Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Budapest 2

Anyway, in 1940 to... So, I told you I went to Budapest and I learned a trade. And uh, I forgetting, I almost forgot there's such a Jewish problems there because it quieted down perhaps, my parents came home, my father came home and uh, things became--got back to somehow halfway normal. And those Jews who were taken away from town uh, we didn't hear anymore from them and there wasn't any more disturbances. So, because I guess that's what happened when Hitler went into Poland, then they tried the Hungarian government to show the sympathy to them and started with the Jewish question. But in order to appease them, I guess he got rid of this non-desired, so-called, non-desired and non uh, Jews which weren't Hungarian citizens. This was quite a shock. But as I said to you, two or three years, you still don't forget, but you don't live with it. In Budapest there was a huge uh, Jewish community. I would say it's at least ten percent of the populace was Jews. Uh, uh, Budapest maybe it was a million and two hundred thousand. The population it's about over a hundred thousand Jewish populace there. And I didn't feel any--all the Jewish uh, feeling what they remind me on, at home as a youngster in school--I didn't feel that one there because it was kind... You're living in a ghetto. Not official ghetto but like uh, here Jews live among themselves, you know, where they... In Budapest also there was a certain section which was I would say seventy percent Jewish or fifty percent. So, anti-Semitism did not manifest of itself. And uh, I learned a trade there as a toolmaker. And a matter of fact was saying I even had a good time. I forgot about was Jewish, I, I... All those things what I missed as a youngster in town, it was a big city. I remember I used to love to go to cinemas, because I was forbidden to go there and to get like all, like a kid who never had any toys, all of a sudden had all the toys. I grabbed that. I used to go three times a day on Sundays, that was my... the beginning. And do the things, uh. And it was forbidden to read books for me--it was great pleasure for me. And I--I'm say that I had the best time of my life. I was young and uh, all these thing was forbidden as a youngster because of interfering with uh, Jewish uh, religion...

Did you still go to shul in the morning too?

Hell no.


But I did tefillin at home. I went to Shabbos. My uh, there wasn't anybody to control me. And uh, I got to go out with friends, which they weren't uh, religious. So it... Friday night and I, I went to shul and Shabbos, but not as uh, home, not as... So, I lost naturally and I went, and I, I went home every, maybe twice or three times a year. And I took off my thing and I start to have a hair grown. And that was a no-no at home because uh, in order to, you... A religious person do not believe to have long hair because that's a, that's a, uh. When you, when you lay teffilin and you put up teffilin, that's uh, supposed to be on your head, you know, and the hair is, is, is between it, according to the Jewish religion, this is a no-no. So, I remember the first time when I went home I had a hat on me and my father opened, nicely takes off my hat and looks at my head. And he looks like, eh, and he says to my mother, "Look, didn't I tell you what's going to happen to him? Look, was I right?" So anyway, it was--I was already eighteen years old, so he couldn't hit me anymore. So, he kind of got used to the idea. So, this was going on 'til about... And I had a good time. I, uh--it was seven... In 1942, I was sixteen by, you know... And it's uh, even 1942, yeah I was born 1924, I was eighteen years old, I was a big boy already. And things weren't anything what happened in those days. I went, I learned a trade, I, I made money. I, I uh, know my great pleasure was that when I made the money to buy a present for my mother because I dearly loved my mother and I to, to please her anything, I, I used to buy her. I remember one time I, I had to come from, from a--what do you call this one?--a light fixture, a nice light fixture to her home and she was pleased with it. And things were good. I would say as, as a youngster I was satisfied, happy, because uh, I didn't miss anything. And uh, all those things, which were forbidden for me as a youngster, I had. And uh, it was good, so.

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