Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994


And were you registered...


...as Jews?

...as, name, religion, address, phone number, etc. So there was no such a thing as, as denying it. Uh, and it was never a problem not to. I mean, nobody would think of not registering as a Jew because there really was not any problem being a Jew. So as soon as these orders came out to turn in your valuables and so on and so on and so on, the only uh, way out of that or hope to save this was if you had a Gentile friend who would keep it for you. Like when you go into my living roo...or dining room you will see this gorgeous silver set which is one of a kind, old world. Uh, my father was very wealthy. And I wasn't going to turn that in, so we asked a Gentile family to hide it, to keep it as their own. ??? to get it back or not, but it was certainly a better way than turning it in. As happens I got it back. A lot of things I didn't get back, but this I did. And--so the only way uh, what we saw that we can do is try to--if the laws get worse and we didn't know from day to day what's going to happen, then try to hide. Because to go into a ghetto was--sounded like the most horrible thing to me. Knowing that that's not the end. And we really didn't know what's going to be, but we already started hearing about relocation. And the uh, the families and friends we had in the small towns were writing letters and saying goodbye forever because we were going to be taken away from this ghetto and we don't know where and we don't know if we ever see each other. It was a foreboding without knowing really what's going to happen.

And your friend in the police, did he...

He uh, he was dismissed because he had a Jewish wife.

Is this the time when the uh, the gendarmes and the Arrow Cross became...



Yes, yes. For instance uh, well the laws, if I tell you that what was a law today was not tomorrow, I think sounds very crazy here. But we had kind of had a saying, what's good today is not good tomorrow. So what you felt safe in doing, let's say they had, one of the laws came out that if you worked for a manufacturing uh, some kind of a, a factory or, or establishment which manufactured war material, whether it be a light bulb for whatever uh, and you worked for that, then you were exempt into going into, whether it's a ghetto or whether... In Budapest they didn't start with a ghetto, what they started with they designated big apartment houses with a yellow star. And--for instance, where we lived, which was in the middle of downtown section, a very desirable section because my mother had a millinery shop and that was the fashion uh, street of Budapest, we had to leave there and we had to move into one of these homes, in one of these apartment houses which were designated for a yellow star. Now it so happens my grandmother lived in, in one of the apartment houses which is designated with a yellow star. So naturally we moved into her apartment. And the rul...uh, rules and regulations were that one room was for a whole family regardless if it was three people or six people or ten people. One room in an apartment. Well my grandmother had a three-bedroom apartment. And since her name was different than ours, she had her room, which they never checked out if she was alone, because if they would have she wouldn't have had it. So she lived in one room and my mother and I lived in another room, which was in our name. And a third family was put into her third bedroom. And in the beginning that still didn't sound like, it wasn't a ghetto and we were still free to go. Except a few days later you could only be out on the street between like two and four in the afternoon. So naturally we were restricted. I, I got myself a job in one of these factories where if anything further would happen I would be exempted because I worked for the war effort. Except I had to be there at six o'clock in the morning and I wasn't supposed to be in the street. And worked 'til--so these were the confusing laws, you know. It was legal for me to work there, but it was not legal for me to go, go in the street and get there.

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