Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lila Denes - May 19, 1989


Did you have any relatives or friends who were living in Germany or Czechoslovakia?

No, not that time. Yes, we had but we weren't in touch.

When was the first time, when did you move to Budapest?

In 1940.

So, the war had already started?

The war started, yes. And pretty soon, next year, my husband went to forced labor camp in Hungary.

You were married before you moved? Or...

I was married in Budapest.

In, in 1939, is it?


In 1940, so then that's when you moved.


Um, when, when you moved to Budapest, just, just you went with your husband? Did any other members of your family move?

He used to live in Budapest.

So, how did you meet him?

Oh, I was on a vacation in Budapest and I was introduced in company.

It sounds like a romantic story. Uh, was your, were your parents glad you moved to Budapest?

Not really.

They didn't think it was safer there than, uh...


It's cause there was no danger at the time?

No, that time, no. Very soon it started, things like my husband had a little factory. He manufactured rubber items. And as the war was developing, the raw rubber was hard to get, you know, and the Hungarian government said, "Jews can't get the raw material." So, that's already started. It was very difficult to get some rubber, and it was kind of a black market.

Oh, I see, otherwise the business would have stopped.

Business didn't stop, it was kind of a black market and if they catch him, he would be fined, you know. But he was working with rubber.

Um, do you remember any of the, the political leaders, Szálasi, Imredy?

Yes, Szálasi was the top man.

What do you remember about him?

Well, they just know he was the head of the party and there were song about him and, you know, but I, otherwise, I don't know too much about him. I know he was executed after the Russians came in.

Yeah. What was life like in Budapest, during the war, in 1940, in the beginning?

Well, 1940, it was okay. The problems started '44, when the Germans came in, March nineteen--I remember. We were sleeping, sleeping and one of my brother came over. They were already in Budapest. And what he came over early morning and he said, "I bet you don't know what's going on." We said, "No, we don't." He said, "Well, the Germans occupied Hungary." And he said, "I'm sure there going to be something and maybe you should go home with the two children to our parents."

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