Erika Taubner Gold was born in 1932 in Budapest, Hungary, 4 months before Adolph Hitler came to power.
As a girl, Erika watched Hitler’s rise, culminating in Hitler’s eventual invasion of Hungary in 1944.
In Erika’s words: “In order to survive, you had to be at the right place at the right time, you had to be the right age, you had to have somebody helping you, and you had to be very lucky. That’s the only way any of us survived.”
This is Erika’s story.
10:30 – “People were very optimistic and they could not imagine that whatever they were thinking was really happening because people just can’t be that cruel. But unfortunately, it was true.”
17:45 – “The older I get, the angrier I get that the people- the neighbors that they used to be friends with – [saw Jews loaded onto cattle cars and] nobody objected. And that is one of the reasons we talk about the Holocaust. That people should see the signs. When you see something that is so wrong, you have to speak up.”
24:00 – “[The Germans are the ones who wrote the history down]. Some people say it couldn’t happen. It did happen, and that’s how fast it went.”
24:45 – “The Nazis wanted each room [in a house] to be occupied by a family. The way they counted a room was if you had one bedroom, a dining room, a kitchen, and a bath, that was considered four rooms. So four whole families had to occupy this space.”
26:00 – “I received two ounces of milk per week because I was under the age of 12.”
27:30 – “[The Nazis] did not do anything without people being registered. So when anybody says it didn’t happen, I didn’t write the history. They did. They have miles and miles of documents because everybody had to be registered.”
28:45 – “In order to survive, you had to be at the right place at the right time, you had to be the right age, you had to have somebody helping you, and you had to be very lucky. That’s the only way any of us survived.”
30:30 – “The first of December, the Nazis came and took us all away. There were 300 women and children in this place. They put some of us on trucks, other people were walking, of course not knowing where we were going to end up… We arrived at a busy marketplace and the Nazis said we’re going to stop here. Nobody should get out of line or get off the trucks. With that, the truck that my mother and I were on stopped. My mother jumped off, she winked at me, I jumped after her, and we walked away. Obviously nobody saw us or they didn’t care.”
32:00 – “If anybody would have found out that we were there, all four of us would haven been shot on the spot.”
41:45 – “The fact that they survived [the concentration camps] was a miracle. I guess that’s the reason that some people survived – so we can talk about it. That it should never have happened, and how cruel people can be. It’s unbelievable.”
45:45 – “I don’t worry about the small stuff. Anything that’s not really important, I don’t worry about.”
47:15 – “Right now I’m under house arrest. I haven’t been in a grocery store since March. My son does all the shopping and brings it to me. If I don’t have this, I’ll have that. I mean, I haven’t starved yet, so it’s okay. I don’t care if I eat the same thing two days in a row. If I don’t have one thing, I’ll eat something else. So those little things don’t bother me.”
49:15 – “[Losing family was] the hard part. Because in less than two months, these people just disappeared. Thinking about it is mind-boggling.”
51:15 – “My uncle had to explain to me before we started driving that I’m going to see separate bathrooms and water fountains where the blacks can go, and that just blew my mind. I came from trying to be in the United States to be free and then there are people here who are not. That was very hard to take. I could not believe it.”
52:30 – “I’ve been through a lot of different governments but it has never been as bad as it is now. As a matter of fact, it feels more and more like during the Holocaust where there was one type of government and individuals who has the right to make the laws and do whatever they want because there was nobody who was able to do anything to stop them. And right now I feel exactly the same, unfortunately.
56:30 – “We need to be kind. There is no reason to bully people. And it’s not just kids that do it, grown ups do it.”
57:15 – “If they would just talk to people, probably they wouldn’t hate them. But they don’t know them.”
58:00 – “It’s all the same. It makes no difference who lives next door to you, where they go or what they do. As long as they are nice, it’s okay.”
- “Holocaust survivor Erika Gold: ‘I don’t know where people get all this hate’” by Grant Segall at Cleveland.com, January 11, 2019
- “Northeast Ohio students learn about the Holocaust from woman who witnessed Hitler’s rise to power” by Olivia Fecteau at News 5 Cleveland, March 28, 2019.
- “The Holocaust: An Introductory History” at the Jewish Virtual Library, a project of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
- “A Brief History of the Holocaust: A Reference Guide” by the Montreal Holocaust Museum, 2018 Edition
- A list of Holocaust museums from Wikipedia
- Liberation 75: A global gathering of Holocaust survivors, descendants, educators and friends
- “What Americans Know About the Holocaust” by Pew Research Center, January 22, 2020
- “Holocaust Denial Headlines: Hatred, Ignorance, Or Innumeracy?” by Benjamin Radford at the Center for Inquiry, January 7, 2019
Get in touch
- Newsletter: chrisbordoni.com/newsletter
- Twitter: @ChrisBordoni
- Instagram: @chrisbordoni
- LinkedIn: cbordoni
- Web: chrisbordoni.com
Thanks so much for listening!