Karl Stojka on Auschwitz

Karl Stojka was born to a Roma family on April 20, 1931 in Wampersdorf, Lower Austria. His parents Maria Stojka and Karl Horvath travelled as horse traders with their kids in a trailer. Karl had three sisters, Katharina, Margareta, Amalia, and two brothers, Johann and Josef.

In 1938, the Nazis forced the family Stojka to settle in Vienna. Like his older siblings, Karl went to school until his father was arrested in 1940. From this point on, the anti-Sinti and Roma measures persisted, and in 1943, Karl, his mother and his five siblings were arrested and deported to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau extermination camp. They were housed in the barracks of the Zigeunerlager (German: "Gypsy camp")—part of Birkenau designated for Roma and Sinti prisoners. Karl was forced to work in the quarry and in the canteen, where he was able to steal food for himself and his family. In 1944, he and his brother Johann were transported to the Buchenwald concentration camp and later transferred to the Flossenbürg concentration camp. During the evacuation of Flossenbürg in April 1945, thousands of the camp inmates, including Karl and Johann, were forced to march towards Dachau. The two brothers were able to flee during the death march.

After his liberation on April 24, 1945 by American troops, Karl Stojka was living as an artist in the United States of America and in Austria. The interview was conducted in Vienna, Austria on April 15, 1998. The interviewer: Eva Ribarits, the cameraman: Oskar Goldberger.

Language: German