Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Petrinetz - October 25, 1982


How far did you go in, in school before...



What would you call the--it was, it was um,

[interruption in interview]


It was five grades of elementary school and then it was four years of long high school.

So how far did you go?

So that was it. After that--

You went all the way through nine grades before...

It was nine grades but it was actually... it, it wasn't high school. It wasn't like in this country. It was, it was different. It was uh, I don't, I don't know, it, it has no name here. I don't know how to explain.

Well-- IP:???

How many grades did you uh, go through before...

Five elementary and four more.

So you graduated?

Yes. Yes. But it wasn't...

You remember...

It wasn't...

What year it was?

Uh, 19... 1936.

And how old were you then?

Uh, how old was I then? [pause] About fifteen, sixteen.

And what did you do then after that?

After that, since my brother was gone in uh, forced labor camp, I worked with my father. I helped him. Every day in his business.

You remember what year your brother went to the forced labor camp? Wasn't that thirty... was it in, uh...

Uh, uh...

After the Hungarians came in. Sometimes in 1938 or 1940.

Between '38 and '40?

'38 and '40. Yeah.

What kind of religious uh, or not a religious home did you have?

We lived in orthodox home. My mother was more religious than my father. My father was a very modern man, but he loved his wife and he went along with her wishes. She kept a kosher house, she wouldn't put on the lights on Saturday, she wouldn't travel on Saturday. She was a very modern orthodox woman. My father traveled all over Europe through his business.

What kind of business was it?

It was transportation. He was a self-made man. He started, as I started to tell you, he dropped out of school and he started with one horse and wagon. He used to tell me, he used to walk the horse, hold onto the horse barefooted, and walk for miles, you know from going from one small town into a village and picking up things and bringing it. And he built up a beautiful, successful business. He had um, a truck. He had horses for the city transportation. He had uh, sort of a covered uh, wagons, which they loaded on trains. They packed it with furniture. And it was going through the country all over. He was a very successful business man. He didn't have a big education, but he was intelligent, well-read. He loved reading. He was ambitious. He loved his family. [crying] And I idolized him.

Where there any...

But the...

What, what...go ahead.

No. I wasn't gonna say anything.

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