Elizabeta Fürst was born in 1928 as a daughter of the Lendava inn-keeper Aladar Deutsch. The Deutsch family was a bourgeois family: "We lived well," recalls Elizabeta Fürst, "but we were not wealthy." After her mother died in 1937, the nine-year old Elizabeta stayed alone with her father while her two-year old sister Judita was sent to her grand-mother in Hungary, to Zalaegerszeg. The Hungarian occupation of Prekmurje in 1941 led to a confiscation of her father's inn as well as the bowling next to it and therefore deprived the family of its only source of income. "A Jew could not own an inn in town." In 1943, Elizabeta completed her lower gymnasium, but was not accepted to the gymnasium because of the numerous clausus for Jews that was already in place by then. "My father did not want me to learn to become a dressmaker. I would have liked to, but he did not want me to. So, I stayed at home for a year." The Jews of Lendava were forced to wear the yellow Star of David from 1 April 1944 onwards. "After this date", recalls Elizabeta Fürst, "my friends, with one exception, did not want to walk with me in the street anymore." Otherprohibitions were also introduced at that time, for example, Jews were not allowed to bath in the municipal swimming pool any longer.
On 26 April 1944 at around 9 am, Hungarian gendarmes came to the house of the Deutsch family and informed them that they had to come to the synagogue with only the essential luggage. The following morning, Elizabeta Fürst and all the Jews from Lendava were deported first to Èakovec and then to Nagykanizsa where they were put up in the local school building. From there on, the Germans deported people between the ages of 17 and 60 to Auschwitz, including Elizabeta's father Aladar Deutsch. "He was deported with the first transport and gassed immediately. I know this for sure because nobody ever saw him in the lager." Elizabeta and Judita Deutsch, as well as their aunt and uncle from Èren¹ovci stayed in Nagykanizsa for three more weeks. They arrived to Auschwitz on 21 May 1944 after having travelled for three days. Elizabeta Fürst thus described the journey: "It was horrible. Seventy-five people in one cattle train car, without water, food or anything." Dr. Mengele separated the two sisters immediately upon their arrival. "'You go there and you there,' he said. I knew that Judit would not survive."
Hannah Starman (email@example.com)