Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989

Other Jews

Did you know what was happening to the other Jews?

Yes, I saw a lot. When we were hiding at that waiter's house that I told you, that was partly a Jewish house. A lot of Jewish people and one morning, I was looking down and I saw it that in--you know, those European apartment houses, built on the fourth side and there's a big court--they were taking them down and taking them away. Little kids, you know, old people, and I felt awful, you know. I thought well, I should be there with them, you know. But then I had the two small children and well, that was the first for me, my children. I tried to save them. But it was--so...

Had you heard of Auschwitz?

Not really, not really. We didn't know too much. We heard about someplace that they let them send some postcards. Wald...


Waldsee, yes. And I got a postcard from one of my uncle. Of course, they didn't come back, because I heard after the war that they let them write them and then they were taken to the gas. They didn't come back, of course. So, I was in that basement until the Russians came in. That was the first week of January, I think. My younger brother came early morning and he said, "You know, the Russians are in." And I started to cry because I knew it's over and all those people thought I'm crying because I'm sorry that now the Russians will occupy Hungary. And they said, "Oh, we didn't think she will care," you know, because I was uh, you know what. So, pretty soon, the soldiers started to come downstairs to the basement. First the Romanian soldiers came. They always thanked--the Russians thanked in front of the Romanians, whatever happens, the Romanians, you get it, you know? So, some soldiers came downstairs and they started to be nasty with the girls, you know. So, I was in a bed with my two children and one soldier came over and started to push me and I pinched Judy real hard, pinched her, and she started to scream and it was dark, he had a, a light, a light...


Flashlight, and he looked, he said, "Mamuschka, mamuschka" and he left me. So, then later on, my brother came over again and he stayed with us. And next night we slept in one bed. My brother and my two kids, so in case if they come, there is a man, although sometimes we didn't have. There was a beautiful girl in the basement. They put all the bed things on her, all the pillows and covers and everything else on her, so they didn't see her. Anyway, next day we packed up and we started to go home. It was a big snow, very cold winter. We were a few miles away from our house and we had to walk. There was no transportation, of course, nothing. By the time we got home, George had problem, probably the cold. Next day, he couldn't stand up. And well, I was terrified but thanks God, he got over it anyway. And I was pregnant. And I was very weak and I collapsed, I remember. Anyway, the hiding was over.

[interruption in interview]

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