Leslie “Les” Aigner, one of three children, was born Ladislav Aigner in 1929 in Nové Zámky, Czechoslovakia. In the early 1940s his family moved to Csepel, Hungary on the outskirts of Budapest in the hope of escaping oppressive Nazi discrimination against Jews. But in 1943, the Nazis forced Les’s father into a slave labor camp and his sixteen-year-old sister was taken to a factory to do forced labor.
Then in 1944, 15-year-old Les, his mother, and his eight-year-old sister were forced into the Budapest Ghetto. From there they were taken to Auschwitz, where his mother and sister were sent directly to the gas chambers. Les spent five months in Auschwitz in late 1944 before being shipped to Landsberg, Germany, a sub camp of Dachau, where he was forced to perform hard labor
Tap the grey bar and listen to Les talk about the last time he saw his mother and sister.
Interviewer: So, I’d like you to describe for me in as much detail, your deportation to Auschwitz.
AIGNER: As I said, we were put into – 75-80 people – to a cattle car, and I described already how we were transported. Arriving to Auschwitz, it was first part of July. I don’t know probably close to ninth or tenth of July, I don’t know the exact date. We were ordered out of the cattle cars and there were these kapos, which some were in the striped suit already, and they were ordering us and separating the older people, woman and children to a group, and the man in one group. I was put into the mans’ group. And we had to line up front of the Dr. Mengele – the chief medical officer in Auschwitz. And he was selecting us right or left and whoever went to the right went to the gas chamber right away. That’s where I saw my mother and my little sister for the last time. My mother turned away and didn’t want to see me going. My little sister waved for me.
Read and listen to Les’ full interview here.