Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Marton Adler - July 13, 1989

Hungarian Occupation

The Hungarians came into Volové in 1938?

No, I think in my, either `38 or `39. `38 I believe.

Do you remember what that was like?

I remember vaguely we were in school, and I know the flags changed. I know their flag was like three rows, red, white and green I believe and the Czech flag was like with a triangle and I remember where the Jewish people dressed in their best to greet these Hungarians because originally the older people were under Hungarian rule because this Volové was at one time Austria/Hungary and they all had fond memories of Franz Josef, what a kind man he was and how just he was and how non anti-Semitic he was towards the Jews because they talked about pogroms and these pogroms happened with Cossacks with the Ukrainians so these people thought now the Hungarians will be here everything will be back the way it was before World War I. I mean this is all remembering as a child.

You started to, did you speak Hungarian in school?

No. No. No, I didn't know one word of Hungarian, my parents spoke it, if they wanted to say something to each other for me not to understand, maybe they spoke a few Hungarian words.

What did you speak at home?

Jewish. Yiddish. This is my best language still today even. If I want to do something, think harder, but maybe I know more words in English today then Jewish but to speak without an accent I speak Yiddish.

When did you start to, you and your family, start to experience some of these changes? Was the business taken away? Was the store taken away?

Well, the first changes I as a child experienced is when Czechoslovakia was taken by the Germans supposedly the Czech governments gonna fight the Germans and they mobilized and my father was taken, and all the men into the Czech army. And that lasted something like a week. But then I remember that, as a child, `38, how old was I then, nine years old, this I remember distinctly, my father had a beard, he had to shave it off, I mean not because of anti-Semitic rules or anything it's just to be a soldier again. And he put on a uniform and I remember each soldier that I seen I look close, maybe that's my father because I remember them in civilian clothes and now see them when he went off in this uniform, but then he came back and I understand reading now what I've read that Czechoslovakia capitulated and it was no longer a country. So what did you ask me?

Was the store then taken?

Oh, oh, I explain, yeah. Ok. At that time, yeah we had the store.

Was it taken within a year?

No. No. No. The Jewish law started in 41 for some reason, I don't know why. When the Hungarians came in, when they first came in, maybe they didn't show sympathy or love but there was no any harsh rules. But in `41 that's when they called it Zsidótörvény. That's in Hungarian, means Jewish laws. They made Jewish laws. Jews couldn't be in the army, only in labor battalions. A Jew couldn't own property. If he owned, if he had a tenant, a non-Jew, he didn't have to, the non-Jew didn't have to pay rent, if he had no place to move, if he wanted to pay on his own, wanted to be a nice guy which we experienced that um, they made a lot of Jewish laws. And in `41, another law they made, that if a person wasn't born there, lineage didn't go back let's say two or three generations, they had to be deported. And a lot of people were deported at a time, taken across the border and they were massacred there. They were shot and massacred.

Tell me about that. You heard about this?

Well, it's not only that I heard about it because we seen it. Because they ordered, when I say they, they ordered the whole town, everybody you take so much, so much luggage with you or baggage or whatever you call it and you had to report to the police station. That was the rule. And from there with trucks they took them across the border and we were scheduled to do that too but at the last minute so how or other, someone interceded, the women that the men were in labor battalions, those women and children they let go and maybe they interceded for somebody else. But about half of the town were taken across, these homes were boarded up, we never heard from them again. But the rumor, because the took them to Poland, across the border. And Poland at that time was occupied by the Germans. So, we knew that they weren't taken to some resort or whatever and again in `41 I was only twelve so all this I know from hearsay plus reading about it after the war.

Did you know where they were taken? Do you have a name of a place?

Yeah. They were taken to a region near ah its called Lamboray [Kamenetz-Podolsk], called Lvov in Polish and there were sometimes near Dniester River. [They were either shot, drowned or both.] And over there from other witnesses because these labor battalions were also there. And the labor battalions wore civilian clothes with a yellow arm band and they were really uh they were attached to the army. They were like an auxiliary of the army if that's what you want to call them. So these people maybe after they came back on furlough or they released them, these labor battalions, they would tell of the horror stories, of what happened there. What they did, say they went as far as Kiev as the Germans advanced at a time where they're almost close to Moscow, all these labor battalions followed the army or were advance of the army, mine sweeping all the real hard, hard work. They could have been shot or killed at random but they kept them so they could use that as these laborers.

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