Cover image for Nine suitcases : a memoir
Title:
Nine suitcases : a memoir
Author:
Zsolt, Béla, 1895-1949.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Kilenc koffer. English
Publication Information:
New York : Schocken Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
x, 324 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780805242041
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A compelling memoir of the Holocaust, never before published in English, recalls the author's harrowing experiences in the ghetto and as a forced laborer in the Ukraine, furnishing a shocking study of fascism in Hungary and the depths to which humans--victims and perpetrators alike--can go in extrem


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author, a Jew, was born in northern Hungary in 1895 and moved to Budapest in 1920. During the next two decades, Zsolt became one of Hungary's most prolific writers, producing 10 novels and four plays. A sophisticated bohemian, he spent much of his life in the fashionable coffee houses among writers, artists, and intellectuals, conducting political and cultural campaigns. In 1942 he was sent to the Ukraine, but his influential friends in Budapest succeeded in bringing him home in 1943, where he was thrown into a notorious political prison and detained there for four months. In 1944 Zsolt and his wife escaped from a Hungarian ghetto, went underground, and eventually found a safe haven in Switzerland. They returned to Hungary in 1945. His mother, brothers, and sisters; his wife's parents; and her 13-year-old daughter by her first husband were murdered in Auschwitz. Nine Suitcases was originally published in weekly installments in 1946 and 1947 in a Hungarian journal; in 1980, the compilation was published as a book. Concentrating mainly on his experiences as an inmate of the ghetto of Nagyvarad and as a forced laborer in the Ukraine, the author provides not only a rare and perceptive insight into Hungarian fascism but also a horrifying exposure of the depths of the cruelty, indifference, cowardice, and betrayal of which human beings are capable. These horrors, interspersed with moments of grotesque farce, paint a nightmarish picture of a world without hope during the Holocaust--an important book, to be sure. --George Cohen Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Hungarian Jewish novelist and journalist Zsolt (who died in 1949) experienced more than his share of suffering, as documented in this Holocaust memoir published in English for the first time (it originally appeared in serial form in 1946 in a magazine Zsolt founded). Born in 1895, Zsolt was well known in intellectual circles during the 1920s and '30s as a liberal political journalist. This book highlights his years in Ukraine as a forced laborer for the Hungarian army, the months he spent in a ghetto in Nagyv rad awaiting deportation to Auschwitz and his escape from the ghetto in the spring of 1944 (he eventually made it to Switzerland with his wife). As one of the first Holocaust memoirs, this piercing account displays a raw freshness that is as vivid as it is horrifying. It lacks the genre's usual displays of hope and strength, focusing instead on humanity's basest instincts, as expressed by the brutal Hungarian gendarmes and by their Jewish victims as well. Noting his inability to write of the horrors he experienced, Szolt reports, "I resisted my own experiences with elementary force, like a man who tries to overcome a malignant tumor that pokes conspicuously through his skin by not looking...." Clearly, Szolt's writing capacity returned with a vengeance after the war; his powerful, poignant honesty shows little mercy to his readers' sensibilities. (Nov. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Prior to the Holocaust, Zsolt was a well-known figure in the Hungarian literary scene. Deported with his family to Bergen-Belsen, he was saved from Auschwitz by Rezso Kastner's scheme to exchange Hungarian Jews with the Nazis for hard currency and goods. Although Zsolt's experiences in the Hungarian ghettos, and later in the German concentration camp, would be familiar to any student of the Holocaust, his exposition of the social and emotional breakdown of the Jewish community, and within his own family, makes for gripping reading. Similarly, his description of Hungarian fascists provides a powerful indictment of human behavior during the war. Although this memoir was serialized in a Hungarian journal in the immediate postwar era (1946-47), making it one of the first Holocaust memoirs ever published, the translator's claim that it is one of the most important is debatable as it has remained virtually unknown until today, never translated into a more accessible language. One hopes that its publication will rescue Zsolt from obscurity. Recommended for Judaica and specialized collections.-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

