Rashka Schwimmer

Born 1929 - Kirajhaza, Czechoslovakia

Rashka Schwimmer, the daughter of Ephraim and Miriam Schwimmer, lived in a small town in rural Czechoslovakia. Her father, a grocer, had studied in the town's Jewish seminary. Rashka was a ten year-old schoolgirl when the Hungarians annexed the area. Various anti-Jewish measures that were passed by the Hungarian government caused economic hardship. In addition, many of the Jewish citizens were conscripted into forced labor and were subjected to inhumane treatment. Rashka, her little sister Edith, and her parents coped with the restrictions, and life went on.

In March 1944, when Rashka was fifteen years old, the Germans invaded Hungary, setting into motion a plan to destroy the country's entire Jewish population.

Beginning in April, Jews were required to register in order to receive food rations. They were then forced to wear the yellow star. On the first day of Passover, Rashka and her family were forced to leave their home without notice and to move into a sealed-off ghetto in the nearby city of Nagyzsollos. All the Jews of the city and of the towns in the surrounding area were concentrated into four streets. The ghetto was terribly crowded with 12,000 to 14,000 people. It lacked adequate food, medication, and sanitation. There was much suffering, and many of these people died.

Towards the end of May, Rashka and her family, along with the other Jews in the ghetto, were forced into crowded, locked cattle cars and transported to the Auschwitz death camp.

After an agonizing journey of several days, with little food or water, the prisoners arrived. Rashka and her family were immediately sent to the gas chambers where they were murdered. Rashka was fifteen years old.

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