Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Charlotte Firestone - March 11, 1982

Everyday Life and Culture

What did your father do?

He had uh, a restaurant with, with um, you know, we had um, tobacco on one side.

He had a license to sell because he was a veteran...

License--because he was one-hundred percent invalid.

Because he was in the war?

Because he was in the, the war and he really was a crippled man. He was wounded.

So, would you be considered well off, uh...



Average, yeah.


It wasn't bad.

What, what else went on in, in the town? Was there a Yiddish theatre, or a...

No, the theatre just came wintertime, a Yiddish one, from Poland.

Did you ever go?

Oh yeah.

Do you remember any of the things you saw?

I don't remember, I don't remember exactly the title of the, I mean the name of the shows, but I, I remember a lot of songs from it.

Like what?

Die Meidlach fun Muhe, fun Muhe. I don't remember right now, you know. It's a long, long time...

Could you--what does that mean?

Well, you take the girls from the olden days. They never cut their hair and they, and they didn't sing jazz. They didn't smoke a cigarette. You know, it comes out--it rhymes in He...in Jewish.

Yes um, were there Sholem Aleichem plays, things like that? Stories by Sholem Aleichem?

Yeah. There was Sholem Aleichem thing um, too, too, that came to, to Munkacs. Oh yeah, there was a lot...

Separate from the theatre.


Did you go to movies?

Yes, I did.

Not Jewish movies, but different...

No. I came--I went to movies, Yeah.

Were they uh, Czechoslovakian movies?

No. Mostly American movies, some English movies.

Do you remember any of them?

I remember that when um, Shirley Temple came here, you know, movies, I, I used to see all of them. And I even remember a few. The Scarlet Letter I saw. You know, I went to see that twice, because I really liked that movie. I don't remember...

Did people dress like, uh Americans dressed? Is it--h...how did the young girls dress in Munkacs?

Modern. Very nicely. There was no such thing that you went to buy ready-made clothes. There was a dressmaker. You bought the material. You went to the dressmaker and they, uh...

Did, did you live in a Jewish neighborhood?

Yes. Yes.

Were you assimilated at all, did you say you were...

No. It was the Numerus Clauses when the Hungarians came in.

But before the Hungarians?

No. It was Czechoslovakian and we didn't see any, any anti-Semitism or something. You know, I'm sure it was...

But you didn't experience it...

But, no. I didn't. I usually, in, in Munkacs, I never associated with non-Jewish people. You know, we had our crowd and, uh...

In school, did you uh, have non-Jewish friends at all?

Mostly Jewish friends.


We had Jewish hours, too. I remember mine Hebrew teacher was Weintraub, was his name. I even remember now, you know, the first uh, uh, assignment that I had, it was Ani Mamin B'emuna Shleima-she Haborei Isburach Shmo, Ich glaube--in German, I had--we had-- he translated, "Ich glaube daß, Gott körper kein ist."

Believe that God did...

Is not a body. It doesn't have a body.

Hm. Was this in public school?


You had an hour in Hebrew?

Yeah. An hour--yeah, every day an hour.

Was this while the non-Jewish also had religious training?


So he would come in one hour a day.

Yeah, mm-hmm. Then we had Jewish classes. We had, they had um, um, a priest, come in for the non-Jewish people.

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