So, here I am, lying on my mattress in the middle of the synagogue at the foot of the Ark of the Covenant. The light that consultant Németi inked hospital-blue the day before yesterday flickers. Outside, foreign aircraft are flying over the town, but this doesn't bother us. The star, our stigma, excludes us not only from life's amenities but also from its fears. We aren't afraid of air raids, or any other kinds of death. The dead are lying here next to me: on the mattresses to my right and left there are diabetics in a coma, angina patients, uraemics, people with galloping TB who haven't been looked after during the last few weeks, and suicides who are being brought in on stretchers day and night, generally in pairs, mostly couples, including doctors who had poison at hand and knew the exact doses. Next to the terrible WC there is a laundry turned into a morgue, but by yesterday half a dozen legs, naked and waxen, were hanging out of the half-open door. The gendarmes allow no funerals. 'They'll all be taken care of together,' the gendarmerie colonel says with icy humour, and the bodies continue to pile up. At the top of the pile, as high as the ceiling, are the naked bodies of two children. That is why nine dead men and women have been left in the synagogue, decomposing in the stifling heat. My neighbour on the next mattress, Uncle Niszel, the old leather merchant, went with great difficulty--at home in normal circumstances, according to his doctor, he would have had the 'beautiful death' his heart disease had been promising him for years--falling peacefully off his chair, surrounded by his family. Here, in the synagogue of the wonder-rabbi of Wisznice, which is now the ghetto hospital, weighed down by his ordeals, he kept puffing for a day and a half, with his mouth open, rhythmically, like the small steam engine at the timber yard. The whole ward was bored with the poor devil, the amateur nurses shook their heads in disapproval, and three impatient patients, who were after his mattress near the Ark of the Covenant and closer to the window, inspected him every quarter of an hour, interrogating the dazed doctor in his white coat as to how much time the old boy had left. Finally he died at about ten o'clock, but wasn't carried out, because there was no room in the morgue. Even so, the three patients, in their pants and vests, who had hoped to grab his mattress, fell out over the succession, although they eventually contented themselves with sharing out the old man's possessions--his felt slippers, brown blanket and personal bedpan--and slunk away in the blue darkness, each with his booty. The nurses fluttered ineffectually, before huddling together again in the corner. They were middle-class girls from good families, who hadn't been trained for the work but had fought to get it, because those who sported a nurse's bonnet were able to move freely in the ghetto. The other girls, in groups of sixteen, were stuck in dirty, unfamiliar rooms, where they weren't even allowed to go near the window and every gendarme was entitled to use his weapons against them. Here, in the wonder-rabbi's two-storey synagogue with its large courtyard, the ghetto was freer and more cheerful. On the mattresses unwashed patients lying in their own filth puffed, panted, moaned, prayed and swore, and during the first two days caused a lot of trouble: they needed to be washed, to be given bedpans and enemas, to have their temperature taken and to be fitted with compresses. During the first two days the doctors too fought with all their strength: they administered injections, flushed out the stomachs of suicides, carried out operations and, on the top floor, even carefully delivered babies. Then the rumour spread that the ghetto would be deported. Thirty cattle wagons were shunted on to the industrial siding that cut across the enclosed part of the town. Now the doctors faltered, became absent-minded, dropped out from time to time, went back to their relatives several times a day, clearly in order to discuss whether it wouldn't be better to exterminate all of them. The nurses, for their part, disappeared or sat down on the long bench near the morgue. They were clean, well dressed, with nice hairstyles, and men gathered around them as they had on the promenade. The conversation was entertaining, as it had been in the world outside, but more outspoken, because after two days here the girls overacted the part of the liberated and experienced professional who is familiar with every dirty secret of the human body. So, when the contenders for Uncle Niszel's mattress pillaged his body in the dark, the girls fluttered and huddled. Then one of them--a tall, blonde, pretty girl of about twenty with a slight squint--separated from the group and set out unsteadily towards the Ark of the Covenant. She stopped and squatted down at the edge of my mattress. 'Mr Hirschler,' she whispered, 'that friendly gendarme was here just now. He said that from tomorrow they'll be beating people up to make them admit where they've hidden their jewellery. They'll do it in alphabetical order, and my father's name starts with B.' 'Have you hidden anything?' 'Yes. My father has high blood pressure. He wouldn't be able to bear a single blow.' 'Then it might be wiser to tell, so they don't hurt him.' 'But they'll beat him all the same.' 'Well, then . . .' 