Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Rumors of Persecution

Around 1939 or 1940, had you heard stories filtering in, especially after the German invasion of Poland, were you hearing rumors about what was going on in Slovakia, what was going on in Poland?

Yeah, we heard rumors. We also heard uh, actual uh, reports of what's going on in Slovakia, in particular we heard rumors from Poland. But from Slovakia, we had close contact with them. We heard first it was young girls who were taken, then there were uh, males who were taken, then again girls who were taken, deportation from Slovakia started about 1940 and uh, they were not as systematic and not as, not on a total scale as they were done later on in Hungary or in Poland, for that matter. Uh, we heard people disappeared, people were taken away, and they were never heard of. We also heard rumors that they were taken into Poland where they were machine gunned uh, to their deaths. Uh...

Now, what did you or your family think of that, how did you respond to it?

The general attitude was uh, we talked about it very little, we listened to it. Grown-ups discussed it. Uh, not much discussion was going on between grown-ups and children about it. As a matter of fact uh, we were sort of uh, cultivating a, an attitude that it's not true and it's not going to happen with us. Whatever is going on in Poland, whatever is going on in Slovakia, or elsewhere, cannot happen in Hungary because Hungary is a civilized country in spite of all the uh, belligerency that they were practicing. Uh, people would point to officials who were still had high positions in government. Uh, people were point to the fact that there were several newspapers who were either, which were either run exclusively by Jews or they were predominantly Jewish owned and run. Uh...

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