many families from Harta, Hungary already in Cleveland.  They wrote us about how cheap the cost of living in the U.S. was as compared to Germany.  We could see that we could recover our livelihood quicker there, so we began thinking about immigrating, too.  In 1955, we took the big step and received papers to immigrate to the U.S.A.  It was a big step, but this time, it was done of our own free will.  It was hard going to a whole new part of the world, a strange land where we had to learn a new language and customs.  Germany was still divided and ruled by the allies and had been greatly torn apart during the war.  The future was brighter in the U.S.A., so we got our papers ready, sold our house, our furnishing, etc.,  I made two big wooden chests and packed five suitcases.  We left Friedrichshafen on July 28th, 1955 and took a train to Bremerhafen.  (They were sponsored by the West Side Hungarian Church, on West 98th Street and Denison so that they could come to this country.  Both John and Kathi Knodel remained church members until their deaths) 

July 28th, 1955 Boarded the ship “General Langfitt” and arrived in New York City nine days later.  We took an evening train and arrived in Cleveland on August 7th, 1955.  My uncle, Heinrich Kast and Karl Schnautigel met us at the station.  When we arrived here, we were so surprised at how they looked, like they didn’t have enough to eat.  My wife had already told me in New York that it would be better if we get on the next boat back to Germany. 

August 7th, 1955  We stayed with my aunt and uncle Klein at their house on West 48th Street.  It was a full house.  We told many stories of our life as gypsies.   It took seven years to come together with them again!  We all found work right away and started up again from nothing.  We had saved some money and our aunt and uncle loaned us money to buy our own house (on West 73rd. St.).  For a small down payment, we were able to also purchase furniture and household necessities.  Gradually, we became accustom to our new land.  The hardest part was the language, it was easier to learn for the younger ones, for the older ones, it was harder.  Financially, it was easier to move forward and grow here, so we got used to it.  Groceries, clothes, houses, etc., were all only one-third here what things would cost in Germany.  Personally, it was harder here, as we had to leave our loved ones.  My parents were still in Hungary.  Kathi’s parents were in Munich.  We were spread all over the world.  After ten years, we returned to visit our European relatives in 1965.  Europe had changed a lot, too, especially Germany.  Everything was rebuilt that had been destroyed during the war.  We visited my in-laws in Gerlinden, (near Munich) then saw our son Heinrich, his wife Helga, and grandchildren in Friedrichshafen (Heinrich also immigrated with the family in 1955, he met and married his wife, Helga in Cleveland – had one son – and then returned to Friedrichshafen in 1958 or 1959 and remains there) to and then onto Hungary, Harta, Kiskoros, Dunavecse and Budapest.  Most of the refugees had built new homes and had jobs.  Their living conditions had greatly improved.

The end of John Knodel’s Diary

John & Kathi Knodel lived in Cleveland, then moved to Fairview Park.  They moved to Leigh Acres, Florida and then returned to Fairview Park. 

They liked to live near the bus line, as John didn’t learn to drive until 1968, when his son Heinrich, came to visit from Germany.  Kathi never learned to drive – but enjoyed being independent and took the bus frequently.   

They enjoyed living in Florida, but returned when John was yet again imprisoned – by Alzheimer’s Disease.  He died in May, 1989.  Kathi lived until January 1999.  They are both buried in West Park Cemetery in Cleveland.   They were the best grandparents ever and were much loved.

Gerti Soderquist

[Publishers note: Village of Harta / Hartau is in Bács-Kiskun County, Batschka]


Last Updated: 04 Feb 2020

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