'The gendarme says', she whispered, bending close to my ear, 'that if I go to bed with him he'll save Daddy. I know your real name, Mr Hirschler. I've read things you've written . . . You could advise me.' I wouldn't have felt particularly guilty in this situation, in this hell, this synagogue of the wonder-rabbi, if I had advised the girl to give in to the gendarme. So many things had been lost since 19 March.* There are really no bogus, high-flown sentiments left in me. I'm saying this as one who has lost not only all his belongings, but something very important, something vital: above all else, I have lost my homeland. This homeland has always meant more to me than to most people around me: it exercised me feverishly when I was writing, speaking or dreaming, and there were years, particularly the years of my youth, when, for example, I hardly took notice of love because of it. That was the time when after the failure of two revolutions,* for nearly a decade I waited for my political ideas to prevail, for my exiled role models and friends to return and save my homeland from the crooks and bunglers. Yes, I waited for nearly ten years, in which I had no lover. And when I had tired of waiting and almost renounced the game for the duration of my life, I married, clutching at privacy as a shipwrecked man clutches at a plank that might help him reach some shore--although I must admit I had no illusions about the shore. But, for all my conscious efforts to abandon 'my crazy ideas and whims', I was time and again dragged out of my private idyll, which had soon staled, by my social passion: the most simple-minded reason for hope was enough to make me forget where I lived and where a person living with me was waiting with my dinner. A few months after my divorce from my first wife we tried to trace the events leading up to our slow, bitter drift apart. 'What started the trouble', she said, 'was that I was all of eighteen years old and married for six weeks when you woke up one morning and said "Bethlen!" instead of noticing--with the March sun shining on our bed--that it was the first day of spring.' Indeed, I hated Bethlen† with a personal passion, because with his determination, ruthlessness and stubbornness he was gradually destroying all hope of the return of the revolution. I had experienced the collapse of my ideas and my homeland too early, when I was hardly eighteen, and it wasn't only my political, social and philosophical illusions that collapsed, but almost everything else. This collapse has remained the sharpest break in my life to this day. It extinguished what had been burning in me with even hotter and brighter flames than the social passion--the lyrical and the aesthetic. And it nearly turned me into a nervous and physical wreck: it caused painful disturbances in my sex life, and many years of insomnia, lack of appetite, many types of self-flagellation and waste of energy, which drove me close to a state of frenzy. I spat blood, ran a fever--Sándor Bródy* said that I wouldn't last till the spring--and sat in cafés till dawn, hating and hoping. I know that this gnawing political grief contained many different things, for instance bitterness over the collapse of my personal ambitions, but whatever the case, by the time I was twenty my youth had gone. Over the next few years, time and nature numbed and even healed many wounds, but I never again knew what it was like to be really well. Whatever I ate or drank left a bad taste, and whenever I wasn't fully absorbed by the hatred or enthusiasm of the political and related intellectual battle I felt that I was committing an infidelity. Even while making love I felt guilty about squandering something that should have been reserved for my one and only important passion. At the same time I almost began to worship men older than myself whom I believed to have purer and more faithful passions than I did. For a long time I refused to accept, even when I experienced it face to face, that many of them, despite their patriotic sorrow, were seeking a separate peace and, being corrupted by clever compromises, were slowly slipping across to the other side. Yes, it was Bethlen who gradually decimated the 'inner emigration', in which we had lived in heroic sterility till the death of Lajos Purjesz.† People would cross over and, with some traces of pride left, invent an ideology for their treason. Fühlung mit dem Feinde--direct contact with the enemy--had to be maintained. They did maintain it, making money and carving out successful careers in the process, by publishing a newspaper that served Bethlen under the pretext of being in oppostition to him--while a few of us were left behind on our own, and even among us the majority only used our political salon des refusés as an alibi for laziness, tiredness and lack of talent to forge ahead elsewhere. Never had an idol made of ice been able to arouse more fiery feelings of attraction in coldly calculating usurers, big industrialists, lawyers with large offices, and cynical careerists, than Bethlen. And there could hardly be a society whose so-called elite--both Christians and Jews--could have wallowed in its own paltriness and weakness