Here’s an interesting history I ran across in my research. It’s a little bit of situational irony, something that happens to everyone. This woman was able to notice it and find humor in it later in life despite all of the tragedy. This event is juxtaposed with another event that shows how interesting humanity can be. Even though she had just survived months of the most brutal displays of humanity in the concentration camps, she was able to show compassion to her “enemy”.
Györgyné (Zsuzsa) Papp was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1921. Her family was Jewish, but not religiously. She was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Later she was selected to go to a labor camp. She ended up being transferred to several labor camps and ended up in Salzwedel.
One morning she woke up and all of her captors were gone. It was April 1945. The Americans were advancing quickly, so the German soldiers had fled. Zsuzsa and her sister went into the town of Salzwedel to search for food. The town was nearly deserted as well. They went into stores already looted by other prisoners. Then entered homes to find any food they could. In one home they found a loaf of bread on the table. As they went to get it they heard sobs from a woman who told them that was all the food she had left for herself and her four children. Even though they were starving and had been abused and mistreated for months by this woman’s nation, they felt pity on her and left the bread.
Zsuzsa tells how one of the things she was most fearful of while in the concentration camps was cleaning the latrines. They were just too awful for her to contemplate. She felt so fortunate to have escaped the dreaded latrine duty in all her months in the concentration camps. As she was walking around Salzwedel she somehow fell into a ditch used for a latrine and found herself covered in waste.