I was there.
In 1944, the Hungarian government ordered the Jews to be deported to Auschwitz. In the early May 1944, Vasile Nussbaum, 15, was a student at the Jewish High School, and he lived in Cluj-Napoca with his parents and younger brother Sanyi, who was 9 years old.
In one day all their possessions were seized and they were imprisoned in the ghetto, set up on the site of the former brick factory in Cluj. After less than a month, they were deported to Auschwitz.
Vasile Nussbaum (1929), Romania/Hungary
Confined to the Ghetto
In May 1944 the Jews were ordered to enter the ghetto. Vasile and his family had to pack a few things and move to the ghetto.
1) Listen to what Vasile Nussbaum has to say about the ghetto and answer to the question.
1a. How does Vasile define the ghetto? Choose the correct answers from the list!
Personal Memories About the Ghetto
Vasile did not perceive the ghetto as a place of terror because he was there with his friends and classmates and was not aware of the danger.
2) Listen to Vasile as he talks about his memories in the ghetto. Answer the questions.
2a. What was Vasile's first impression of the ghetto? Make a comparison between Vasile's story about the ghetto and that of other survivors (see for example the interview with Livia Frankel).
2b. Think of an unfortunate event in your life that was otherwise perceived by your classmates or friends.
The Transport from the Ghetto
Vasile and his family were included in the first transport from the ghetto to Auschwitz. Vasile now has the first shock because of the way they have to meet their physiological needs in the train wagons filled with people.
3) Listen to Vasile as he talks about the transport from the ghetto. Answer the questions.
3a. What was the biggest shock suffered by Vasile when he was transported to the camp?
3b. Describe in 5 words the train journey to the camp.
3c. Do you remember a time when you felt embarrassed or humiliated or have you ever witnessed someone beeing humiliated?
3d. Do you think it is necessary for people to take a stand when a person is being humiliated? Debate your position with your classmates.