Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Larry Brenner - December 13, 1981

Anti-Semitism 1


Not Jews, no, any... any... anybody, anybody. They called this the Hungarian Free Army and they were under the Hungarian Army, but uh, they gave 'em a name that their Hungarian Army's not responsible for their activities. It was uh, it was uh, just uh, voluntary people who went and they demanding back their territories. Now in... Their headquarter was in our town because this was the biggest town. They jumped the, the uh, Czechoslovakian border and they stationed there. In order to entice them, the Hungarian government let them go actually wild. Because they knew when they were captured over there, in Czechoslovakia, the Czecho government would treat them quite badly. But to entice them, they make... they gave them all kind of goodies. They make 'em dru... free uh, booze, free tobaccos. And to have fun for them, naturally the Jewish population over there was quite uh, enticing situation to do what they want with them. So as, as I remember as a kid, I must have be about--nineteen-forty--about twelve, thirteen years old. We're going to shul, the holiday, and it was trembling with people of--they, they found the, the, the consequences of their being there. They broke in Jewish home, they stole things and they beat up Jews. And this, my parents, my... I forgot to tell you my parents made a living. My father had a grocery store and also he was a, from Second... from First World War he was uh, injured during the war, he was a soldier. And he had special treatment from the Hungarian government. As, not as a Jew, but as, as, as, as such, as a soldier. And he had special privileges. One of them was, he... The tobacco industry was government controlled, and also was the uh, like, like here, the liquid industry. And, and, and, and license to sell tobacco and liquor was a privilege to be. In other words, I think like they have it here at first if somebody serving in the army I think it's first privilege. I don't--I think that's, I think that's what it is. So anyway, my father had a tobacco store also. And also, that's what he made a living from. Now, and, and, and remember in a small town, stores close early in the afternoon and that's it, not like here. You go to... When you need tobacco you go to a gas station and you find it. Or, or you go to a machine and you put in a fifty cents and you get a pack of cigarette. Over there it was closed, so naturally people smoke and... So, go to the Jew, wake him up in the middle of the night. These people came because they were out of cigarettes and they knew the Jew has a tobacco store. They have a couple Gentile people had also tobacco store, but they didn't dare to go there. But the Jew, they break the window. "Get up Jew and give me the cigarette." So threatened us, every night we woke up uh, scary. We didn't beat them up but naturally bend the windows, sometimes they break it, "Jew we need cigarette."

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