Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Behavior After Liberation

Had you ever seen a black person before?

Uh, only in the movie. So there were blacks. So--and then they put us on the trucks and they took us somewhere. They took us faraway, I don't know where, to a camp, but this was not a concentration camp. They were kind of working camps. Some--this is a camp because barracks, but we saw that it's not a concentration camp, it was a nice place, relatively nice place. They put us in nice--three or four in one room you know, not uh, they are small rooms. And they give us food. And they give us some other garments. And...

What were the buildings like?

Not the buil...small buildings.

But they, but they were more than one floor?

Hm, hm, one or two floors. And, at, at, at that place we shared only one floor, I remember. But the...

Maybe like a dormitory?

Yeah, something like that. Some kind of camp but we don't know, we don't know. And they give us food, they were decent food. But it was not enough for us. We wanted to eat more you know, because we were absolutely... So we went out to the villages and you know, we--people, we go get some food. We were walking and the villages saw us so they give us some eggs or something additional. Uh, they were friendly, uh.

They were friendly.

Friendly, you know. Oh, maybe they a...were afraid of Americans, because I mean what American were behaving very decently, you know. Uh, let me tell you, later on I talked to other people who were liberated by the Russians. They were better chance, because first of all the majority of the German fled. So they left uh, apartments behind. So they could grab a lot of things. Not here. In American they were very, very decent to protect you know, but I have to tell you, some of us, especially the Polish guys, because you know, they were more desperate than we were. We were there only a year...


...they were there for many years and they were very--and they didn't care. They--I remember we were walking on the st...on the roads to the village, they saw a German coming on the bike. They took away the bike, they took away the, the watch and all that. We couldn't do that. But that happened also. You know, that's okay, I don't have any objection, but we couldn't do that, you know.


Because you know, I couldn't do that. We couldn't do that my father, you know. We are a different. Most of our surrounding you know, some people did it. Not, not too many, not too many. But I remember the, some, some Polish guy did it. If they were Polish, I remember because I knew them. So what, we, we praised them, so we didn't have any objection, just we couldn't do that. But we went to the village, we had a walk and they, they sometimes you know, they give us some eggs and some, some more food, I don't know. Some salami or something.

After a year in Auschwitz and Warsaw and Dachau and Allach, where people were beaten regularly and treated like animals, do you think it's surprising that your father and you still held on to this?

Very much so. And a lot of people held on, you know. A lot of people held on. You know, and I always proud, I was proud for many type of but proud to be Jewish because we don't have a sense of revenge. We had to, we di...you know, going ahead, back. Back in Munkacs we came back, except very few cases, very few cases there were Russians. You know, the Russians at that time when we came back I'll tell you later. And we knew that some, some local Hungarians, they were behaving bad. And we could tell on them, we could and we could tell them the Russians would you know, take away immediately. There was no, no, no discussions. There were some cases. But most of the cases there were no sense of revenge or, or, or any, any, any taking revenge. And that's happen all over, you know. So we stayed there for several weeks. We improved, of course. And they, they asked us--well, so they took us ??? burned all the, all the passport uh, they gave us some le...uh, some papers. And, where do you come from? So, we came from Munkacs. Munkacs used to be first Czechoslovakia until--and then Hungary. Somebody told us--a matter of fact I forgot to tell you, there were, Red Cross came and they tried to help us who were sick and there was uh, there was hospitals and the, many different things. They, they tried to help us as much you know, they were international blue uh, Red Cross. So somebody told us that if you say that you are Czech, they will take you out faster than Hungarians, for some reason, you know. That was a little stupid because they were Jews whether the Hungarian Jews or Czechish Jews, we were persecuted. But they were regarded, the Hungarian, they were enemy--the whole Hungarian en...enemy of, of the West--of the, of the Allies. Czech, no. That happened. So we s...we said, all, all who came from that area, Transcarpathia, we, we said that we came from Czechoslovakia.

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