Moisei Katz grew up with six siblings. His father was a coachman for wood transportation. He attended heder until the age of thirteen. After his father was "drafted" as forced laborer in the Hungarian army, he continued his father's work as coachman. In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from the Iza ghetto. He was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp by the American army in 1945 and returned to Koshelovo, via Prague and Budapest. He moved to Khust in 1954 and worked in his profession as chauffeur.
Other Interviews:On the Way Home
Saving the Synagogue in Khust
Leaving For Home
Arrival in Prague
After the liberation from Nazi concentration camps and ghettos in 1945, many Jewish survivors decided to go back to towns and villages they grew up in. The need and longing to go home endured the dire circumstances and length of such a return journey, not to mention the weak physical conditions the survivors were in.
In the immediate postwar months of 1945: More than 10,000,000 displaced persons voyaged home with as many as 10,500 people a day. A large fraction of displaced persons traveled to Eastern Europe.
As a result, returnees had to endure the chaotic conditions of traveling on the roofs of packed wagons, in trains without a schedule. Another memory is also present: Red Army soldiers at stations, in trains, and at borders. Jewish returnees went through different, what can be called stations on their way home, passing through cities like Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and sometimes Bucharest, on a long term quest to find loved ones.
Although oftentimes Jewish returnees would find a close family member, relative, friend or acquaintance in one of these stations, the urge to return home to find out what happened to the place where they came from outlived in many cases the initial comfort they felt being taken care of among their own in resurgent Eastern Jewish communities. This clip shows a snippet of Katz's experience on his journey home.