Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Petrinetz - October 25, 1982

Extended Family

What kind of extended family or family did you have in Uzhgorod before...

Well, for my mother's side there was a brother who had a family; who had a wife a daughter my age and a son a year older than I who never came back. Actually, nobody from my mother's side--only that one daughter, one cousin--survived, who lives today in New York. Nobody else.

Survived the war?

Survived the war.

How many people?

There were uh, five.

From your mother's side?

No, but--from my mother's side. Nobody came back. From my father's side, his mother died. The old aunt whom I mentioned was taken with us.

What happened to her?

Gas chamber. She was a cripple. She had a birth defect on her back. So I'm sure she was gassed immediately. I mean, I were... I still remember vividly her screaming, yelling. She was old. She didn't know what was happening, she had no idea. They tore her apart from us and pushed her through another side. Never saw her.

You mentioned...

My father's parents were dead. My father was a--there were nine children. And I said his father died when he was very young. He dropped out of school and he started with one horse and wagon to support the family. He was--my father was the oldest. And there were eight children behind him.

And the--all those brothers and sisters of your father lived in Uzhgorod area?

There--they, they did. Whatever, what, what--to my recollection I was already there was only his younger brother, one sister, and a half sister in this country. That's all. The rest were not alive. They're deceased previously.

Previous to the war?

Previous to the war, yes. One died very young and uh, I--act, actually my grandmother was married twice.

Your father's mother?

My father's mother.

And the brother...

And the...

And sister and the half sister...

One half sister lives here in New York. And...

Came here before the war?

Came here before the war. And lived here. This one brother who got the dog--the dog lover...

Right.

Morris.

His last name was Thurman?

Thurman, yes. He came...

???

He came to this uh, country in 19...around 1919 or 1920. Something like that. And Uncle Adolf, who is now in California. So the three of us came to this country: Uncle Adolf, Marcel, and I. That's all survived. There was nobody left.

You said your father had a sister who was still around in Uzhgorod at the time of the war.

That was, yeah.

What happened to her?

She was married. She has a son living in Chicago. They were taken also. Her family...

Including the son? Your...

Uh, uh, what?

Your cousin? Including...

Well one son survived. He's in Chicago. The rest perished.

Okay. This aunt, your father's sister...

Yeah?

Who was married and had how many children?

She had uh, one... two boys and a girl.

Okay, and they were all taken at the same time you were?

Uh, no. No. Because they were also taken into forced labor camp, the two, two boys.

Okay.

One died in Budapest, Hungary after the war. He was sick from the war and he died. And the older one is in Chicago.

Okay. And this and the daughter?

The daughter is still in Hungary. But she was never in a concentration camp. She was hiding somewhere in Yugoslavia.

So just the parents were taken, your aunt and uncle.

The parents, yes. The parents were taken. And the...

To Auschwitz also?

To Auschwitz also.

And they both died there?

They both died there. Yeah.

I thought you mentioned that you had an uncle living in your house.

Yes. He was single. He's the one, Uncle Adolph, who lives in California.

Okay.

He wasn't home when we were taken.

Okay. That's what I wanted to--

He was in the Hungarian army. And then later on when the Hungarian arm--army wouldn't have any Jewish soldiers, he was transferred into forced labor camp. He was in Russia also. And when the war ended already, the Russians imprisoned him. He didn't come home until the middle of 1945, 'til he got out of Russian prison camp. And that's when we were already reunited in, in Uzhgorod.

With your brother Marcel?

With Marcel, this uncle, I came to this country. And Uncle Adolph who lived here since 1920 in this country, he send us the papers.

You mean Uncle Morris.

Uncle Morris. I don't know where or how we found an address of him in this country and we wrote to him. So...he, he started to get things rolling and sending us papers. And it took three years until we got uh, visas to come to this country.


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