Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Olga Adler - July 26, 1982

Life in Budapest

Were you known that you were a Jew? Was it known that you were a Jew in Budapest?

Yes, I was uh, my own name. As I say, there was no problem


when I went to Budapest, but just that you had to go, in Budapest you couldn't move from one place to the other. You had to go to the authorities, you had to take out papers and you had to have, have uh, tickets for, for food and stamps for food because you just, could get maybe a pound of meat or a pound of bread. You couldn't get lost. They knew from the moment that you are a Jew all over. In one moment they could find you if you came from there because you had to go right away when you arrive to the police station and take out papers and sign it and whatever. But it was nothing. We were used to, in Europe this kind of life we're used to, but no problem as a Jew. As I say, I worked as a Jewish girl, the second salon where I worked this couture Parisian was not Jewish. They hired me as a Jewish girl; they knew I was a Jewish girl. They are very nice to me. And uh, and then the Germans came in. And when the Germans came in, I got very scared. My mother wrote me cards and letters and I wrote my mot... to my mother. And my mother wrote to me that you should right away get your things and pack your things and come home. And I tried, and the po... and the station they already... You, at the first, the next day when the Germans came in, came uh, thing, we had to wear a yellow star.

You wore a yellow star?

Oh yes, but just when the Germans came in. Not while I was in Hungary for two years. As I say, no problem as a Jew. I did everything what the Gentile girls did. I am sure that there was anti-Semitism there, but I did my job, I did my work. I went out to a nightclub with a young man or something, I didn't encounter any kind of, as I say, the three lovely ladies who owned that, this couture Parisian were not, non-Jewish and I were Jewish and there was no, never, you know. As a matter of fact uh, after the war you uh, they kept me for a, quite a long while working there with a yellow star. But then came a law that you had to let every Jew go. The Jews could not work anymore. This I don't remember. Took two months or three months or, I don't remember that. But they, but things uh, became worse everyday. Every day different kind of orders and different kind of things came in. One day the order came that, as I say, that you couldn't work anymore as a Jew and I was standing... I couldn't go home because you had to have papers. If you didn't have Gentile papers at the station, they took you away right away to concentration camps. So, there was no way for me to go home. And I was alone in Budapest. I didn't have a job anymore. And I don't remember how I lived, money-wise. I don't remember.

Or food, yeah.

Or food. I don't remember. This, that's why I say, because these two boys will have a lot to do with my... So, and the two boys still were, still were very friendly. One day, while I was still working at that, this couture Parisian and I, as I say, I worked a few months there yet after the Germans came in, they kept me as they said, that the lady said, "Olga, as long as we can keep you, we are going to keep you. The yellow star doesn't make anything, any difference to us." I get a frantic telephone call from this fellow, this young man that...

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