Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

David Kahan - April 29, 1982

Religious Life

What was it, what would, would a, a Friday night be like in your house?

Well, this is, this is one of the things that I, I miss most. It's ironic that even if we were very poor at times, but the beauty of the Friday night of the Shabbat is just something that is unforgettable. And, and uh, my heart aches when I think about it. Uh, even the poorest family have managed to, if they were hungry during the week, but for Friday night everybody managed to have uh, something uh, to have a piece of meat and everybody was, I remember my mother scrubbing and cleaning Friday at noon and somehow the peace of the Shabbat arrived. We all had some, even so, we had, might have had uh, torn clothes during the week, but for Friday night we had something clean and the house was clean and the meal itself was the best meal of the week. And uh, it was beautiful, the candle lights and, and uh, and uh, the Kiddush and the singing of the, of the Zemirot, the whole ceremony, that something, it seems to me like a tragically bygone era that uh, uh, we'll never have again. I, I miss it terribly. But I think it's best it's uh, gone.

Did your father read to uh, you from the uh, from the Torah for Friday evening?

Yes. Well, usually Saturday afternoon when we used to uh, we used to uh, read the Pirkéy Avót, the whole family used to uh, sit around the table. And usually Friday evenings by the time we uh, the dinner was finished um, if my brothers were home my father and the brothers would discuss the Torah. I was uh, a little bit young to take part in that. But it was, they used to sometimes sit and talk 'til the late hours of the night discussing the Torah and the Talmud and so forth.

You said there were, you had no experiences of anti-Semitism or a few experiences...

A few.

...of anti-Semitism. Did the rest of your family? Anything that you remember?

Basically I think that the Hungarians--well, we lived amongst mostly Hungarians and since they were also a minority, then they felt persecuted by the Romanians. The Hungarians felt that, that, that Transylvania should belong to Hungary. So they didn't persecute us too much and we were rather I like to say that we were rather decent people, the Jewish people in our town uh, at least in our class. Our neighbors liked us and we had good relationships with them. We grew up with the kids together. If I was mistreated, it was, was some strangers in school, never the kids in my own neighborhood.

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