Tamar Benshalom’s missioon to Strasshof

In the first few days of July, 1944, after the departure of train organized by the Relief and Rescue Committee, no news reached Budapest as to its route and whereabouts. In light of the grave fears for the welfare of the train’s passengers, the underground Zionist Youth Resistance Movement (ZYRM) decided to send someone to bring back precise information on the train’s rout and progress. The train’s first stop, according to the plan, was supposed to by the Strasshof camp, near Vienna.

Tamar Benshalom provided this testimony on her mission:

“We went to Vienna, because Strasshof camp was nearby, and the trains passengers were supposed to be there. We arrived at the Gestapo building, with was large and impressive. We went inside, and I told the Gestapo men that I was looking for a Jew who owed me a large sum of money…this was very brazen of me…One of the clerks, in civilian clothing, took me in an open-top car to Strasshof. There he said to me, ‘Go and look now for your Jew, but don’t go into the houses, because there are fleas there.’ That was a very difficult experience for me. I saw horrific sights there…I went in, met with people. I told them to write postcards that I would take back with me. I did not find the group from the train. The Gestapo man took me out of there. He was a very courteous man. On the way back [to Budapest] we traveled by train, with German soldiers, but I had no problems – I speak fluent German.”

That mission did not end with no results. Tamar