Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Experiencing Anti-Semitism

...are there any incidents of anti-Semitism or beatings or things that you remember that stand out in your mind. Of course you were very young...

Okay, uh, like amongst who?

From the Gentiles.

Gentile against Jew?


Um, not personally to me.


Because like you say, I, I, I was young, so who would pick on me? But there was uh, okay. If a, if a--I've seen that--if a, a Jewish man with a beard going down the street there'd be--not children--a few grown-up, hooligans we used to call them, just picking on the man and pulling his beard and kicking him 'til he'd fall down. And incidents of that sort used to be a very common--so common that mentally uh, I think I accepted it as this, it was a normal.

Got used to it.

You get used to it, you get used to a lot of things. And children get beaten up because you're a Jew. You get used of that, used to that too. Um, it was a, it was--Chust had a, a big Jewish population. Um, didn't know at the time, but I had to ask around. But there were about a good twelve thousand. So it was, it's a, it--the town, the city was actually um, almost owned by--the major portions and the major things and the theater and businesses by Jews. The uh, amongst the uh, elite Gentiles, of course, whatever they felt about you, they never openly come out and say it. Uh, but they would always have a group of people that they can pay to do something to. But then when, when uh, Hungary took over and Hungary joined Germany, there was no need. They all came out showing their true colors, real per...I mean, there, there was actually no fear. They could look right at you and just act as if you never existed. And those things were, uh, very common place. But as far as beating, you always knew there were--Jewish children got beaten up, a Jewish man that was obviously Jewish, wearing a beard and, and, and, and looking dressed as if, or the rabbi or the, the religious school area was always broken windows or uh, it was a, a routine, a, a daily happening that sort of fell into the realm of everyday living.

Did anyone ever fight back?


You don't know. Do you remem...

Sure, they, they'd fight back. Uh, until the fighting--it, it wasn't a matter of fighting--do you want to get killed by retaliating.

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