Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Hanna Ramras - January 26, 2008


Do you remember any discussions about Masaryk or Beneš?

Yes. My uncle who was one of the personalities in Bratislava had--I remember seeing photos in my uncles home, he arm in arm with Masaryk and with Beneš. His name--my uncle's name was Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Unsdorfer and the name is known in I'd say in a few continents. He was a great...

He was Orthodox?


He was an Orthodox rabbi?

Yes. Orthodox but not Chasidic, nothing like that--very up to date. If he could speak to the president--both of them--and he was one of the people that wrote to Pope Pius XII who was then in the Vatican, right? "What is happening to the Jewish people is--I hope is known to you. We will not intervene."

First it was Pius XI then it was Pius XII.


First it was Pius XI then it was Pius XII.

Yeah but this was--I'm talking about the XII now.

Yeah, the one who did nothing.

That's right, that's right. My uncle was in touch with him and there was never any response there. So this is what--and Masaryk was loved by Jews.

He was a hero.


Any discussion you recall about Hitler going on in Germany?

Yup. Discussion only in England because let's say I was not politicized nor did I understand politics at that stage of life but I assume that--I heard Chamberlain say, "Not in our time." And I uh, he was believed--people believed him and uh, I said to my uncle, "Is it possible that Hitler may one day invade England?" He said, "Oh, no. See, we are an island. We are surrounded by oceans and besides that we have the British Navy and the British forces and this will never happen in England. There will be no war, you can believe Mr. Chamberlain." And then when war was declared--when England declared war I--that was already in '3...I arrived in '39 in April...

That was September.

That was September. By that time I was already speaking English and I said, "Uncle, you said there would never be a war--that England would never go to war?"

And what did he say?

He said nothing.

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