Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002

Outbreak of War

When, when the, the war started, it was 1939.

September 1, yes.

it was the Admiral Horthy then.


Did that affect your family in any way?

Yes! Uh, you see, what happened is. Well, I should just go back a little and tell you that uh, Hungarian Jews, including myself uh, were very patriotic, as opposed to others. I didn't know any Yiddish. Uh, my language was Hungarian. And I thought of myself as a Hungarian who happens to be Jewish. There were other kids were Protestant, other kids were Catholic. Well, there was religious instruction in school, so the Protestants and the Jewish kids left when the other kids stayed because they were like eighty percent of the kids. And we went to another room, we had religious instructions, but we all spoke the same language, we all celebrated the same national holidays. And uh, Hungary was very nationalistic with Horthy because they lost two thirds of the country after the First World War. And they wanted it back. And we, we were, I was thrilled when uh, when Czechoslovakia was broken up and Hungary got-it was 1938, Hungary got part of that area back, I, I was as patriotic as everybody else. I was thrilled. In school we were, we were celebrating and singing and so on. Well what happened was that after uh, Sep...after 1939, the war broke out. As I told you, gradually they, they started putting in Jewish laws. Now, it doesn't mean they didn't have anti-Semites before because they had lots of 'em. But now it became law and there, for example, you couldn't be, you couldn't be in public service. You couldn't be a teacher, you couldn't be a policeman. You couldn't be a fireman, you couldn't serve in the army. I mean, all these things were gradually put in. Then, then you could uh, uh, if, if you, you, if you, you were, if you had a business uh, you had to have a Aryan partner who owned certain percentage of it. And that's what my father did. They-you just took in one of the employees. But it was like playing a game. You just-one of the employees became his partner. And uh, they started uh, the war broke out actually for Hungary in 1941, when they also declared war against the Soviet Union uh, same time as the Germans did. And then they started drafting uh, Hungarian Jewish males in uh, Hungarian Army. But they were not put in there as, as soldiers, they were put in there as laborers. And uh, that's.

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