Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


And what did you--were you working? You were what, eleven years old...

No, no.

...the Russians--when the war started against the Russians?

Yeah, at that time I was eleven, 1941.

So what did you do? Did they put you to work as well?

No, no, here? No, no, no. Czech...we were going to the school, I told you.

You still continued to go to...

Studying, the Hebrew.

...school remained open.

Remain open, right. The schools remained open until '44, March '44 when the German came, you know. Matter of fact we were probably the only Hungarian Jews, we were the only ones despite the repression and, and short uh, uh, uh, I mean. We stayed in our homes most of, most of us, except those who were taken to the labor camps. But most of them we stayed home. But the restricted uh, economically very much restricted. But we survived, more or less with the family. And we hope that the, the Russian were close that we ca...we'll be able to survive. But it didn't happen because the German conquered uh, in March nineteen...they conquered Hungary and they put us in ghetto immediately and closed the schools and they took us, in two months and took us to, to, to Auschwitz.

So up--but up to that point do you remember any anti-Semitic incidents that you experienced?

Very often. For instance, the, the--in the schools and the media, in the radio they were so--became in 1942, '43--so anti-Semitic that uh, for instance, we were beaten up very often going to school by the other Hungarian school children, ??? school children. Very often. Sometimes my father had to take me to school because there was uh, so the children, they were vicious. That uh, you know. Other anti-Semitic--it didn't happen to us, but you probably know the on--in the 1942 in, in southern Hungary there were, there were atrocities. They killed uh, a lot of Jews. That was in U...in Novi Sad. You might know about the story. And there was a movie about that uh, later, after the war. So they killed thousands and thousands of Jews and, and Serbs beca...at that time. But that's the only, only which we read about that. But uh, and oh, one other things. In 1941 or '42, they took all the Jews from Hungary who couldn't prove that they are Hungarian because a lot of Polish Jews, they couldn't uh, the papers were not in order because they came--father came and then the, I don't know, they couldn't prove. And there was approximate 5, 10 or 15,000 Jews were taken from Hungary to Ukraine and they killed them. Among them my uh, s...la...neigh...neighbor who was my rabbi when I was in the cheder. He took him, he was, he was uh, Polish. And one of my schoolmate uh, also. One morning they told they took the whole family--'41--'42--to uh, uh, to Ukraine uh, and they killed them. So that's was, because that was a campaign which, campaign which those Polish origin, a lot of Polish who couldn't prove that they were Hungarian papers, I don't know how...

Why the Ukraine, do you think?

Pardon me?

Why the Ukraine?

Because, no--that mean next, that Galicia, Galicia.

Why did they take them there?

To kill them!

But why not kill them in Hungary?

They didn't kill in Hungary. You know, they, they, they tried to, not to, to, to uh, you, you know, the story is that they--during the war, the Ukrainian Russian Jews never been taken--not--they didn't take them to the concentra...they killed them. They were not uh, ashamed to, to kill in front of the other Ukrainian. Ukrainians, they ???. In Hungary they tried to, to show some kind of civility, you know. So they didn't kill there.

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