Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Daniel Szabo
SZABO: First, the smuggler was caught and somehow got out. We had to hide by the roadside while smuggler found a car for us. We were hiding beside the highway, seeing the Russian soldiers in trucks going towards Vienna. We were hiding in the bushes on the side of the road, bitten by mosquitoes. And my sister and I both said, “Well, let's just give ourselves up and go back to Hungary.” My mother said, “No.” So the smuggler and a taxi driver finally came, and somehow we had to go past a Russian checkpoint. We were in the Russian sector of Austria at the time. We had to cross into the American zone. The Russian soldier looked in and nothing happened. I don't know why. But then we were free, once we were in the American sector. We went to the Rothchild Hospital, which was a refugee center, run by tough Polish Jews.
Q: What happened there?
SZABO: My mother was able to go to the U.S. fairly soon thereafter, as a dependent of an American.
Q: To go to America?
SZABO: Right. And six months later we were able to get our visas as her dependents. In the meantime I was there, and it was very interesting. People at the refugee camp had been waiting for years, since 1945, to go somewhere. I remember this old man sitting on his bed. Most of us slept because there was nothing to do, just waiting. Outside the hospital, was the black market, you could buy anything you could conceive - false passports, American cigarettes, watches smuggled from Switzerland. So this man (I'm just mentioning it because it's so vivid in my mind) sitting on this bed showed me numbers tattooed on his arm and a piece of soap made of Jews. He was in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Q: He had a tattoo.
SZABO: Yes, and he showed me this piece of soap, and told me about it. Which didn't mean anything. I mean it was so horrible, so inconceivable.
And on Sundays I went to the Hofburg, the Royal quarters. Do you know it?
Q: No, I don't.