Vera Meisels

* 1936  

  • “After crushing of the Uprising, we had to hide in the mountains. Thus we went deep down to a forest. There my father Zoltán and his brother Móritz dag such a deep hole, so that we were able to lie down in it. Afterwards they found some big blanket; we lay down under it and covered ourselves. This way we lay there until we ran out of all food.”

  • “Imagine, that they shouted in a loud voice or from megaphones at the platform: ʻMeisels Zoltán and Meisels Móritz with families, come out of the wagons!ʼ I don´t even know if this ever happened before, but it wasn´t an everyday thing. We were in a wagon with my family from Prešov, from my father´s side. And this family from Prešov was really big. My dad had seven siblings, no counting aunts, uncles, and cousins. So the four of us – me, my sister, dad and mom – came out of the wagon, from which no one ever returned back again. We were granted exceptions because we owned a business for horseshoes´ production. This way we were labeled as needed for the Slovak economy. Afterwards, we, the Jews, were taken from the cattle wagon to a hotel.”

  • “My mom sent me and my older sister to Trebišov, to our grandparents´. And we had a great time at their house. For long years they had a maid in their house, called Mariška, and she used to play and cuddle with us all the time. And then guardsmen or German soldiers came. My grandma and grandpa had all their stuff packed already, so they had to know about the upcoming transport. Those soldiers wanted to take my sister and me as well, but Mariška saved us and told them we were there just for a visit and that we couldn´t be transported from Trebišov. However, I think that the guardsmen knew our Mariška and she swore to them to take us to Prešov, from where we would get on a transport together with our parents. And that´s how it was…”

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I was supposed to end up in Auschwitz, but destiny led me to Theresienstadt

Vera Meisels was born on June 10, 1936 in Prešov. She comes from a secularized Jewish family. Her father Zoltán owned a business for horseshoes production. After the anti-Jewish laws were passed during the warlike Slovak Republic, their enterprise was aryanized. The whole family lost its property as well as they were deprived of their civil rights. Only thanks to granted economic exception the family was saved from transports into concentration camps. However, after crushing of the Slovak National Uprising they had to run away to mountains. There they managed to hide for few weeks until the German troops captured them. All of them were transported into a labor camp in Sereď. At the end of 1944, Vera, her mother and older sister Alica were transported to Theresienstadt. Vera´s father was deported to Sachsenhausen. They all lived to see the end of the war in these concentration camps. After the communist coup the family immigrated to Israel. Vera has lived there up to present.