Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Passing as a Catholic

So now after these months, after that, what happened? Where did you, what?

So this Margit, was the name of Margit, the woman who originally saved us. She didn't tell anyone, not even to her own husband that, who we were. But someday, a woman is a woman, she couldn't hold it longer, she told it to one of her friends. And then after that she was very sorry and she was very much afraid that something might come out. And not only...

[interruption in interview]

going chronological order.


I guess I go back and forth, just we are talking about, that you can't imagine that you wouldn't sleep. I never sleeped once. Uh, when, but I lived with, with this peasant woman. And I told you that they were rich, and when somebody came to the village, they always give a piece from another village, they visit that, her because she was rich. And one day from the army an officer, he invited and, she invited an officer for a dinner. And at that time...

From the Hungarian army?

The Hungarian army. And, but, but that time it wasn't, more at the peasant uh, they had a guest, the men, the men, men guest, women never sat with them. They served, but they didn't sit with them.

So it was a custom among the peasants...

Yeah, it was a custom, yeah. And uh... Yeah, no, no, no. Yeah, they invited a priest—what did I say, an officer—invited a priest and my son was invited but not me, to the dinner, because uh, I wasn't supposed to be there. And uh, say that you said that you wouldn't slip. And he...

Make a slip.

my son asked me, “Mother what will I say if the priest will ask me questions about the Catholic religion and Bible and I can't answer?” I told him, then you'll get ??? then you will say I have a stomachache and you will leave the table. And soon enough, he asked him where, which part of the Bible he's studying now. And he said, he trusts his stomach and made a burp and he said, I'm sorry, I have a pain and he ran out. And this was, and there was no trouble. And another time, an officer was invited and he liked me, we were talking. And we had a, we had a little drink or something, and I said, I told him, I said that I'm a widow of an army officer. And he asked me, and he, he, the peasant woman introduced me as a widow of an army officer. And we're talking, talking and all of a sudden he asked me in which unit of the army my husband served, and how did he die, how much pension I get and I didn't know what to do. I just said, but I told my son, I said, I have too much drink I have to go out, and I went and nothing happened. And after that we always laughed. So, incident, you know this helped us survive in good health. We always were proud, we prided ourself when we ???.

When you conquered some difficulty.

Yeah, yeah, we laughed. And I said, also I said, from now on I will be a barber's widow and not an officer's widow. And that's what I said. Nobody will ask how much pension I get. That's what I did.

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