Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


Y...your family didn't know about...

No, no. That was in Budapest, there was nothing to...

It was like another world, yeah.

Mostly people who, Budapest people or somebody managed to get into this group. Some with money, some with, with, with connections. I don't know how they organized.

Well, tell, tell me about the Judenrat in Munkacs.

Judenrat you know, we didn't have much contact with them. They came--you know, like Judenrat, whether they knew what expecting or not. Probably some of them, they knew. But they were taught uh, the whole idea was to, to organize kitchens there. We had--we didn't have much to eat in the ghettos already. So there soup kitchens or something like that. And they came sometimes and they told--they tried to, to, to uh, calm us down so tell that...

They hos...did they set up a hospital as well?

I don't know. I don't know about the hospitals. I don't know. But I know that one of the head of the Judenrat--later on I learn that his name was Segelstein. He was a--he had a, a, a guy, a very, very prominent guy--wealthy guy who had at, at that time a store, I don't know. He--that time has a smaller because he was--but he still--and he was one of the member of the Jud...Judenrat. I was told at that time that he was the head of the Judenrat.

What's his name?

Segelstein. But in this book, in book of Brahm uh, somebody else was the Reb, but he was the member of the uh, Judenrat. And when we came back from the camp, people told us that he managed to escape the Gestapo, smuggled out from the ghetto to Hungary some place and he survived. And they, they didn't take him out. So probably he had some, some, some uh, uh, the Gestapo appreciated his, his, his service because you know, he told us, "Listen probably nothing's going to happen," or something like that.

Do you think there was uh, resentment or anger about the members of the Judenrat?

No, no.


No. I don't think so. Not at--you know what, our Judenrat was short lived. It was less than two months. So, nothing like in Poland where, for years. It was very short lived so it was not, not, it was not a prominent uh, event.

When the Germans came in, what did you or your family think would happen next? What was your reaction to that?

We don't know. I really. We sensed something wrong.

Did ???

But you know, especially my father. My father was a incurable optimist. Optimist. Always. He was always an optimist. And he you know, and we were under influence of him you know, the optimist. Okay, we are restrictions, so we are going to survive. The war is almost over or something like that.

And the Hungarians are civilized, right?

Yeah. They thought.

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