Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989

Conditions in Budapest

Before we go on, let me ask you a few questions about um, uh, Budapest again. Did you ever hear the name Eichmann when you were in Budapest?

Eichmann, no. We heard all these names when we came to the United States.

But you remember seeing the Germans come in?

Oh, the Nazi headquarter was next to our house.

And, and you didn't know any of the officials names? Better not to know, I suppose.

No, we didn't know. We didn't even want to see them.

And when, when you, when the Germans were there, do you remember seeing trains go? Uh, the trains leaving with Jews in them from Budapest?

Of course, yes. I didn't see it, but I knew it because that's how the transportation, everybody knew it, I mean...

You knew about the boxcars?

Yes, yes. There were places where uh, uh, they brought them together, um...

Umschlagplatz. Collected.

Collected, yes, they collected certain places and then they were taken into the car, the railway stations and boxcars, you know.

Did you try to stay off the streets in the daytime?

Well, we had to use the yellow star but I either didn't use it or covered it with my purse when I was--I had to go sometimes. I had to stand in line for food because by that time, food was very scarce in Budapest because the railway lines and everything was bombed out, you know, bombed. Very little transportation. So, we were standing in line for everything.

So, you wore a star?

Pardon me?

You wore the star?

Sometimes I wore it but I covered it.

You were registered then?


Um, when you were living with...

Oh no, not in hiding, no.

Before you went into hiding?

Yes, before I went to hiding, all summer I had to wear it but if I had to go somewhere, I usually hold my purse, like that. Most of the women did that anyway. I covered it.

Was--did the Hungarian government, before the Germans came, did the Hungarian government have any, any kind of identification?

No, the only thing was uh, in the army, I think they have to wear a yellow band.

So, your husband must have worn one in labor camp?

Yes, yes.

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