“Our captain spoke into a megaphone, saying we were getting very close, another day or two and we would be in Tel Aviv. Everyone was full of eagerness, how amazing it would be, there was dancing and so on. Suddenly we saw a plane overhead, it was circling above us, and the shlichim immediately said that was bad. That those were the English and that they what and who it was. So we didn’t go to Haifa, but to Tel Aviv instead, and an English boat approached us and started: ‘You must go to Haifa, this is illegal, you cannot go to Israel...’ But we were dancing, the idealists that we were, and we said: ‘No one can stop us, they can’t tell us anything, we have to go to Israel because we survived...’ It was no use; we sailed to Haifa, and from there they took us to Cyprus. We spent twenty-two months in Cyprus, shut up like in a concentration camp.”
“We didn’t have anything to eat, nothing at all, and we were ridden with lice. Mum worked in the S-commando, those were women who carried the food from the kitchens to the houses, for which they got a bit of food. The fact that we had a bit more than the others and that we were together gave us a certain amount of hope. I was with my mum and my sister, the three of us were together, and we gave each other a bit of strength. We saw people dying all around us, everyone knows that, that’s nothing new.”
“I attended the Makabi ha-cair Hachshara. I felt good there. We were all young, from all over Slovakia; Ha-shomer ha-cair also had their Hachshara close to us. We had parties together, we worked a bit, we learnt a bit of Hebrew, we listened to all kinds of lectures by the emissaries, shlichim, who came from Palestine - it wasn’t Israel yet back then, just Palestine.”
“My dad, before he married, as a young man he was in Palestine, in 1926-1927. Then he returned to Czechoslovakia and married my mum. They were great Zionists, but they stayed in Czechoslovakia - they were not such great Zionists as to go to Israel. But we were Zionists, which is why I joined the Makabi ha-cair. I learnt Hebrew, we learnt Hebrew songs, the script... I arrived in Israel and I already knew both how to read and how to write.”
Judith Königsberg, née Judita Marosi, was born on 29 October 1929 in Nitra; she grew up in Nové Zámky. She comes from a Jewish Zionist family, her father Ignác lived in Palestine in 1926 to 1927. The family spoke Hungarian, her father was a merchant. Judith and her younger sister Noemi were childhood members of the Zionist organisation of Makabi ha-cair. When southern Slovakia was annexed by Hungary, she attended Hungarian schools and was later expelled from school. In March 1944, after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, the family was sent to the ghetto in Nové Zámky, from where they left by transport to Auschwitz in late May. Her father died, the witness and her mother and younger sister Noemi were deported to the camp in Bergen-Belsen, where all three of them were liberated. After the war they returned to Slovakia and lived in Nitra, where a part of the family gathered. Judith Königsberg started a Hachshara in Bratislava, a preparatory course for emigrating to Palestine. In April 1946 she left for Palestine with a group of Zionists, but immigration limits set by British authorities meant that she did not arrive until January 1949, after almost two years of internment in Cyprus. She and her husband settled down in Ha-Chotrim Kibbutz, which has been the witness‘s home for almost sixty-eight years. Judith Königsberg is a widow, she raised two children and enjoys spending time with her several great-grandchildren.