Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983

Hungarian Anti-Semitism

Did you or your family experience any direct violent anti-Semitism when the Hungarians came or after they had come?

Uh, the only direct violence that we experienced was uh, when I was uh, in school later on when I had to attend once a week uh, there was a paramilitary training of youngsters from uh, age of uh, twelve, I think, up to military age and it ultimately graduated into uh, armed training. Um, and we had to attend and whenever we attended, practically every time there was beating up of Jewish kids and it was not discouraged at all by the uh, commanding structure of this uh, outfit uh, sometimes they were even encouraged uh, the military trainers uh, freely beat up Jews. Uh, they also beat up non-Jews, as a matter of fact, that was part of the training, if they had to uh, there was disciplining done that way but, by far uh, they didn't need an excuse or, or a reason to do it to Jews. Uh, my brother...

What about your family?

My brother, my older brother, would experience many times uh, uh, from stranger soldiers or, or from gendarmes, he was three years older than I am. I guess the gendarme would take more liberties with the older youngsters than they, they just didn't bother with kids my age. Uh, my parents, I don't recall any direct violence that they would get involved with the Hungarians up 'til deportation time. Uh, there were other neighbors who would got into trouble with them. There were some families uh, in, in 1941 uh, there were some families who immigrated to our area from Poland and uh, they became citizens, Czechoslovakian citizens. They settled, they either, they inter-married, they either a Czechoslovakian woman or they just acquired citizenship. Uh, they were deported and they were deported with violence. Uh, they were deported to Poland. Uh...

What about your sister? Any, any experience of anti-Semitism in, in their life?

Uh, well, my older sister got married in 1939 and on her wedding night there was violence. The um, gendarme uh, came into the hall on our own premises where the wedding uh, feast was going on and they rounded up all the males to come to the station, beat 'em up right there. They, they uh, put 'em out, took them out first into the courtyard and they were beating them, then they marched them off to the station, and they interro...interrogated them individually and beat them up in private. Uh...

Do you know why? Just random, arbitrarily?

The excuse they used was that there was uh, anti-Hungarian singing going on, that there was uh, they were praising uh, uh, the, at that time, Slovak uh, president, and uh, that we were using really the uh, wedding for anti-Hungarian organization, that was the excuse. Uh, one of my cousins from a neighboring city uh, was beaten up so badly that he uh, came back in the morning to our house, he was black and blue, the very next day he went home to his hometown which was about, maybe a, a hundred kilometers away from us. And the very next day he picked himself up, went off to Prague, across the border into Czecho...into Slovakia, then into, into Bohemia, and he found his way to London. That's how he was saved. He lives in London until today. Had it not been for that incident that he was beaten up, he may have perished during the war.

Did anyone else who, um...

Pardon me, the bridegroom was even beaten up, my brother-in-law.

Were you taken with them?


Just the men?

We were left at home to stay.

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