Agnes Lebovics

Born April 13, 1939 - Chust, Czechoslovakia

Agnes, the oldest daughter of Mor and Marketa Lebovics, was an infant when Hungary took over the part of Czechoslovakia in which she lived. Her father came from a family of wealthy livestock dealers, and he worked in the family business. Her mother's father owned a flourishing print shop. The Hungarians immediately began oppressing the Jews of Chust. Agnes's father was sent to work in a forced-labor camp in Hungary. He was, however, allowed home for visits. Agnes's younger sister, Eva, was born two years later. Soon after Eva's birth, harsh economic and social restrictions were imposed upon the Jewish population, and life became even more difficult for Agnes and her family.

In early 1944, the Germans occupied Chust and immediately increased the persecution of the Jewish population. A German soldier even tried to pull Agnes's earrings from her ears.

In March 1944, Agnes, her sister Eva, and her mother were forced to leave their home and live in a sealed-off, overcrowded ghetto along with over 10,000 Jews from the surrounding area. They were forced to leave their possessions, including the family dog, Boombi, behind. They were allowed to move in with her mother's parents, whose apartment was in the ghetto area. Agnes and Eva cried for their big white dog and could not understand why they were not allowed to bring him with them.

On May 23, 1944, the Lebovics family was forced into sealed, overcrowded cattle cars. They had no food, water or sanitary facilities, and they did not know where they were going. After three days and two nights, the train arrived at the Auschwitz death camp. The women were sent to stand in line. Agnes and Eva held their mother's hand. A Polish "kapo" came over to Agnes's mother and told her that if she wanted her children to live, she should give them to their grandmother and say that they were not hers. She would then go to another line of people chosen to work. By working, Agnes's mother would be able to provide her children with food. Mrs. Lebovics called over to her father, who stood in another line with the men, and asked him what to do. Her father told her to give the children to her mother, and move into the other line. When Agnes and Eva cried out for her and called her name, she returned to them, but was beaten back into line by a German soldier. Five year-old Agnes, her sister, her grandmother and great-grandmother were taken straight to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

In This Section

Buy Tickets Contact Us Simon Wiesenthal Center

Become a Member Volunteer Calendar

Sign up for E-News