Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982

Pre-War Family Life

B...before we continue with that uh, even before that, how big was your family, before you were married?

There was two girls and three boys, five children and my parents.

And you, were you the youngest?

I was the second one, the second from the oldest.

And were there other relatives that lived nearby?

Well, my mother had a brother who lived across the street from us in the ghetto where he use to live. I had grandparents who were taken out already before that to the ghetto and they took them out from the house and they took them to the ghetto. And there was a Kehilla that was from the, from an organization from the synagogue, they use to cook there food and take it out, kosher food naturally. That was a very religious, very religious uh, city, Munkacs. And they use to take it out, you know, in big pots and serve them for the, for the people, for those Jewish people. It wasn't only from the city...

From the ghetto you mean...

...it was from around the city. From the outside, you know, of uh, Munkacs...

Now who...

...would serve them.

Who use to serve them?

There were certain people, like for example, I was able to go out, there was a few people like that. We had on the yellow band, you know and we were able to go. We went by, you know, a wagon and horse and wagon took us out to the ghetto.

Were you um, was it some organization?

It was the Jewish organization from the synagogue, those big machers, you know. They arranged it with the Germans that they would supply the food and bread to the ghetto.

Do you remember if it, if it had a name?

Kehilla they call it. The Kehilla.





Did those people in the Kehilla later become uh, the Judenrat? Was there a Judenrat in Munkacs?

That was the Judenrat.

But they were originally with the Kehilla?

Yeah. Originally it was from the synagogue. Those--let's say that the, the President and the, and the you know those big people, they arrange with the German that they gonna--they should allow to take out the food for those people in the ghetto. And they got--you know-- they um, they allowed them to take out the food. So, early in the morning we went into the synagogue--it was in the back of the synagogue was a kitchen, a big kitchen and we use to cook there. They brought the food and we were cooking and, and by eleven-thirty, twelve o'clock, we took it out to the ghetto. There was a lot of people there. I cannot tell you exactly how many, but a lot of people. We couldn't give for all of them food. There wasn't enough. Never enough. I remember my mother use to cook in a big pot in--for, for relatives and for friends. I use to give them a big share but...

All right, you sa...did you have--you had--your mother had a brother who lived nearby. Did he have children too?

Yeah, he had six children, five sons and one daughter. And two of them came back from concentration camp. My uncle came back. My aunt went with two, with four children, they were small. And the two that were small went with their father and they are alive here.

And the others did not survive?

No, they never came back.

Um, this was from your mother's side.

It was from my mother's side.

From your father's side?

From my father's side, was two brothers from the same city. One of them has two children--he had five. And two of them are living in Israel and, and the other one had six. One of them was in Budapest, he was alive. One was in America, he wa...is still alive, um. Two girls came back.

So, four of the six survived?

Yeah, yeah.

And the rest, the three others from your, from your other uncle?

Yeah, they never came back.

And your uncles, did they survive?

No, one uncle--my mother's brother...

You mean--I mean your father's...

He survived. That was from my mother's side.

And your father's two brother's?


So, you had lots of cousins, a large family?

Yeah, yeah, it was a large family.

Did the family get together a lot, before, before...

Yeah, it was a close family. Especially from my mother's side.

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