Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

David Kahan - April 29, 1982

Relations with Non-Jews

So you had non-Jewish friends.

I had non-Jewish friends that I grew up with who have uh, never harmed me whatsoever, who liked me and whom I liked. And the immediate neighbors of ours, who were mostly struggling, in fact we were just struggling just to survive um, had never harmed us as far as I can remember. I think my older brother was once hit by one guy when he came home from the Yeshiva. Uh, basically I would like to say that it was very seldom that we were hurt by the population in our immediate neighborhood or, or in our city. I remember the first time when my father was attacked was by a Hungarian officer on the street after the Hungarian army occupied our town. But the Hungarians came in 1941, a few months after he was going uh, downtown and an officer just came over to him when he was walking and he punched him in the face and, and uh, my father fell. This was the only time that I remember a physical violence against uh, him and uh, against the members of our family.

Uh, all right. Your father wasn't political in any way, was he?

No, no.

Was anyone in your family? Your brothers?

No uh, I think none of my brothers were political. Uh, we didn't uh, I don't recall ever having an election there uh, in our city. If I may go back for a moment, I would like to make a distinction. Hungary itself, around Budapest area, where they had the, the Green Cross who were very anti-Semitic, when they came to power in 1944, who killed many Jews, there is a distinction between those Hungarians or the Hungarians who lived in Transylvania, who were a minority and perhaps mistreated by the Romanians. Sorry for interrupting.

That's all right uh, um.

There was no political life, as far as I can see, uh. Again, as a child my mind was on many other things. But if you...I'm sure there must have been some elections there, but uh, and my parents could have voted, but otherwise there was no political parties that I remember ever as belonging to.

Do you remember a, any talk about the Iron Cross Party?

Uh, yes, I remember that, yes. I vividly remember in 1939, I believe when they tragically had a pogrom in Romania, in Iasi, where they massacred, slaughtered a few thousand Jews.

And the fascist...

I, I think it was in '41, yeah, the fascists. We knew about that and we knew about the Iron Guard and we knew that they were anti-Semites in Romania, but uh, we were a bit far from that and we weren't personally touched. But we do, the Iasi pogroms, we, we knew that very well. It was a tragic event, we were all very sad about that and we knew about the Iron Guard. There were some people in the Iron Guard, Romanian students. We had um, a college in our town and in uh, a Lyceum I believe it was a high school or college and there I did remember that there were sometimes demonstrations from some of these Iron Guard students. Uh, but uh, again, personally uh, I was not touched in our town uh, they have never harmed uh, the Jews. Again, because uh, the Romanians were a minority in our town and, and uh, there was no physical harm as far as I remember.

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