more lustfully than it did in the shade of Bethlen's pompous arrogance and ruthlessness. I hated him also because I couldn't resign myself to being intellectually and morally helpless against him. I pounced wildly on his speeches, in which lack of logic was masked by acoustic vigour, and aristocratic conceit masqueraded as intellectual superiority and manliness. I dissected and laid bare his contradictions, his reckless immorality and ignorance. It was useless. I didn't convince or change a single mind. Eventually even people who shared my viewpoint began to rebuke me for making a fuss and hurting those whom I couldn't help anyway. I was helpless but didn't budge. Eventually Bethlen became a symbol of all my public and private failures: the rock on which I foundered. This fruitless, childish struggle--which Bethlen for his part also experienced as a struggle, although I discovered this only after his fall--became an obsession. Is it surprising that on that morning I woke up with his name in my mouth, and our bed, with the sunshine on it, couldn't relieve this obsession? Yes, it was my delusion that I had to change the order of the world, the order of my homeland, before I could be happy in my house and in my bed. Bristling with mines, traps and savage thugs, Ours is no world for kisses and hugs. This is what I wrote at the time, because I felt that with every kiss I was obeying a bitter, dangerous coercion. Two So I have lost my homeland--and a lot more--since 19 March. A postcard arrived at the address of an Aryan friend, written by my mother when she was already in the cattle wagon at Komárom station. I don't even want to think this right through: so my mother is no longer at home in the house in Úri Street that she hardly ever left in fifteen years and where I used to drop in, admittedly not very often and not very eagerly, as if I had never gone away. We would always start our conversation in mid-sentence, as if I had just popped out of the room or been called to the phone and we had resumed at the comma. She had been a very beautiful woman, as mothers generally are in their sons' memories, chaste, naive but wise, critical but credulous where I was concerned, with no illusions, except about me. To me she was timelessness and permanence itself, the centre of my emotional map, which had proved more constant than anything or anyone else. I could never imagine that one day I would go home and she wouldn't be in her place, at the centre, that she would no longer be alive. I never tried to torture myself or indulge in a vision of visiting my mother's grave. I had faced my own death several times as a young man in the First World War, and had fervently wished for it on wintry roads during the Second--but my mother, to me, was like Mont Blanc: she would always be there, even when I was gone. Now she would turn seventy-five in the cattle wagon, with her hair as white as Mont Blanc in dull weather. I felt as if the mountains had toppled. And how many more things have been lost! Yet of my so-called human dignity I lost none. When civilised people are devoured by cannibals, it can only hurt physically. Can the bite of a savage's fang cause moral pain? All the while they tortured me as a Jew, giving rein to their envy and loutish greed--first by the laws they had designed to deprive us of our money and our civilised pleasures, the informers and detectives they sent after us, and the loud-mouthed, mechanically rowdy press campaigns they conducted against us; then in Russia with cables and lashes--I was only troubled by the physical and material inconveniences and ill-treatments, but could never be hurt morally or emotionally. Rather, I always suspected that through their venomous, seemingly studied hatred they were trying above all to prove to themselves what they were unable to believe: that they really felt superior to me. I didn't hate them--you can only hate someone you could also love. I was merely sickened by these common criminals, press whores, venal poets and clowns, and butchers' dogs turned wolves. I was repelled by them, I despised them--and, face to face, perhaps revealed too much of my arrogance, like the haughty white man in a topee of the English adventure story for boys, who keeps flaunting his loathing for the blacks, high on their stolen rum, and who excites them to further cruelties through his superiority. And because they noticed my hauteur they often treated me with particular cruelty. But, as I say, their laws, their dirty words and their lashes only hurt my skin and my flesh, and even now that they have dragged me to this ghetto I feel like the doctor in the mental hospital in Poe's short story, who has been put into a straitjacket and locked in a cell by the rioting lunatics. Now they are living in the doctors' quarters, waving the instruments and drugs--transformed into murder weapons and poison in their hands--and cutting up the medical books into sheets of toilet paper. Yet they are not too mad to steal the doctor's money, watch, clothes and whatever else he has . . . Three They have taken everything away from me--these gendarmes with their red faces, their thick