Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989

Living in Budapest as Gentiles

How did the children react to the air raids?

They didn't care too much. They were too small, especially George. But, when we moved back to Budapest and sometimes, you know, the whole house was shaking and the windows break finally, then they started to scream, so we ran downstairs and finally we took our bed and our belongings, what we were taking along and moved down to the basement. And uh, the whole house--and they treated me bad. Not because they knew I am Jewish. They didn't know but because they knew I am an unmarried woman with two children. So, they treated me bad. And um, there was a doctor. He was the head of a little clinic, which used to be a Jewish clinic and he said he made the clinic non-Jewish. I mean, he got rid of the Jewish doctors, everything, you know, and his wife said once--that house was close to the Danube--and she went out and she came back and said, "You know, it's funny, the women floating on the Danube on their back and the men floating on their chests." She said, "It's funny." You know who were those people floating. The Nazis took the Jews sometimes to the edge of the Danube, shot them, and they fell in. She was a woman with two children and she said that. After the war, they took care of them. He was--he went to jail.

And the woman?

I don't know. Anyway, they didn't know who I am, so sometimes my two brothers, who was also hiding not far from me, sometimes they came over and visited me. And um, they thought they were my boyfriends, you know. I don't know how my older brothers um, how, got some petroleum. 'Cause we had only lamps in the basement, those petroleum lamps.


Kerosene lamps. Somehow, he got it somewhere and so the whole basement was very happy and once he brought a whole big box of jam. And uh, so, he was popular.

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