Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Simms, Elizabeth (3 of 5) Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews

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  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Camp experiences

  • Recording date

    2005-11-26, 2005-12-21, 2006-01-11

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Simms, Elizabeth, 1922- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Feather, Jill (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: Recapped on some of the information which had been given last time – details of camp – what sort of people - how they lived – their accommodation. Talked about air raids. Spent six months in that camp. Talked more about her father, how he was taken – it was a mistake. Three weeks of freedom, then taken again. It was a shock because they thought there was going to be peace but then it all changed and Horthy was taken – he had tried to save Jews in Budapest but it was impossible. (15th October) by the 23rd woman had to appear and marched around Budapest and the area. Made the comment that some of their captors were small time criminals who had nothing against Jews but were just doing it as a job and getting paid. Two weeks of forced labour – she escaped from there when she realised how easily she could be shot. Just stepped out of line, she thinks quite a few of them did that. Talked again about getting Swiss passport which enabled them to live in a Swiss protected house; their days when they were there. Only stayed there for about two weeks. Talked about her father, how he died. Died 1st December 1944. Died in his sleep. Found out four days that he had died. Mother kept it secret because it was dangerous for people to go to cemeteries as they were constantly attacked there. Remembers looking in the mirror and seeing a face which looked a lot older than she looks now and she was 22 at the time. On the run and in hiding from about 4th December until sometime in January. Talked about The Arrow Cross – how they were found – the Arrow Cross came straight into the house where they were in hiding and opened a cupboard and found them Her mother’s brother had given them away – she thinks he was probably threatened by them – they were just common criminals. During this time they were unable to move around quite freely as no one knew she was Jewish. Woman were being raped but her mother managed to hide her, but even old women were being raped. Moved away and found a bit more security but everything had been taken by the Russians, nothing to eat. Felt as if it was going to last for ever, they had no food. Still in January – worst winter in her life. Mother by this time was in a very bad condition – she could hardly walk. People killed for bread – there was nothing to eat. Told the story of how Annie died – that was her old nurse. At a later stage her mother was able to send a telegram to her son (Elizabeth’s brother) who was in England to say that she and Elizabeth had survived. They managed to get visiting papers in 1947 to get to England. Joined her brother in England – he had to sign papers as they had nothing. They managed to get a flat. Elizabeth got out on the grounds that she was a student. They flew by plane to Prague, another flight to London (Dutch airflight) to Croydon.

  • Related images

    'I Got Away' Poem by Elizabeth Simms

  • Related links

    Voices of the Holocaust - link to learning materials based on the moving stories of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on the British Library Website

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