Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Agi Rubin - December 19, 1984

Hungarian Occupation

You said that things started to change around 1938?

It was '39, when the Hungarians reoccupied the place. We were really started being hit at that point. As I said, schools were closed, private schools were, only Hungarian schools were allowed, we had Russian schools, we had Hebrew schools, we had Czech schools, everything was closed except for the Hungarian school.

What did you do as a child not being able to go to school?

It was terrible, we were just going from whoever would take us in. Now we had one day they allowed the school and one day it was on and off so we were hope for date where they would open. That was the still elementary school. But in my particular case, my mother had a girlfriend who was a teacher in one of the Hungarian elementary schools, said look, you can't let the child not go to school, that is not education. So, I uh, they enrolled me to the Hungarian school for that one year. But then the following year, they reorganized a Hebrew girls' school and all of us that couldn't attend the previous year, we all went back and we were like reunited with our friends again.

How long did that last?

Until 1944, for four years. Through first gymnasia, which was the fifth. You finished four gymnasium, actually like fifth gymnasium here.

What else besides the schools changed in 1939? How did you know you had become Hungarians? What did that mean?

They just marched in, and you were only allowed to speak Hungarian. And I think some people were very happy about it. They were Hungarians, they were born as Hungarians and the city itself spoke, the language was no barrier because everybody spoke Hungarian. They spoke Czech, they spoke Russian, because that was little Russian, not the Cyrillic Russian. They spoke Jewish, they spoke German, so the Hungarians can, they spoke Hungarian. And, uh some people were very great idealists as Hungarians and they didn't realize what this new Hungarian would do for collaboration with the Germans. Those people were from the Austro-Germany yet. Those were the years that these generations remembered, not the new kind.

The Hapsburg Empire?


When the Hungarians came, did they pass laws right away? What did the Czechs do or the non-Jews do when the Hungarians came?

Well the Czechs were hoping, they had a little fight going on. They were hoping that one part of the city would remain Czechoslovakia. In fact, that's the time when my father packed his family and said we are moving to this suburb because that is going to remain Czechoslovakia. Uh, very short time after they were just driven out of the city, which was their home town, they were born there, but they were Czechs.

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