Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002

Religious Life

Was it a religious family?

Well you know, my, my, my grandf...my moth...my father's side uh, my grandfather, they went to Rákospalota 1898. And that's when the congregation started. And uh, he was the first president of their synagogue. And it was Orthodox and he was very, very religious. On my mother's side they were not religious at all. And uh, as, as time went on, the children became less and less religious. And my father still went to the synagogue on the Ho...High Holy Days or special occasions. But he really didn't you know, he didn't observe very much. However uh, be...a...because of my grandmother who was alive and uh, tradition, I went to the synagogue every Friday and Saturday because I was the oldest son. So I and my uncle, who was the oldest son, and his son was same. I went every Friday, I went every Saturday. And I went to religious school three, four afternoons a week. And I, I started the Talmud and the Torah and the learned Hebrew and read Hebrew and so on. But, uh.

What was a Friday night like in your house?

Well, I uh, as I said, my uncle picked me up and uh, I went with him and my cousin to the synagogue. And we sat up there in the first row and, and uh, you know, they had the Friday night service and uh, afterwards I went for Shabbat dinner to my uncle's. And uh, you know, they had the same things every week, the chicken soup and some kind of chicken.

Would your parents come?

No, no. My parents didn't go. This was, as I said, this was-my, my parents really weren't religious, I mean. I don't even think my mother lit candles. Did I re.I don't remember. But I wasn't there Friday nights. No, they didn't come. And then my uncle took me home. But, you know, we all lived close by.


So I lived like a couple blocks away.

Were you bar mitzvahed?

Yes. I had a bar mitzvah. We went-things were already pretty rough. I had a bar mitzvah on December of 1943. But again, we didn't have, we didn't-you know, all these terrible things were happening around us and I assume most of the adults knew it. I certainly didn't. And I had a bar mitzvah. It was at the synagogue and I studied for months. And uh, you know, I was-my grandson's going to have one in October, one of my grandsons and I was telling him that I did the same thing he does. That is, I learned a portion of the Torah and I chanted it. And then I was assigned to read other things. But I, I didn't understand a word I read because uh, there was no translation into Hungarian. And they really didn't care whether I knew, as long as I did my job. And I did it. But it was a different world. And I, I don't know whether I even-good times. I didn't have a party or anything. I, I went to a synagogue and I did my portion and the, the family got together and we had a meal together. But that's all I remember.

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