cheekbones, their eyes like black buttons, their chins, made to look even more beastly by the tight straps of their helmets. They looted our apartment, gobbled up everything in our kitchen, and slung on to their truck the nine suitcases that held all my possessions, my clothes and my wife's clothes and all the necessities and small luxuries we had collected in our lives: the objects, the fetishes. With these nine suitcases we had arrived in Paris one day before the war, never intending to return to Budapest. In the second month of the war, we brought the nine suitcases back from Paris, or rather--as I will explain later--the nine suitcases brought us back. Then they were put on top of a wardrobe and I never saw them for two years, because I was in Russia, where I had only a knapsack, and in the prison in Margit Boulevard,* where I had only a shoe box for my food. And when I got out of the prison a few weeks ago my wife decided to put everything we had back into the nine suitcases and bring them here to Nagyvárad, to my father-in-law's house, because here they would certainly be in no danger from bombs. We brought the nine suitcases back on 16 March, the Germans arrived on the 19th; then the gendarmes came and took them away. Now I don't even have a shoe box under my mattress--I have nothing. An acquaintance gave me a box of biscuits yesterday, and that's all the luggage I have. Everything I had has become national property. The 'nation' first broke into my father-in-law's small house, which it looted, turned out my pockets like a pickpocket, and finally kicked me with its gendarme boots when, with nothing but the clothes I stood up in, without a penny or a crust, I wasn't quick enough to slip away through the ghetto gate under cover of the large crowd milling there. Before this I had had two personal contacts with robbers and thieves. When I was a young child a cobbler called Buzgó, a professional burglar, looted our home. When a policeman brought him along to confront him with my mother, he wrung his hands and apologised in tears, returning everything he had taken. On another occasion a barber's apprentice called Eszlényi stole my wallet on the tram. Some other people noticed and handed him over to the police. He was doubly unlucky because in my wallet there was nothing but a ticket for a dress rehearsal at the Comedy Theatre. He pulled such a disappointed and desperate face over having risked everything for such a lousy theatre ticket that I begged the policeman to let him go. But the 'nation' wanted everything: the gendarme even pocketed a season ticket to the zoo belonging to my wife's young daughter. It, too, became national property . . . That is what I have lost, among many other things, since 19 March. And now here is this blonde girl with the long legs and the squint, almost touching my nose with her knees, and asking me to advise her whether or not to lose her virginity to the gendarme who is going to save her father from being beaten. What should I say to her, whose fate, by the way, leaves me frighteningly cold? In 1942 out there at Skarzysko in Poland I saw the Feldbordell* with the Jewish girls from Vienna and Bratislava pulling up weeds between the rails in their 'spare time', cheerfully supervised by a gauche German railwayman, and--the first thing that horrified me--laughing lewdly and dementedly. From time to time the railwayman playfully smacked their bottoms with his cane, without hurting them. The girls were still wearing clothes from good department stores and boutiques, albeit frayed and filthy, and half of them had bulging bellies. We were just starting out for forced labour in Russia--with our horror and pity still fresh--and they had been there for a year, corrupted by being assigned to service German soldiers in the red huts as they passed through on leave. Naturally for a voucher issued by the Verpflegungszentralstelle.* When, with horrified gentleness, I addressed one of them, who was called Ilse like a Hanover patrician, she answered in an offhand manner, with crazy laughter, almost in the tone of the streetwalkers on the boulevards. 'Ihr seid Juden?'† she asked contemptuously, barely deigning to speak to us since we were irrelevant to her occupation, and added abruptly: 'You'll kick the bucket, just like us!' Another girl, in the last stages of pregnancy, who was carrying some mouldy bread in a music case, asked us: 'Have you got any German books? I've just finished what I had today. I've got a few days left to read a new one if it isn't too long.--'Why have you only got a few days?'--'Because then I'm going to die. Wait a moment . . .' and she counted on her fingers. 'Seventeen or eighteen days. Then I'll be in labour. Then they're going to take me behind the bushes and bang . . . Dort ist der Hurenfriedhof.