Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

David Kahan - April 29, 1982

Hungarian Annexation

Did they march into the town?

They marched into the town.

Do you remember...

Yes, I remember vividly that the Hungarians marched into the town and, and uh, all of us went downtown to watch sort of uh, it was sort of a unique situation. A whole lot of the army, many thousands of soldiers. We in our town were the largest in the whole county and possibly in two counties and, and because most of the area there were small villages, a few hundred people, maybe a thousand or two, so uh, that was the headquarters of the army and there were thousands of soldiers perhaps and we all went downtown to witness the parade and some of the speeches and so forth. But immediately I've seen Hungarian soldier calling some of the Jews with beards names, derogatory names and insulted them. So I could see already that a new era was starting against the Jews as the Hungarians came in. And of course the Hungarians had more stringent laws against Jews. A Jew couldn't own a tobacco shop and, and or liquor store and things like that. So, with the Hungarians coming in, we already realized that things are going to be tougher for the Jews. But still there was no physical violence as I can remember uh, except uh, sadness of, of uh, of uh, realizing that things are going to be bad for us in the future.

Were you frightened?

Uh, somewhat. We, we somewhat frightened, but somehow in Europe the Jews, we were always trained for hundreds of years just to survive. And we always hoped, lived from one day to another and then when things were bad we said, "Well tomorrow, God willing, will be different. And it was a somehow uh, we rolled with the punches, so to speak.

You were thirteen when they came and...

Uh, I was thirteen I believe. Yeah, I was born in 1928.

You had been bar mitzvahed?

Yeah, I was bar mitzvahed, yeah, I believe, yeah.

Um, but as a thirteen-year old, did life change for you at home?

Not, not really. No, I bel...I believe that economically things were tougher, I believe our, our store was closed then and my father was teaching and uh, getting paid very poorly and we had a hard time economically. We were struggling to survive. Uh, as I said before, we, there was times that we were hungry and there was just a small piece of meat for Shabbos and, and uh, and poor clothing and going around barefoot in the summer a lot to save shoes. This was no drastic uh, uh, change in my life, as I recall, even after the Hungarians moved in. As a matter of a fact, there was one pleasant part of it, if you can speak, the Hungarians uh, we sold, I used to go to the army camp that was a few minutes from our home and I used to sell 'em tea. There was a shortage in Hungary and Romania had a lot. So we actually were doing business with them and I used to go and I sold them tea or chocolates and those guys that I dealt with were rather nice. They never hurt me or bothered me.

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