Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989


But about being in hiding?

Yes, sometimes. When I was hiding in that house and finally was, you know, I came home from that place and when I was there, when we didn't have an air raid, sometimes I went out to get some bread or something, we heard, "Oh, this and this bakery have some bread," so I ran and get something and--so, we had a, a caretaker of the house, a supervisor or what you call it, I don't know, anyway...


Caretaker, yes. And um, he came from that city I was suppose to come from. Where my false paper was from, Békés. And he started to talk to me about the city and ask me things and you know, sometimes I think I was happy in that time, pretty well off here, because I could talk to him and that he never knew it that I didn't come from that place. I could talk, you know, around things, beat around the bush, or say things.

Had you ever been there?

No, never. I knew it's there in southern Hungary. But I never been there.

Are there certain times, things that make you think about moments that you were in hiding?

Think about it?

Yeah, are there certain things that will touch off a memory of, um...

Yes, like I told you that doctor's wife who said it's funny how the people float on the water. And you know, because she wasn't hiding, by then I was hiding for weeks or months or I was running out of food and everything. She had everything. She just had to bring it down from her apartment. And she had two little kids, and she gave them uh, candies and cookies and stuff like that and my children were standing there and they, you know. And she never gave them anything. And once, I could uh, stand in line and get some apples. I was giving my children half an apple each, you know. And her children came over and naturally I gave them too because for some reason, she didn't have apples. And still she never gave my children anything.

She didn't know that you were Jewish?

She didn't know. She didn't know, nobody knew it. If they knew it, there were some Nazis in this basement, Hungarian Nazis. No, they didn't know. Fortunately, they were occupied with the thought that I am uh, uh, unwed...

Unwed mother.

Woman with kids, you know. And it was good but there was a um, midwife. Midwife?

Midwife, yeah.

And once she said to me, "Young lady, I think you're pregnant." I said, "Oh, go away, what are you talking about?" She said, "No, I am not a midwife for nothing." She said, "I know you're pregnant." So, you know, I was ashamed.

This was the end of '44?


Uh, have you, did you keep in touch with Marischka and, uh...

With who?

With Geza and Maria?

We couldn't--oh, after the war, sure, yes. We were friends, yes. She, unfortunately, she committed suicide. Her husband was a philanderer. And once--and she started to drink and then it became so bad one day when she was real uh, you know, she knew what's going on and, and she couldn't take it anymore, she opened up the gas oven. And when her husband went home, he found her dead.

Was she...

Yes, 'cause she was a very good woman.

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