Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Relations with Non-Jews

And, and anti-Semitism, was that a problem?

You know what, very interesting about this anti-Semitism. Eh, in comparison with the Polish and Ukrainian, there was mild. Matter of fact, if you read the history of--because we were uh, spiritually Hungarians and at that time when I was, from '38 to 1944 we were under Hungarian regime. Hi...the Hu...the--in nineteenth century and up to the '20s and '30s the Hungarians were relatively tolerant. Relatively, I'm underlying, tolerant in comparison with Romanians and, and Polish, relatively. There were no pogroms. You don't--you didn't--never was--there were pogroms like in the neighboring, no. They were anti-Semitic, of course they were. The restrictions started in '38 when I told you that--until '38 we lived under Czechoslovakia was just, it was a, a, a high democratic country. The Hungarian came, they ch...everything is changed. There were restrictions uh, many restrictions and anti-Semitism was growing by days.

Do you remember Masaryk?

Masaryk, right. He, he died thirt...1936, I was six year--I remember when he died. I remember the, the newspapers they were writing. He was you know, a, a exemplary, exemplary democratic and...

Did he, do you remember if, did he visit Munkacs?

I don't know. I don't know. I don...I'm not sure. But I know that Masaryk, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk he was just kind of a, a, a, a s...symbol of, of--not the Hungarians. In 19--since 1938 when they came, the anti-Semitism grew by days and became very vicious by the '44, you know.

How did it grow? What, what manifestations?

Manifest--I'll tell you. First of all there were the Jewish laws. Uh, they took away the f...the land from Jews. They took most of the business. My father was a photographer and he, after the Hungarian came in '38, they did not allow--they took away his, his uh, atelier and he had to work for somebody else. The same--I mean...

It was still his...

His was, but under the name of somebody el...a Christian. And the Christian you know, most of the money went to the Christian. He was as a worker you know, there. And he could, we could hardly make ends m...meet.

So it was Aryanized.

Aryanized. Plus...

Did he know the man who took it over?

Yeah, yeah, he was a simple guy, a shicker, you know. And he--my father, father, father worked and he took the money and he was uh, going to the, to the, to the... But then restrictions, then other restrictions. Uh, 1941--'40--'41, they started taking Jews to the so-called labor camps instead of taking to the, be...between eighteen and forty I guess, something like that. And at that time my father was taken for a short time, but then he was over forty at that time so they--he came back. But, and especially when the war started in 1940, war started against Russia, I mean. They took thousands and thousand to the so-called labor cam...camp, probably you know about that. And they were under mostly under Hungarian, you know. And they were so rude, the Hungarians. They were so cruel that mostly they, they, there was not better than the concentration camp. You, you know, that's a different story.

So did he describe what it, what it was like?

No, he, he was lucky, he was not taken out, uh. Then he managed to come back because after, he was older than forty and most of them o...over the forty they let him, let him come back. So he m...he, he escaped. But, but those who stayed there and they were taken to Ukraine mostly--he wasn't taken. The--very few came back. And under Hungarian uh, you know, they were very--sometimes they were more cruel than the, than the Germans. I have a lot of stories about this.

About the Hungarians.


What are some?

Pardon me?

What, what are some of those stories?

The stories you know, they had what uh, their duty was to, to uh, to help the army. They, they didn't have uh, guns and so they help to dig uh, how do you call?




...trenches. And they were cruel, the, the Hungarians. They beat them. They, they, they uh, did you see The Sunshine?

Sunshine, yeah I did.

There's this type of things. That's also in Hungarian camp. So very cruel you know, very cruel uh, the, the Hungarian officers and...

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