Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Deciding to Stay in Munkacs

Why wouldn't he leave?

He was, he was a kind of a, a person who not only an optimist, he was a, a, a incurable optimist. But he had some ideas, number one. He was at that time, forty-eight. He thought--first of all he says that he's a photographer. So he works, he can make a living anywhere.


Second, he didn't want to believe that they are--it's going to be Russia. He didn't want to believe. Although we saw that it's going to be Russia. But they still, the borders were open. Either Hungary or Czechoslovakia, we are going--so, what to leave. They, they, we don't have to leave. We got back, he, he started working, he started making money. He got back his, his atelier, photo atelier. That was a different story, I don't want to, to annoy you how did he get, but he got back. He started working. And he made good money so we could--in couple of months he could-- we could buy furniture and clothing and everything, you know. So, he'll, he, the, the Russian give the first year, first year give us uh, possibility everybody, there, there was no, no strict Soviet uh, socialist. And it was good you know, those people you know, they saw the Russian behaved very bad, they, they, they were uh, uh, raping, all, raping, Russian soldiers and very, they were being--but they say that, okay, that's a transitional period, you know. And that was another. I remember my father had some strange idea. He trusted western countries, the America and England and France. And he knew that--I knew that it was true--the western countries guaranteed Poland to retain Galicia. That was originally before the war. So if Galicia is Poland, that this cannot be Russia because that was between. So that cannot be Russia. That would be either Hungary or Czechoslovakia.


Of course uh, the Russian persuaded Roosevelt or Truman, whoever, that Galicia uh, started belonging to, to Russia. So if Russia that belongs to, to also. So that was some ideas. He didn't want to be begged and we begged, because we saw that's nothing here. Because we, we knew, we knew that uh, uh, that's not going to happen. We saw how the Russian behavior and we listened to the radios. But my father always wanted uh, to happen what he, he believes, he, he, he hopes I mean.

Do you think he may have harbored some hope that your mother would still come back?

That's why--not at that time, in the beginning. So we went everyday we were waiting. Everyday we were waiting uh, the train who, who came from Budapest or from Pa...Prague. We were waiting. Sometimes we went out, but usually we tried to figure out who came. And people came and we always asking did you see this, did you see that, I mean, they're together. Oh, that was first week. That was one of the reasons we came back to find mother or some relative. But you know, the more we, we realized that she went with the child you know, and everybody saw there was no hope.

How many people that you knew, I mean friends of the family s...stayed in Munkacs? I mean wasn't he aware that people were leaving one after another?

Mm, you know what, majority left. Majority. I don't know what, not--majority left. So before the war Munkacs had approximately 15,000. No. The majority were killed. So they came back, a lot uh, came back. And majority left. Several hundred remained. Several hundred, then--we had more Jews because from all the villages uh, they came to Munkacs. There, there was practically no Jews left in the villages. So all over the area they came to Munkacs or Beregszasz or uh, so that's why we had, I might say, up to 1,500 or 2,000 Jews after the war before the, before immigration in the seventies.

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