The escape of Medzilaborce (district), Slovakia citizens to Switzerland on charcoal trains #hungary



My father's mother's family WEISBERGER and WEIL, and possibly GROSZMAN,
are >from Mikova and Mala Polana and they also lived in Medzilborce. My
great-grandmother and a great uncle and his family were deported to
Poland and murdered. Several siblings of my grandmother made US Aliyah
well before the Shoah an she and a brother and their families, including
my EDELMAN father, left Slovakia in 1946.

I am just finishing the very interesting English-translation "The
Holocaust in Slovakia: The Story of Jews the Jews of Medzilaborce
District" (original: "Zidovska komunita v okrese Medzilaborce v rokoch
1938-1945" by Jan Hlavnika. I learnt that a small number of people,
perhaps just over a dozen, escaped to Switzerland in 1942 by hiding on
charcoal trains.

In addition to the survival of these people, what's also compelling for
me is that these irregular trains* were a tool for liberation instead of
deportation, and also that many non-Jewish citizens helped.

I would love some help finding the following people or their
descendants. More difficult I suppose - because they are anonymous - I
would like to find out the names and descendants of the people who helped.

At a minimum I would like to learn more about Medzilaborce and even my
family, but my longer-term goal is establish a memorial in Medzilaborce
focused not just on the survivors and their saviours, but the larger
(and going forward idea) project of encouraging people to make a
positive difference in the future.

I will probably find some of the following people via other sources
fairly soon, but contacting them and getting a reply will take time, so
perhaps someone in this forum has some ideas to speed things up. Indeed
the author might be related to some of these persons or at least have
notes >from his research. Some of the names comes >from Yad Vashem
testimonies, so hopefully can find more there.

I know that there was also a gathering of survivors of the descendants
in 2008, and I have already written to Meyer Denn via Facebook who
posted the following at the time. (If someone has an email address for
him, it would be much appreciated).
Gathering notice:
Original url:

* Rather than scheduled passenger services which people bought tickets
for when they were able to safely and legally emigrate


The temporary escapees and survivors include (names taken >from book):

Two brothers:
BALBIRER (male, caught on same train with WILLNER, Chana, below. Fate
BALBIRER (male, caught on same train WILLNER, Chana, below. Fate unknown)

GRUNFELD, Eugen (>from Humenne)
HERSKOVIC, Hermann (>from Sterkovce)

MENDLOVIC, Leopold (brother of Lea ROCHLITZ, below)
MENDLOVIC, Nandor (brother of Lea ROCHLITZ, below)

REICH, Hugo (Chajim)

ROCHLITZ, Josef (father)
ROCHLITZ, Lea (wife)
ROCHLITZ, Hella (daughter, d.o.b. c.1932)

RUBIN, Miriam (daugher of RUBIN, Zsigmund)

RUDER, Henrich
RUDER, Moses
RUDER, Sarlota (Tsirna)

SCHWARZ, Alexander
SCHWARZ, Leopold
STERN, Jozef (caught on same train with WILLNER, Chana, below. Fate unknown)
TRENK, Samuel
WILLNER, Chana (>from Wzdow, Poland -- she was caught by Germans but
presumably survived deportation as she later provided testimony)


Todd Edelman
(near Los Angeles)

Join to automatically receive all group messages.