Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ben Moche - April 24, 2009

Family Experiences Shared

Oh my. So, tell me what you were told and, and, and what...

What I remember is there when I grew up, and I was like two--three years old uh, I was wearing a yellow piece of cloth there that later I understood that the Jewish star. I've been told uh, by people when I used to go out, by Goyim over there they used to say "Zidan ne Palestina," you know.

Zidan ne...

Zidan, "Jew..."

Palestina go to .

...you don't belong here," you know.

Go to Palestine.

Palestine, right.



You remember hearing this as a child?

Oh yeah, yeah.


Um, um, I also remember, I mean told, that when I was born the midwife, the lady that delivered me said, "another dirty Jew is born." Because, you know, there was no hospital.

Uh-huh, "another dirty Jew is born."


Hm, terrible. So, as a little child, as a little boy, you had to wear a yellow Jewish star?


And you remember this?


From your own memory?

Yes, mm-hm. Definitely.

Okay, and where were you living? In, in a ghetto or...


In uh, your own...

In our own house.

In your own house, okay.


Your, you, your mother and your father?

Yeah, later on my father came, yeah.

Oh yeah, that's right, your father was away in the...


Labor camp with his father.

Right, right.

So it's like you and your mother...


Living in your house.

Yeah, and my grandmother...


My aunt.

Uh-huh, your mother and you. Okay so, you had to wear the Jewish star, what else do you remember about those times, about that time?

Um, what I remember is the, you know, my, my mother got wounded and things like that...


You know.

I see.

And uh, when the Russian came in, you know um, we, we left to go to Israel.


You know.


But, but uh, it wasn't so simple, you know.


We uh, I remember that we always ran away. We, we, we always ran from one place to another uh, we um, we went from, from our city, we took a train and that was a big deal to me, we went to Bucharest. And from Bucharest we took another train to another place called Kare Mare. And from over there we were living in a, in a synagogue. And I remember there in the synagogue there was a slaughterhouse they used to kill the kosher cows and things like that. Um, I remember of a child going back how much you Judaism was important, you know. There uh, I used to go when I was little, like three or so, things like that, I used to go to the cheder.


You know, and um, the main purpose of my parents was uh, for me to learn everything there is from my heritage. In other word um, they didn't speak to me in Romanian, even though they spoke multi-languages. They spoke to me in Yiddish because that's what the Jewish language...


You know. Um, they took me to the cheder, especially my, my grandfather took me to, to the cheder and uh, I really liked it as a kid because when a woman had a baby, you know, we used to have to go and uh, read Sh'ma to her.


And they used to give us lekker, you know.


Lekker, sponge cake.

A sponge cake.



Lekker, yeah.


In Yiddish.


So that, that, that was a big deal, you know.


So um, when we left Romania, later on, and we went uh, we--there were people that we had to hire to cross us the border from Romania to Hungary. And we paid those people money.


All our money, they took all our money then dropped us with our clothes and then they turned us over to the Hungarian police.

Oh no.

You know um, I remember that, I, uh...


And um, I remember there while the police took us, a truck came forward and this was um, I don't know if those were American or something, but I've been talking about the Joint..

The Joint, uh-huh.

You know?

Yeah, the Joint Distribution Committee, yeah.



And they paid off the cops and all the womans and the children were given to the Joint and we went on a truck. My father was um, he had to go back to Romania, they send him back. But then the Joint made sure there they get him in, you know.


And then we were in Budapest and we were living again in a synagogue, you know.


Um, and there were some gracious Jews, they used to come and take the children and uh, for shabbots and give them cholent, you know.

Mm-hm, mm-hm.

Um, then from over there we had to go, we had to--we went to Austria.


You know, and we went to Vienna. We were in Vienna for a while. While we crossed the border between Hungary and uh, and Austria uh, we were uh, we were supposed to be quiet, because as we crossed the border. And I had brother at that time, there, there was a baby.


I don't know, a year or something, and he start crying and my father almost uh, suffocated him.


You know. And then there was, when we crossed the border there was, what they called the American zone...


And the Russian zone. And the Russians were shooting at us because we were running towards the American zone, you know.


Because the border, we ended up in Vienna. When we ended up in Vienna we were in the hands of the Joint, of the Jewish organization or things like that, from then 'til we got to Israel.

When, what, what, when was this? What year was this?

Probably '46, you know.


'46, '47.


You, you know, in that time, then from Vienna we went to place, it's also was Austria but it was called Wegscheid. And in our place I remember was Bindermichl. And uh, this used to be a concentration camp...


A gas chamber.


It was taken over and I remember that my brother got lost in that camp and we couldn't find him. And then we find him in a hole and we also find in that hole, soap that's there, pure Jewish fat.


Yeah, that was in Austria.

What, what, what was it like?

Well I was a kid so...


In that time...


Everything was, it was normal, you know.


It was normal. I--in, you know uh, I start learning Hebrew and uh, I knew I spoke fluently Hebrew, you know.


Before uh, we got, uh...


To, to Israel. So, I mean, in that time, I mean, that's the only thing I knew, you know what I'm saying? It's not that I grew up in a place and then the German came, you know, and things got bad and...


You know. We, we had all the jewelry and crystal and things like that. No, I, I, I, I remember only the, the time of the German and things like that.


So to me in that time uh, it was normal. I didn't understand what they mean by uh, you know.

Yeah. Going back just a moment when, when you found that soap, the pure Jewish fat.


How, what it, it, what did it say on it, what did that soap look like?

I don't remember.

If you remember, okay. Alright, but it had, how, how did you know it was...

I thought, how did I know?

That it was that, that, that it was...

I did not know, my parents told me.

Your parents, that's right, they identified it.

Right, identified.

By the letters that were on it?

Yeah, there was letters, it looked almost like, you know, in the, in the old days, used to be soap.


Like that big, you know, they used to wash your clothes.


Used to be different soap and this looked like soap that you wash your clothes.


And things like that.

By the letters you knew it was like...

It said over there, "pure Jewish, made of pure Jewish fat."

Wow. And was in German, uh...

I guess so.

Letters, yeah. Yeah.

It was in German letter, yeah definitely.

Yeah, right, right.

Because I don't remember the quotation, I used to remember the quotation.

Rheinjudisch something...

Right, something like that.

R-F, something.


Going back a moment uh, you, when your, your mother was wounded, how was she wounded?

When the Russian threw the bombs...


You know, she was in a market, you know. And she got wounded from the bomb.

Mm-hm. So the Russians were attacking the Germans, you were under German occupation. The Russians are bombing...


Okay. And then you are, your family uh, flees...


To get out, to go to...


Uh, Israel.


Okay. And so this was, so the Russians were attacking what, in 1944 or '45, toward the end of the war?

Something like that, towards the end of the war.

Yeah, yeah.

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