The Lower Camp and the review of 1952
The Lower Camp (Small Camp)
The Lower Camp was east of Recsk on the left of the road to Sirok. One of the main tasks of the internees who were staying there was to reclaim the huge marshland and to construct a building next to the railway along the other side of the road to receive the stones that arrived from the Upper Camp. The number of people working in the Lower Camp was about 160-170.
Formally the prisoners in Recsk were „internees”, which meant that their status should have been reviewed every six months. There was only one review in the second half of 1952 but nobody was set free after that. In August 1952 internments were ordered to quickly build a big barrack and 5-6 smaller tents between the main building and the territory of the internees. They divided the barrack into 18-20 smaller rooms with a narrow corridor in the middle. They put a small table and two chairs into each room. After the building was completed about twenty young State Security detectives and about 5-6 senior State Security investigatory officers arrived from Budapest. They started reviewing internees in the camp.
|The site of the Lower Camp – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Lívia||Recsk village – collection of Livia Gyarmathy|
Health care, washing and nutrition
In the beginning the hospital in Recsk was set up in the stable building. By the spring of 1951 the so-called ‘hospital’ barrack had been built which was very poorly equipped and it functioned mainly as a place of first aid. There were some “instruments” which were made in the camp workshop to enable the doctor to carry out operations. There were two outpatient surgeries in the hospital, a few beds and 12-14 pallets where seriously ill internees could be placed.
“There were two rings made of concrete in the barrack which were filled with water for drinking and washing. Taking a bath in warm water was allowed only once a month.”
(Memoires of Ferenc Madaras)
“Mouldy bread was transported on the same carriage as manure. There was a brigade whose task was to brush the mould off the bread with a scrubbing brush. These pieces were eaten then, nothing got thrown away.”
(Memoires of Géza Böszörményi)
The only meat they saw was the weevils in the peas. Some people stopped at the pigsties on their way to work and scratched the bran the pigs had left over off the troughs.
|The probable site of the camp hospital – photo by Barbara Bank||The site of the camp bath – Today there is only a rusty tap to show the place – photo by Barbara Bank|
|The sites of the barracks – photo by Barbara Bank|