Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Political Discussions at Home

The, the discussions in your house, did, did it ever occur to any of the four of you to, um, to get out?

Um, not really, to the best of my knowledge. First of all, my father who's been drafted, as I said earlier, in 1940, the spring of 1940, he has been very limited time at home. Because in between, sometimes he would get a month or so that he was either discharged or give some time off being at home. Uh, he just weren't even able, even if the thought would have been there. We just couldn't find a way. Because Hungary, first of all, was surrounded by the Germans by that time. Austria, uh, Yugoslavia, of course, to the north, Poland, and to the east, Russia, you know. The Russian front, by that time, by the four-, '41, '42, it was, uh, 2,000 miles from us closer to the, almost by the Volga. So, it wasn't very easy for somebody unless you had some official papers. Very few people, very, very few. We have heard, it came to our attention that they were able to migrate, some of them went to Switzerland. A few of them may have gone to Israel. But, very, very few. And, there may have been something, uh, a, a disaster in disguise what, what transpired in Hungary. Even though anti-Semitic sentiments was very deeply engraved ???. But, physical effect, we didn't have to the last, uh, towards the last years of the war. The Germans didn't occupy Hungary until 1944. And that's the time it came like a, like a lightning mid-day. Everything collapsed. There was no way of finding any exits. Where to go. How to go. And, unfortunately, because of these relative calm where it took place from 1939, '40, '41, '42, with all the problems what it has been caused. But, in Hungary, the Jews somehow felt a little bit more secure that it couldn't happen to the Hungarian Jews, what it happened to the Polish or so forth. Now, this wasn't a publicized, uh, thought, you know. But, each and everybody felt, hey, as long as they are not chasing me, I am not going. And when the time came that they were chasing, there wasn't where to go. There was no way how to go, or how to do it.

If you'd had the opportunity, would you have left your parents, sister and grandparents?

There were some, some people towards the end when it was '44, '45 when the ghettos were, um, organized, that, uh, some of the youngsters who were in labor camp, because at age, I believe to the labor camp, they were drafting them at age twenty-one, you know. And, um, some who left that camps and went up to Budapest where they got lost a little bit in the turmoil, you know. It was more frequent towards the end of the war that people split up. That whether it was young girls, or young boys, they would leave the parents. And, uh, but, primarily, they did go to Budapest where there was more opportunity to get, uh, false papers or forged identities.

Did you think of doing that?

Uh, no, no. Because I didn't want to leave my mother and my sister. My father, at that time, wasn't home for three years. We didn't know where he was. Whether he was alive or he was dead. Because in 1942, um, my father was taken prisoner in Russia. At that time, he was with the labor camps already. And, uh, we lost track of him. The only thing I know of him, that from a neighboring little town, uh, one of the person who was in the labor camp in the same unit with my father, and the commander for that unit was from that lower neighboring town. And, somehow through his influence, he had this person excused and sent him home, you know. And this person told me that I saw, I know your father was alive the day that unit fell into Russian hands. Now, he couldn't, he couldn't tell us for sure whether he stayed alive. He just said that he was alive. So, we just had hope that he's, that he was spared. That his life was spared. But, we didn't know anything about him, till, of course, after the war. And my mother, who was taken into the ghetto and went to Germany, um, never knew that my father was alive or he's going to come back home or not. So, based on these, uh, circumstances, not knowing that, where we are going to go, what is our destiny once we are evacuated from the ghetto and shipped into Germany, I didn't want to part, I didn't want to separate from my mother.

Did he survive?

My Dad, yes, yep.


He came home in 19.., August of 1945. He came back.

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