• Born Elly Berkovits on February 14, 1929 at Simimleul-Silvaniei, in Romania
  • In that spring of 1939 German, Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia.
  • On September 10, 1940 three regions of Romania, Bihor/Crisana, Cluj and Maramures were annexed by Hungary.
  • In 1942 the new government drafted men age 18-55 to forced labor. My father age 36 was drafted, forever disappeared from our lives. Home with our mother, my brother and I never heard from my father. Returning as a young woman to the home I had left as barely more than a child, I was told that my daddy was burned alive at Dorsensk, on the Russian front in the spring of 1943.
  • Beginning early in the winter of 1944 we Jews had to wear the yellow Star of David. Gentile children spit on me and said, "Dirty Jew go to Palestine. Did a star fall on you?" After Passover we were escorted to the Ghetto, which was in a former brick factory at Chehul-Silvaniei. As we entered on the right side blood covered men were on gallows, Hungarian authorities tortured older people suspected that of concealing valuables.
  • On Saturday May 27th 1944, Erev Shavuot we were ordered into a tent strip searched and herded in boxcars, 95-100 person on each. We were given a bucket for waste and one with water. The river ran next to the transport, but we only had one bucketfull of water.
  • Friday June 2nd the door was opened. A newborn child with his mother, the dead, the sick and old were throw on a cart on top of one another. In the air was a heavy smoke. It smelled, I still recall, as burnt rubber. On the horizon were 4 tall chimneys which poured smoke with red flames. From the background I heard a symphony, somewhere.
  • At the head of the line of disembarking captives, an officer moved his white gloves. My familey and I were seperated, and I was pushed to the other side. I waived to my Mother and Brother, then ran to catch the small group on the right side. I never saw my mother and my brother again.
  • My group was escorted into a building. We had to undress, a girl chopped my ponytail, another shaved my head. As I entered into the shower, I got a tiny soap written engraved with the words "Jude Siefe," in English "Jewish Soap." After the shower all of us got a rag with a yellow cross on the back, wooden clogs and nothing else. On the plaza came a woman she said, "You are in Auschwitz-2/Birkenau, Lager C. In this area are 32 Blocks (trailers) each houses about 1,000 females from Hungary and territories under their jurisdiction.
  • In the end of August 1944 Dr. Mengele selected a group of us and I was shipped to Fallerslaben, Germany to work for Volkswagen on land-mines and bazookas. Early April 1945 we were shipped to Zalsweden. I was reunited with my two cousins. On April 14, 1945 the Allies liberated us. Later we were moved to Hillerslaben and in a few months returned home.
  • In 1946 at the age of 17 I married Ernest Gross, a survivor of forced labor and Death March. We lived under the communist regime in Romania for 20 years and raised two children. In 1966 moved to United States. With my husband and I worked 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week. While we supported our family, our children focused on their education, and were able to reach the American dream. God Bless America.
  • In 1995 I did a testimony for Mr. Steven Spielbergs' Shoah foundation and a law firm found my testimony. I was called from Los Angeles. In 1998 I served as plaintiff on the reparation for all former slaves. Gentiles and Jews alike.
  • In 1998 I took part in that years "March of the Living" tour of Holocaust sites. While walking through Auschwitz-2/Birkenau on a display I found my mother and brother's picture in front of a boxcar when we had just arrived, in the morning of June 2, 1944. As lighting hit me all the memories. There I made a commitment, that as long as I am able, I will remind everyone who will listen of our tragic past. 


Jews in Romania

















6. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/

 Death March