Copyright © 2013 National World War II Museum. All rights reserved.
It was wartime so they had to have shades on their windows. Bombs were a constant threat. Whenever there was an air raid they made sure to go into the basement. They did not have running water and eventually they would lose electricity. The Hungarian police came again and told them they needed to pack and that they were going to be transported to the Jewish ghetto. They packed their few belongings and along with her mom and her sister they were taken to the Budapest ghetto. They were herded into an area that was cordoned off with barbed wire and machine gunners. They also had dogs. They were put into apartment buildings. Most of the rooms were designed for 4 to 5 people but Aigner found herself getting crammed into the rooms 20 at a time. They had a mass feeding usually twice a day. They still had to deal with air raids. Sometimes they would not get food if they did not get in line fast enough. People were constantly getting sick. 1 night when they were huddling together the Hungarian militia came by and began to collect able bodied people. Aigner's mother was taken away from her at gunpoint. At this point her sister was 15 and Aigner was 7. They had no idea where there mother was taken. They were woken up in the middle of the night by the Hungarian police and were told that they were going to go on a march. It was December of 1944 and it was snowing and brutally cold. They were lined up and forced to march down a mile or 2 down to the Danube river. They still had no idea what happened to their mother. They were standing in a line hearing nothing but gunshots. They took 50 to 75 people at a time and took them down to the river and shot them 1 at a time. There were 800 people that particular night who were killed by the banks of the Danube. The Danube did not run blue that night but rather red. Aigner found out her mother was taken onto a train. At the first opportunity Aigner's mom jumped off of the train to escape and with a little luck and sympathy from a German soldier was able to escape. The German soldier had a wife and kid as well and was able to sympathize with her mother. Aigner's mother hid during the day and walked at night. She was luckily able to walk back to Hungary. On her way back she scavenged for food. Aigner's mom sneaked back into the ghetto looking for Eva but earlier that night the section of the ghetto had been emptied. Aigner's mother recognized her daughter's crying voice. Her mother took the last thing she had on her that was valuable which was her wedding ring and bribed a guard to get Eva and her sister out of the line. In January of 1945 Russian troops came into the ghetto and liberated it. They were told that they were free to go. No one wanted to leave because they could not believe it. 1 by 1 they started leaving. Aigner could not walk because she had dysentery. They did not have a blanket or a pillow to lay down on. They got back to their original apartment and it was stripped down. They were able to find post cards from their father that he sent to the apartment before being killed at the forced labor camp. They lost a lot but they survived and they were able to realize that at least they had each other. They lived under communism until 1956. Before that Eva had met her future husband who was also a survivor. During the revolution they were standing in line waiting for bread they heard 2 men behind them. One of them said, "After we get rid of the Communists we can get rid of the Jews." This alarmed Aigner and right then and there her and her husband decided that if they were going to raise a family they were going to do it in a free country.
All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at http://ww2online.org/faqs.