Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983


Um, so can you mention any anti-Semitic remarks that you might have heard?

Yeah, sure. We were, my son was not heavy, but wasn't very skinny and he's now called Joseph. And we were sitting on, on the porch and neighbors used to come in and talk, gossip. And we were sitting, one of the women said, “Joseph, you have nice heavy legs”—because they were taught in Hungary, boys until fourteen they wear...

Short pants. JB: no slacks, only shorts. “Joseph, you have such nice heavy legs, if you were a Jew, they will make so... would make soap out of you.” And she laughed and we laughed too. I can't even believe that. And I remember...

She said that? That's incredible.

Incredible, incred... And nobody told us what to do. We didn't rehearse. We just did, on the instant. And another time it was that the German were—the American and Russian were getting closer and they were afraid because they were uh, they were for Germany these people and...

These, the people you lived with loved Germany?

Yeah. They, they wanted... The America and Russians were their, their enemy. And we were sitting... They had a lot of, lot of uh, air raids already and they were flying above us and American fly... airplanes are coming. And my son was so happy. For us it meant freedom and for them it meant the enemy. And he smiled and I begged him please, don't smile, they will find out that we are happy. If we are happy that the, the Americans are coming that we are their enemy. Do you understand what I mean?


And it was difficult. Sometimes it happened, very seldom. But he was so happy seeing the American fighter he couldn't resist himself. So ask questions. It's better if you ask because I just speak like...

No, it's very interesting so far. So, and you were there for several months.

Well, several months, I remember, which I never mentioned. These are events which it's difficult to put down, for example, I was, I was sleeping one ni...one morning, she came in—the name of that woman was ???, not important really—she came in and she said, Bözsi. This was not my name. She wanted to wake me up and whispered, whispered my name on which name I lived, but it wasn't my real name, do you understand that?

Oh yes, and you didn't wake...

And I didn't wake up so easily because I, ??? and somehow opened my eyes and heard and she was standing there calling Bözsi. The reason that she wanted to take me to the market, there were chickens uh, selling, there were chicken in the market, you can get chicken. So, but it was very difficult to, to wake up whispering somebody else's name.


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