“It was horrible to open the newspaper and read that our laws were much stricter than the German ones. Do you know what it meant to us to see the Germans persecuting people? And we found Hitler to be pure rogue. I thought it was a man having just a skull without any brain inside. And we were exalting that? My state, where I was born? I used to be the best Slovak language pupil in our class. None of other Jewish children was better in Slovak than me. And even until today I believe there were no such Slovak speaking people even among the ministers. Tuka was surely a Hungarian and Mach partially as well. Because once there was a rumor that Mrs. Machová asked: ‘Šaňo, mi az na stráž?’(What does it mean On guard? – asked partially in Hungarian). So, they were considered Slovaks, but we weren´t, you see. Nevertheless, we have always presented us to be of Slovak nationality. Our citizenship was always here at home.”
“I am so sorry for the young people. I know what it means to go through hell and I am afraid for them not to experience the same. And I tell you the truth, when someone told me there was a new plaque of my husband in Humenné, I said: no need to do that. What if you woke up one day and there were swastikas, what would you do? I don´t know what´s wrong with the people. I don´t know why they haven´t learnt anything. I don´t know why they don´t understand there is no winner in the war. I am convinced there is no winner in the war, because even the winner loses his children, loses the labor of own hands and intellect, and then, what is the economy like? How many years it takes to fix it altogether again! And yet before all of it is fixed, the catastrophe breaks out again. All of it is so pointless. And why? For the religion? It´s none of my business to care whether he believes in Christ or the other one in Messiah. Why would I care? Why would he be in my way? If you only knew how many young people and children left from Slovakia. If they only had chance to grow up here, they might have become great artists uplifting our nation. Or even doctors, who might have discovered cancer treatment, or Alzheimer treatment… Those Slovaks had sent own doctors and artists into the gas. Our own future, beautiful future, was sent to gas. What was it good for? What was an outcome?”
“Well, I don´t want it to sound too boastful, but the Friedmann´s children were the best pupils. We were truly the best students and we were being sent to higher grades to demonstrate how to learn math and grammar. And we really paid great attention to that. I remember one day Lea didn´t come home right away and my mom assumed, she for sure had to get one B. And yet she was for sure ashamed to come home. The schools were normal, compulsory, of course, and we never thought of not going there. On the contrary, holidays were always endlessly long, that´s how much we wanted to go back to school. During the holidays we worked a bit; we weren´t employed, but we just partially earned some pocket money. We were collecting and drying linden flowers, sold them for tea, sold the dead nettle, etc. And then we used to buy what we called American nuts. Something like that, you know, if there was a paradise of children playing, we probably lived that back then.”
“I don’t know what is wrong with people. I don’t know why they haven’t learned anything. I don’t know why they don’t understand there is no winner in the war.”
Edita Grosmanová, née Friedmannová, was born on July 11, 1924, in Humenné as the third out of seven children. She spent her whole childhood in a devoted Jewish religious family in Humenné. As Jewish children were separated from others at schools, she began to notice the change of attitude towards Jewish people. Her father, since he was a very skilled artisan, obtained a presidential exception that was valid for the whole family. However, it came too late and Edita along with her sister, Lea, were taken on a transport to Auschwitz on March 25, 1942. Lea died in a gas chamber in December 1942. Edita despite her bone tuberculosis survived Auschwitz and even the death march. After the war, she returned to Humenné, where she met her future husband, Ladislav Grosman. They both left to study to Prague, where Edita graduated from biology at the Charles University. In September 1968, the whole family emigrated to Israel. After her husband passed away, Edita partially lived in Israel and Canada. Today, she lives in Toronto, Canada, with her son Jirka.