Pavel Taussig

* 1933  

  • "We all thought that none of the parents existed. Beware, no thoughts about what it would be like when I come back home, mom, how she takes care and daddy, as if they were at home all the time. There was someone right away who said, 'No, no. Forget it. You are an orphan. You'll come home and you won't have anything like that. I lived more or less in normal conditions after the war, and they went to some facilities in the children's facilities who lost their parents during the Holocaust, and as soon as possible they went to Israel."

  • "Then it was said that the men would go elsewhere to work. My parents decided to enrol me as a fourteen-year-old to be among men because children had less chance of survival. In the meantime, this was also known in Slovakia. How, I don't know, but it made sense that they'd rather feed someone who works for them than a boy who won't contribute at all to the reich. So they signed me up, and there were several similar smart fathers. So, they set us apart and tattooed us. The tattoo was perhaps alphabetically, but maybe not, definitely my dad was in front of me, he had a number and I had the consecutive one. Basically, it was a relief, you could say, because it was clear to us that they wouldn't tattoo someone they wanted to shoot the next day, it didn't make sense. So not that we were happy, but it was a guarantee that going along with adults was not a bad idea."

  • "We had to put our luggage in a certain place, where it was then sent to Germany as a winter aid. Everyone who saw us stared at us, stared. We didn't understand that. This was because we were the first transport that, without selection, with everything with babies on hand, went together to one barracks. We only found out about it gradually. We took it as if they were leading us like those who were already there, so what is surprising, because they had it in a similar way. They didn't. They had a selection during the performance, and before some of them reached the barracks, the others had already flown out the chimney, as we know. Fortunately, our parents didn't know that at the time, so we took it as if we were staying somewhere in the barracks. We all went to ward A. ”

  • "I remember, and of course it affects many, that the memories weren't so worst. On the one hand, I didn't understand the whole thing, and on the other hand, I thought we would stay there. I had no idea about any other plans. Of course, my parents didn't tell me we were going straight to the gas chambers, and I don't know if they knew, but they definitely knew more than I did. There were boys of the same age as I was, so we ran somewhere. I perceived it a kind of a family trip or camp with my parents. It also happened at home that my parents were gloomy or in a bad mood. Then, in addition, Sereď seemed to me like a paradise on earth, because then I had one parent less, in the end I was completely alone, and for a long time, so this was the last memory of a relatively normal life with my parents, but I do not mean that it was objective fact."

  • "So we got there, I don't think there was any phone call, that my dad came straight with me so he wouldn't waste time. They put me in the bathtub, scrubbed me, we cried, I was cool so my parents wouldn't think I was a poor thing. So I bragged about some things that weren't worth it, but so that my parents wouldn't think I'd suffer in any way. I also said, 'The Americans found out that I suffer from lung tuberculosis...' My parents almost fainted and the next day they took me to the hospitals and I didn't get out of there anymore; they took me to the Tatra mountains and I didn't return from the Institute for the Treatment of Pediatric Tuberculosis only until a year later."

  • "When I was very tired and every step was hard to make, I fell behind. The rows behind me preceded me and I was still one row behind. When a group of very strong men came to me, prisoners who, as I heard, but I do not guarantee, were Danes or Norwegians and allegedly worked in a slaughterhouse in Auschwitz. They saw a little boy almost falling down, so they grabbed me, held my hands and threw me one step forward. Then they took one step, thus reaching my level, one more step, by which I found myself behind them, and so it was repeated, and they threw me forward again from behind. It went on like this until I recovered so much that I said I could do it somehow. They definitely saved my life, because even that solidarity somehow impressed me and I caught my second breath. Otherwise, I would probably fall down somewhere and that would be the end of me."

  • "Then there was excitement once again that I suddenly said that I heard joyful sounds that I had not heard there until then. So I thought, ´Maybe? Ok, I will risk it.´ Then I somehow crawled out, it wasn't so complicated anymore, everything went in one direction, so I slid through the mud and more than once I saw an American jeep. There were two soldiers sitting in it, but I didn't see them, because there were prisoners around and hugging them, I only saw the jeep and that was enough for me, so I thought it was here. The Germans were not there, they had watchtowers where we could see them and especially them, but by then the towers were empty and no Germans were within range, so it was clear – then we were free. It was May 4th."

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They tattooed us. And that meant hope for us

Pavel Taussig 1943
Pavel Taussig 1943
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Pavel Taussig was born on November 24, 1933 in Bratislava to a Jewish family as the only son. His father Artur Taussig ran the company, his mother Jolana was a housewife. The family was Jewish, but fully assimilated. Pavel Taussig attended a Slovak school and later a grammar school. After the establishment of the Slovak state and the introduction of anti-Jewish measures, the father acquired the status of an economically significant Jew, which to some extent protected the family from deportation. In the summer of 1944, the Taussigs moved from Bratislava to the village of Brunovce. There, at the end of October 1944, they were arrested by guards, taken to a camp in Sered, from where they were deported to Auschwitz in early November. Pavel Taussig lived first with his father, then in a block with similarly old boys. In mid-January 1945, together with other prisoners, he accomplished the evacuation of the Auschwitz camp, the so-called death march. At the end of January, he got to the Mauthausen camp, later he was transferred to the Melk camp. He was liberated on May 4, 1945 in the Gunskirchen camp. After basic convalescence and treatment in Hörsching and Linz, he arrived in Bratislava in July, where he met both parents - his father was liberated in Auschwitz in January 1945 and his mother returned from the Lippstadt camp. Pavel Taussig was treated for tuberculosis for a year in a sanatorium in the High Tatras, and re-entered the school in the autumn of 1946. He later studied librarianship and Slovak at the University of Bratislava. He was employed by the Slovak Publishing House of Beautiful Literature as a librarian, later as the head of the promotional department, then he was the editor of the satirical magazine Roháč. In August 1968 he emigrated to Germany, where he worked in the editorial offices of the satirical magazines Pardon and Titanic, as well as in the daily Ärzte Zeitung. He and his wife raised two sons. In 1985, his collection of satirical short stories, The Unique Saint, was published in Toronto, Canada, and in 1987, the book Dumb, But Ours was published there. In 2012, he published the novel Hana in Budmerice. In 2018, his book The Boy Who Survived the Death March... and I Didn‘t Die was published, which was based on diary entries that Pavel Taussig kept shortly after his liberation during his convalescence in the summer of 1945.