Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Clara Dan - July 1, 1982

Religious Life

Were you, was it a religious family? Did you have a...

Absolutely. My father was the president of Orthodox because in Romania you had uh, three different reli...shuls. You had a Sephardic, you had the orthodox and you had the Reform. So we were Orthodox, which meant the men sat downstairs and the women upstairs. And uh, my father was one of the presidents of that shul. And uh, my whole family. And I had private tutor for Jewish education. [telephone rings]

Aside from when you couldn't get into the academy because you were Jewish, was there other, did you have other anti-Semitic problems before?

Yes. Well, anti-Semitic problems, of course we had the star--the Jewish star we had to wear. And uh, the schooling I was already, don't forget, I was already in the conservatory at that time, okay? Because I was twenty-one when I was taken in the concentration camp. And you graduated eighteen, the high school. And you always heard the, the anti-Semitic remarks. And uh, the Hungarians were anti-Semitic, Romanians it was the Iron Guard which was one of the Romanians. And uh, it wasn't too safe the last oh especially let me see, when uh, mainly when the Hungarian came in. That's when it really was hell. I remember it was the last Pesach and uh, my mother was died--my mother died because uh, we lost her in January. And uh, at that time it started already that you had to darken the rooms at night. No light should...


The blackouts. And uh, we couldn't--my--we usually, after we lost my mother for Shabbos and for holidays we went to my uncle because I had family in the same town and my sister and me went to, to my uncle. My brother was living already in Kolozsvár and was married. So come Pesach we couldn't go because the air was very, very sticky, like this. I mean the Hungarians really made them known that they are there. And uh, we had some friends. One of my uh, little girl I used to tutor or teach piano who had uh, mixed marriage in his family. And he wanted to get Gentile papers for us. But it was called aria paper. It was written aria. This was fake. This would have been fake papers. And uh, they told us we shouldn't worry because uh, we won't get hurt. They will try and get us, my sister and myself, these papers, which meant that uh, we wouldn't be taken in labor camp. Because at that time we heard already that there were labor camps in different parts of Hungary. But uh, we were, we kept telling between us that this just couldn't happen to us. It's such a beautiful town and people and we grew up here and we were born here and our roots are here. Who would take us out from our homes? It is impossible in the twentieth century just to take people out, that's impossible. So Pesach came and uh, my uncle came down and told us you girls have to stay in tonight with us. We've been hearing rumors that it's getting rough. You have to know that or I have to mention that my uncle and uh, another--two uh, two of my uncles were the liaison between the shul, the Jewish people in our community and the Hungarians...

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn