Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emerich Grinbaum - October 3, 2000 & January 8, 2001


The following is an interview with my Mr. Emory Grinbaum at his home in Farmington Hills, Michigan on the morning of October 3, 2000. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky.

Can you tell me your name please and where you were born.

My name is Emerich Grinbaum. I was born in Munkacs. Uh, now it called Mukachevo. It is now Transcarpathia, which is now part of Ukraine. Used to be--at that time, when I was born in 1930, it belonged to Czechoslovakia. From 1938 through '44, belonged to Hungary. And after '44 it belonged to the Soviet Union.

Tell me a little bit about Munkacs before the war.

Munkacs is a small city. Before the war approximately 30,000 people. Close to half of population was Jewish. The Jews roughly could be divided--the religious part, a lot of Chasidim, very extreme Chasidim. Satmar type I might say, ardent anti-Zionist. And the other part more secular, but everybody was observant. Practically everybody kept kosher. Everybody observed the holidays. Most of the, most of the people observed the Shabbos.

Was your family a follower of the Munkacser rebbe?

Uh, no, we are, we are not. You know, that was a famous rabbi but we never, you know. They let ??? we knew that he is, but uh, I don't--we, we were not followers. We were more Zionist because there was a Munkacs Hebrew school, Hebrew gymnasium, which was Zionist. Uh, and around that school the whole-- the Zionist movement of not only uh, of uh, Munkacs, but the surrounding areas were concentrated and that was the center of Zionist uh, uh, spirit and upbringing and kheenookh the, the uh, education.

But you said that there was a split, so there...

Very much so. Can you imagine? I--my--I was a child, but that was terrible how the, the, the Chasidim, especially the followers of the rabbi and then some others, not only in Munkacs, but they were followers of Belz Rebbe. A matter of fact, the followers of Belz Rebbe were not that ardent anti-Zionist, but there were some other Chasidim and they were against Zionism. They never uh, the children of these religious, they never went to the Hebrew school, they let them go to the public school. And they were against Zionism, against uh, you know uh, when uh, they uh, uh, if, if some uh, religious or half-religious boy uh, those area before the war, before '39 wanted to go to Palestine--a lot of people made Aliyah and he didn't. He cursed them practically, you know. He told them not to go and, and if they went he cursed them.

This is Shapira?

Shapira and the followers. He, he died earlier, but they were followers of his, his, his son and son and son-in-law. I don't remember exactly. But Shapira was a very famous--but an ardent anti-Zionist.

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