Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Helping Mother-in-Law

The Germans left, in other words, they just...

Yeah and my husband went and—where did he go then—he came back. He came back. Yeah, I can tell you a sto... story far back. Can I go back very far? When we were in this house when I told you that people came, brought me some food and we went away because it was very bad, thirty-nine people, that they took away my, my mother-in-law was with us at that time, and she was, she was seventy-two years old. And they took her away too to—she didn't have papers—to put her, not to deport, to put her in another house, a ghetto where all the Jewish people, another house. And I knew that my husband would be very upset that his mother was deported or whatever. We didn't know what's going to happen with her. So I wanted to go, my husband was already then in Budapest in a forced camp. And I knew where he was. And I went to look for him. You know, I, I just moved freely because I had these papers and I didn't wear the, the star. It's confusing because I'm going back and forth.

No, I understand.

And so I went to where he was in the army, in, in this forced labor house. I knew where he was. There were two guys in front of the house. So I couldn't just go and tell I want to talk to one of the men who's in the labor force. So I went, I read it yesterday and I don't think, I cannot imagine how I was such a hero, heroine. I went there and told him and knew that Mr. Schmidt, I thought this was the mayor, I bring, I'm bringing some messages from her cousin and I want to see him.

From, you pretended you were bringing a message from your husband...

To the, to the mayor

Oh to the major.

Major. Mayor? Major.

Major, you mean major, like a captain.

Yeah, yeah.

And so you got into the camp.

Yeah, and, and I told him that I'm bringing a message to the major. I couldn't ask a message to my husband, because I couldn't be as a Jew on the street. And then...

Yes, yeah. And he let you into the camp?

No, he said, he said I will go and report. And he went, you wait here. And I waited there and I saw many...


Yeah, Jews crossing. I said, will you please tell Andre Berki that his wife is here. So he came down. In a minute he was there. And then we went to a corridor and then to the bathroom, it's only for pe... for men actually to the bathroom and I told him what happened. And guard came back and he couldn't find us, so he went and looked around and he found me. And he asked what I am doing here. And my husband told him what happened. And again, a chance that he was good. He went to the ma... major. He didn't, he didn't, he didn't go to the major to, to report that a Jew came in, he went to the major that one of the men wants to talk to him. Do you understand?

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