Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - June 22, 1983

Start of War

Did your father continue to work there?

Yes, until the year of 1940. Nineteen-forty he was called uh, he was recruited, rather, to the military. He was in the military for one year and thereafter he was transferred into the labor camp units. In 1941 he was uh, shut it...

[interruption in interview]

It was in 1942 when he was taken to Russia.

Where--how did you...


...hear about that? Was he still in contact with you?

Oh, yes. He left our town and he was taken to an assembly point. And from that point they were taken to Russia. And we have--we have had contact with him while he was there up until January of 1943. At that point we lost contact with him.

Were there other similar such circumstances? Other adult men who went into the military and then left their families?

Oh, there certainly were.

And how did your mother manage with both you and your sister?

I picked up the pieces where he left off. And uh, if we made our living we ate and if you didn't, you didn't. You know, but uh, I was at that time about seventeen-years-old and I was able to continue the work what he was doing.

Did you remain in your same home in the small town?

Yes. Yeah.

How about your grandparents? How did they manage?

My grandparents were at the time, more or less, semi-retired. And uh, they have been helped over in the ???, but they were able to provide for themselves. They had a small piece of land, but it has provided for them enough--almost enough to make a living. And uh, they did a little bit to earn a very modest living.

What had you heard at, at this point or what had you been hearing about war?

Uh, we knew about the war--knew right from the beginning and we followed it very intensely.

What was your main source for information?

Just the newspapers and radio.

You remember your thoughts when you heard about the war?

Yes. I was--relatively speaking, in Hungary, up until that time where anti-Semitism was in a growing stage, and we have heard other atrocities that it has taken place in Poland and various other countries where the Germans occupied the land and no--there is always--where is life, there is hope. We always hope that it may not come to us. But there were many, many incidents what has happened because people were Jews. For instance, in the year of 1941 or--actually ??? many people had been taken out of the country and because they were not accepted as Hungarian citizens--their grandparents may have been born in Poland or Czechoslovakia or some other country--and they were not able to provide papers to prove that they are pure Hungarian Jews--or citizens--and they were taken out of the country. Some were lost; few of them may have come back. And so, in short form things were getting worse day after day. And uh, things didn't look up too, too well, but there was no way of doing anything about it because you were surrounded, everything within a thousand mile area. Anyway, you went it was the German ring around your neck so we were, we were quite concerned about it.

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