‡ That was where they killed and buried the girls, behind the bushes, because they didn't want them to give birth to mongrels, and also simply because they were Jews. The girls didn't mind becoming pregnant: they didn't have the strength to commit suicide and this was the certain death they longed for. Meanwhile they still enjoyed life, even their helpless bodies were forced to enjoy it--and they hated themselves for it. And sometimes they would even sing, if the soldiers made them drunk. They got the novels from the soldiers. The novels were about blonde German women and U-boat sailors. They read them avidly, with the unlucky ones being taken away mid-novel and never knowing what happened next to the blonde and the captain. They would snatch a glance at the very end, however, before being loaded on to the NSKK§ truck that disappeared with them behind the bushes. I saw the same again later in Russia, besides similar and worse things. How am I now supposed to advise this girl on whether or not she should go to bed with the gendarme? Should I make a question of conscience out of it--should I stop her or should I accept responsibility for starting her off towards the Hurenfriedhof? I must admit that if this girl were lying in the morgue, with her long legs hanging out of the half-open door, I would walk past with indifference and apathy. There are friends of mine lying among the bodies, men and women I've known and been friendly with for decades, and I think with cold inertia even of them. Death in this place is a good 'assignment'. The dead aren't driven out at daybreak to work for the SS, they aren't beaten till they hand over their jewellery, and they won't have to set out in the cattle wagons. Sooner or later they will be released from their boarded prison and allowed to stay here in Nagyvárad, in the Rulikovszky cemetery under the old elms or the Velence cemetery with its acacias under the shadow of the Calvary, in the micaceous sand that consumed their ancestors. The gendarmes and the SS don't want to consume the dead, only the living. I wouldn't care in the slightest if this girl were dead. One more dead. And if she asked me whether she should commit suicide I certainly wouldn't advise her against it. But should she go to bed with the gendarme for her father's sake? No, I'm not going to advise her, I'm not going to provide her with any authorisation. She can do what she wants, I won't interfere. Not because of Skarzysko . . . and not because of other things. Perhaps it's the indestructible petty bourgeois in me that is protesting and I take the whole business too seriously even here. Certainly it's pointless for me to regard her virginity as a more complex problem at this moment than her life, for which I wouldn't give a damn. After all, I know, because my friends in London sent me the detailed report from Poland through the messenger from Ankara in 1942--I know that all of us are going to be gassed. 'I can't rule in this matter,' I say coldly. 'This is something you've got to decide for yourself.' She was disappointed and for a while went on trying to coax an opinion from me. I could feel that she was hoping for encouragement rather than disapproval. I even briefly suspected that she didn't simply want to sacrifice herself for her father, but was unconsciously seeking a pretext for allowing something that she had been preparing herself for to happen, at the last moment before the world ended. In other words, she didn't want to die without having done 'it'. But perhaps there was something else. When I was renting a room in Budapest, I knew a girl whose father, a stupid, hellishly honest chemist with a crew cut, was taken to the police station on the unfounded suspicion of smuggling sweeteners. The girl worshipped her father, although he had ruined her youth with his tyrannical honesty and had generally done a lot of harm to the family--for instance, by almost letting them starve for the sake of his antiquated business principles. The children had had to take music lessons, although no member of the family was musical. When the old man was arrested and his bullied wife lugged his bedclothes after him in the pouring autumn rain, the girl didn't jump from the top floor in her despair but gave herself to their lodger, a fake-jewellery dealer with crooked ears, polyps in his nose and a dirty collar, a poor devil whom she hated and who hadn't wanted anything from her but had only come in to comfort her in his clumsy way. 'You'll see, Licike, he'll be back by tomorrow morning,' the lodger kept mumbling and afterwards was most surprised and ashamed at what had happened . . . No, I didn't give the girl any advice and may have been too unsympathetic, because she suddenly got up, smoothed down her skirt, threw her head back and shot off. *On 19 March 1944 the Germans invaded their ally Hungary. *In 1918 and 1919 respectively there was a liberal and a communist revolution in Hungary. †Right-wing prime minister of Hungary from 1921 to 1939. *Prolific novelist, critic and journalist, precursor of modern Hungarian literature (1863-1924). †Lawyer, journalist and editor of several anti-establishment liberal journals (1881-1925). *Notorious political prison in Budapest. *field brothel *Central Supplies Office †Are you Jews? ‡That's where the whores' cemetery is. §Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrzeugkorps = National Socialist Motor Corps Excerpted from Nine Suitcases by Bela Zsolt All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.