The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma mourn the death of the Jewish Auschwitz survivor Éva Fahidi-Pusztai. With her, one of the last eyewitnesses of the Holocaust has passed away. She considered it her duty to report publicly on what she experienced in Auschwitz. Éva Pusztai-Fahidi, born in 1925 in Debrecen in eastern Hungary, wrote a stirring testimony of the Holocaust in 2011 with the book “The Soul of Things”. In it, she reports on her family history and describes life in Hungary between the two World Wars. Above all, however, she writes about the traumatic memory of her deportation as an 18-year-old to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
On the occasion of the International Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma, Éva Fahidi-Pusztai told the official event at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial on 2 August 2019 about how she herself had witnessed the murder of the last 4,300 Sinti and Roma remaining in camp section B II e of the extermination camp 70 years earlier:
“We in the camp were frozen with fear. Neither does one remain indifferent when 4,300 people in the neighbouring camp are driven to their deaths with such drastic methods, with open fire from flamethrowers. As unexpectedly as this action had begun, calm suddenly returned. And this could hardly be endured. One could hear the loud beating of the hearts of tens of thousands of people in the various camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau. And as often as I remember that horrific night, because I think it’s my duty to talk about it, so that it’s not forgotten.”
Those present at the commemoration can still remember Fahidi-Pusztai’s quiet and fragile voice, which addressed future generations with a message against forgetting that could not be ignored.