Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Life Before the War in Baktalórántháza

Could you tell me your name please and where you are from?

Alexander Karp. I'm from Hungary.

And the name of the town?


And where is that, is that near a major city?

Eh, sort of. The largest city close by is Nyireguhaza and Kisvarda.


It lies in between.

Tell me something about your life before the war in Baktalórántháza.

Um, it was a typical small town with approximately fifty Jewish families and, uh, each, everyone of us were going school in, that's Jewish school, and also the curriculum what it was, what it was actually by one teacher, so, the number of students approximately were roughly forty or fifty people.

This is in the public school?

Pardon? We didn't go to public school. Because uh, in that little town there was no public school. There was only parochial schools. Each religion had their own schoolings. Roman Catholics had theirs, they so-called "Reformatus" what it was the Reform Christian Reform at that point, you know, Greek Orthodox had their own schooling and, subsequently, the Jewish people hired one teacher and he's the one who was teaching every single class, first class, second, third and fourth. Each row, depending on how many people was in that class. First class was sitting in the first row, the second in the second, and so on.

And what language was this school conducted in?

Uh, Hungarian.

Was Baktalórántháza part of Hungary?


When you were born?

Yeah, no, I was born about, uh, maybe seven, eight miles away in a little town called Nyirmada.

But, was it near Czechoslovakia? Or was it part of Czechoslovakia?

It's not that far. Nothing was too far over there because we were up in the northeastern part. Um, but it was bordered by Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. They came together, that was approximately in between a twenty-five, thirty-kilometer radius.

But, you would have identified yourself as Hungarian?

Yes, yes.

How large was your family?

Um, I only had a sister. There were four of us.

And your parents, the grandparents lived there as well?

Um, grandparents from my mother's side. Yes, they lived there. And, uh, from my father's side, they lived in Kisvarda.

Which was close by?

Uh, it was fifteen miles away.

What were your parents' names and your sister's name?

Um, my sister's, my sister's name was Martha and my mother's name was uh, Marishka and my father's name was Ignac.

And your mother's maiden name?


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