Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Paul Molnar - July 24, 2002

Knowledge of Camps

Had you ever heard of Auschwitz?

No, no. I knew nothing about, I knew nothing about what happened to the Jews in Europe. I, I didn't have-I'm not saying that the adults didn't, but even a lot of adults didn't. Then we had a, a, we had a Jewish committee or whatever, I don't know exactly what they were called, which was set up by the Germans.

The Judenrat.

Judenrat. And uh, one of its leaders was uh, my father's first cousin.

What was his name?

His name was uh, Ignac Lumpo. And uh, he came-he talked to us and he said, "You know," he-"everything, nothing's going to happen to us. We're just kept here and cordoned off from the population and we're going to be looked after and while the Germans are bad, the Hungarians are okay and they're going to make sure nothing's going to happen to us." 'Cause he talked to the mayor of the city and everybody said, "Don't worry, you're going to be all right." And, and we did know that by this time uh, Rome fell and also we knew that uh, uh, Allied troops landed in, landed in uh, Normandy. So we all thought that you know this is going to be something-a few more months we're going to be locked in this place. But nothing's going to happen to us because the Germans have a lot more to worry about than us Jews in Rákospalota or anywhere else. I mean, that was my uncle, Ignac was my father's cousin's-we called him uncle-his thinking. And so it was ours. And so you know, go along with whatever inconvenience. It's just a matter of time, I mean, it, this is, this is not something that's going to last. But as it turned out that was the main goal, why they went to Hungary is to do away with the Jews. And they were already deporting Jews all over Poland. See what happened was, they started around the perimeter outside of the-near the borders.


You know, when they were close to the border you know, near to Poland.


And then gradually, they took people from smaller towns, smaller cities. And they didn't, since the capital had maybe and the surrounding area where I lived had maybe half the Jews of the country. That was the toughest nut to crack so that's the one they one they were kind of putting off. So they started deporting-in May they started-people were being deported. And I'm sure the adults knew-I didn't know that. You know, I knew nothing about that. So they just worked there, they gradually. And, and then what happened was on the 6th of July 1944, one night there was a knocking on our building and there were German SS troops and Hungarian gendarmes. The gendarmes were the most anti-Semitic, worst Hungarians. They were, they were not regular police, they were like a national gendarmes. And they had feathers in their caps and they were very nationalistic and also very anti-Semitic 'cause anybody was nationalistic was also anti-Semitic. And they told us that we, we are going to be relocated. They didn't say where or what's going to happen to us. Relocated, so. They said, "You have thirty minutes. Every family can pack one suitcase and you have to be outside because if you're not outside the building we're going to go in there and get you. And if we find you we shoot you." So my mother threw some things in a suitcase and we were outside. And some of the old people, like my grandmother, who at this point had to be in her sixties uh, they were put in a horse drawn wagon because she couldn't walk. I mean, it was-she couldn't have walked. And they marched us down to the railroad station nearby. And uh, at the, at the railroad station they had a big uh, brick factory where they made bricks and they herded us all in there and uh, it wasn't really a railroad station, railroad tracks, I should say. And there were about 15,000 of us Jewish people there. Uh, I know from uh, I know it from you know, reading it was about 15,000, I didn't know it at the time. And these were all the Jews from the suburbs of Budapest, who lived in this suburb-not from Budapest, from the suburbs. And uh, we stayed there overnight and the next morning they brought in uh, fifty uh, cattle cars and they started loading 'em up. They put a hundred person on every cattle car. So first day five thousand people left. Well, we were still there. We were there and we were guarded completely by soldiers and so on. But I have to say that the mayor of Rákospalota was able to arrange it and he sent food for the Jews of Rákospalota who were kept there. They brought in a caravan, they brought us bread and food, drinks and so on.

Had you heard of Wallenberg at that point?

No, no. I-Wallenberg came later.


I was not there.

Not there anymore..

Again, uh.

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