Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zoltan Rubin - January 12, 1983

Czechoslovakian Leadership

Do you remember Masaryk?

Do I remember Masaryk? The problem...Masaryk was, for us, Masaryk was, I would compare like Lincoln here. Masaryk was the power. Masaryk was the, the, the...We called him Father. That what his name was, Masaryk, the Czech Masaryk. Father Masaryk, because there was no more, I don't think there was any, any person I heard of who should be so, uh...I mean, I can't find the word for it. I don't think I, I, I heard about anybody so liberal as this man. This man didn't know the diff...this man know one thing: human being. This is the only thing, and he was the pillar. When he died, lots of people said that, that...lots of people felt that this is going to end, it's going to the end. In spite that Beneš took over, in spite that Beneš was pretty good but Beneš was, didn't have the, the, the pull, the strength what he had. And as it proved to be, that's, that's what happened. Then it started.

You told me that Masaryk came to Munkacs once.

The wedding to, uh...When the Munkacs Rebbe made a wedding, he was there. So this is the kind of a President he was.

Do you remember the Sudeten crisis?

I certainly do. The Sudeten crisis, when this...when they started to...when Chamberlain did go back to England, and he says, "We have, we've won, we have peace, we...," that's the problem started. Then already, the Germans kept...There was lots of German Volksdeutsche living in Czechoslovakia all over, in little villages spread out, in little nests, a village here and a village there. This was from before, from a long time ago, and all these people felt that Czechoslovakia, since it was cut out from old Austria and Hungary, that Czechoslovakia should go back to, or to...shouldn't, shouldn't be. And they, they started, they started to. Then the Slovaks became uh, self-sufficient, auto... First they became the Autonomy, the Slovak Autonomy and then they became the... They had the Autonomy then started Hlinka and Tuka and these, all these guys and all these guys...started.

And the Hlinka was the Fascist Party?

Hlinka was the Fascist Party. Then we started, then started...The first thing what they started is to find way to eliminate the Jews because Slovaks basically were anti-Semitic. Maybe like I said before, that in my village, we didn't feel it. We didn't feel it because my father was supporting them so much, all this goyim. He was helping them so much that they, they, not that they didn't dare. For their own benefit, they didn't want to do anything, but I remember...But then when, when Hlinka opened his eyes, when then they opened their eyes, and they started. As a matter of fact, when they took us the first time to camp on the, on the wagon, my neighbor, the next door neighbor said to me, "But now you are going to eat Speck." Speck is uh, chazzer because we didn't eat chazzer because it was treif. He says, but now, "We feel happy that you will eat," like somebody says now you are not going to be so, this was my neighbor, which I always thought, uh, we always thought that he's a good man. So uh, when they started, in 19...then when they started, the first thing they started to find way eliminate, like for instance, my father, we were in grain, we were buying up the grain from the farmers. Now this, this was a business controlled by the government, just like liquor, with liquor you have to have a license, okay? On the license, you have to have your picture. My father had a beard. Okay. I didn't bri...I have a small picture, but it won't show. My father...I should have brought it with me; I could have shown you my parents. You've seen it.

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