Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002


Okay, could you tell me your name and uh, and where you were born?

Okay uh, my name is Paul Molnar. Uh, at the time I was born my name was Paul Müller. And I was born in a town called Újpest, Hungary which is a suburb of Budapest, on December 29, 1929.

Um, you were raised in, in uh, Újpest?

Uh, I was raised in a town right next to it, who-which is-was called Rákospalota, because that's where all my family lived and that's where I was raised.

Tell me something about your life before the war.

Well uh, I had a very normal childhood. Uh, I had a mother and father, small brother who was three years younger than I was, a lot of uh, two grandparents, lot of uncles and aunts and cousins. And they all lived in a, where I lived. And uh, my family was very well to do. They were very, very rich. And uh, I had a very, very good life. I did not feel that I was discriminated against in school. I went to public school. I had friends both uh, Jewish kids and Gentile kids. And I really didn't feel anything. After-I mean, Hitler was naturally in power, but I was a child and he didn't affect me and I really was not aware of much about what's happening until the Second World War broke out. At, at which point, gradually the life of Jews got to be more difficult. I still went to school. But uh, there were a lot of Jewish laws passed. Uh, what kind of professions Jews can be in uh, kind of work they were allowed to do. Uh, there was what was called numerus clausus, which meant that uh, Jews were six percent of the population, so only six percent of the uh, students in universities or in gymnasiums, which was from uh, age eleven to age eighteen uh, could go to uh, even to a gymnasium. Otherwise you had to go to a uh, a kind of a middle school where your schooling ended at fourteen. Uh, because my family was very wealthy and they had a lot of connections uh, my cousin who was ex.a month older than I was, than I uh, were the only ones like it at my high sch...at my gymnasium were the only two Jewish kids in the whole class. And, just the way it was. But again, as I said, my life really wasn't uh, wasn't really affected. I mean I uh, until March 19, 1944, I led a very normal life. And I, I knew that uh, who were the bad guys and who were the good guys and. But I, I didn't-I wasn't really, I didn't feel any danger or anything like that. I mean, our life went on pretty normal.

What did you father do?

My, my family owned a, a, a company which had a business where they ow...which had hardware stores and construction. Mate...the lumberyards and they were also builders. It wasn't just my father. There were five brothers originally. It was started with-by my grandmother. Because my grandfather, the only thing he did was uh, go to a synagogue everyday to pray, so. It was my grandmother ran the business. And in the late 1930s when she died, then my father took it over with her-with his brothers. But he was the boss. So they were very wealthy. I mean, we had a-which was unheard of-we had a Buick with a chauffeur, for example. And you know, we had all sorts of maids and servants and... They had a very, very good life.

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