Yoel Shachar was born as Tomislav Schwarz on 7 July 1931 in Lendava. As a twelve and a half-year old boy he was deported to Auschwitz with his family and other Jews from Lendava on 26 April 1944 when Hungarian gendarmes came to their house and informed them that they need to come to the synagogue with only their hand luggage. They were ordered to leave all jewellery, money, documents and even stamp collections at home, on the kitchen table. "I remember that I was collecting stamps then. I had a small collection of stamps from Yugoslavia, the NDH [pro-Nazi Independent state of Croatia] and some other stamps. I went to my room, brought my albums and put them on the table," recounted Yoel Shachar. His father, Josip Schwarz, who owned a brick factory and a mill, asked the horse-carriage driver to take them to the Lendava synagogue where all the other Jews were gathered. The following day, the Jews from Lendava were deported to Čakovec and then to Nagykanizsha, where they were put up in a school building. The Germans first selected able-bodied men, including Josip Schwarz and took them to labour camps. Tomislav and the other members of his family stayed with the remaining Jews from Lendava. They were deported to Auschwitz in mid-May.
Upon their arrival to Birkenau, a Polish inmate advised Tomislav's mother Rozalija to send her twelve-year old son forward and tell him to tell the Germans that he was sixteen. When asked the question by the infamous Dr. Mengele, Tomislav said he was sixteen and was sent to the working group.
Hannah Starman (firstname.lastname@example.org)