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
Arrival in Prague
Leaving For Home
Displaced persons were scattered in different former Nazi forced labor and concentration camps throughout Austria and Germany at liberation. They experienced several camp liquidations and subsequent death marches from one concentration camp to the next. The experience of the following step, after the liberation, was defined by the proceedings of either American, British or Soviet armed forces. Overall, a significant amount of Jewish survivors felt the urge to return to what they knew as home, before making any other life-changing decisions regarding moving and/or emigration.
One of the more noticeable differences between American and Soviet liberators for example, found in the survivors’ narratives, has to do with the degree to which they took care of the former inmates. One can sense an overwhelming positive experience of “American care-taking,” where former prisoners were immediately taken to hospitals or doctor check-ups, nourished back to health with a gradual increase of food intake. Furthermore, the tragic experience of “overeating,” because people’s stomachs, that had been used to starved rations for so long, and could not take the distributed rich food, was a deep-seated memory of this period. Survivors’ memories of the “Russian care-taking” ranges from being nourished back to health in some form or other to receiving no attention at all. The former inmates’ recovery process would often take up to several months until they were in an acceptable condition to face the incredibly arduous journey home.
Another memory concerns the acquisition of food and clothing. According to several accounts, survivors were given permission by the Red Army, and to an extend American army, to (forcefully) take whatever they needed from German homes or former inmates also proceeded without any permission at all. In this clip, Katz talks about his liberation from the Buchenwald concentration camp in Weimar, Germany, by the American armed forces in April 1945.