Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989

Living Among Germans

So, you're living among Germans?

Yeah, for a few weeks. Every night German soldiers came to the girls, you know. There were three girls. Every night they came, so we went to bed with the kids.

You spoke German at the time?

A little, that time yes, now I forgot it. I don't spoke it, speak anymore but I used to know a little German. So, that wasn't a picnic. It--now it doesn't sound as terrible as it was.

Yes it does, yes it does. Um, you must have been very frightened for your children all the time.

Sure. I mean, if I were alone, there wouldn't be any problem because I just had a paper, you know, because I looked like a Gentile. And I had long hair and put on a bun always, you know. So, I looked like a Gentile girl from some small city. And I could have gone work as a maid or something probably, I mean probably. But the children, I had to find some other ways. For a while, sometime I was thinking to put up uh, their name on, put on uh, you know, what do you call these things? These...

A tattoo?

Tattoo. Tattoo their names, so if we get somewhere separated or something, they know who they are but somehow it didn't happen.

You were afraid of losing them?

Yes. For a while, when they started to, started the air raids in Budapest but the Germans weren't in yet uh, my father sent up somebody from our city that I should send the children home because of these air raids. So, we didn't know that time what's coming, the deportation and all that. So, I sent them home. It would be safer. And I, you know, my father was a very nice man and everybody liked him. So, even the more, most anti-Semitic people, and somebody who wasn't anti-Semitic man told him, "Why don't you send the children up to, to their mother. Take them up, I'll give you a paper." He was working in the city hall. "I'll give you a paper. You can take the children up to their mother, take them up." He knew it what's coming by then, you know. So, my father came up with Judy and George and my husband told him, "Why don't you stay here, don't go back." He said, "Of course I go back! My wife and my father-in-law is home. Of course I go back." So, he went back and they went together to Auschwitz pretty soon.

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