Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994

Pre-War Life

Um, tell me a little bit about what you remember of life in Budapest before the war.

Well, interestingly enough, I attended the Reichsdeutsche Schule in Budapest, which is a German uh, private school. But that was one of the best uh, schools there and they, actually they existed o...on, mostly they were uh, Germ...uh, German speaking children went to that school because their parents were employed in one way or another in Hungary uh, sort of manufacturing or in, as workers or whatever. So this is why the school was uh, originally built and established. And those kids they couldn't pay anything they didn't pay and if they, some ??? teach children, they naturally paid. But they also accepted outsiders, I guess they needed the money. It was a quite expensive school, but a wonderful, wonderful school. And I grew up speaking German at school and ??? Hungarian and in a very mixed kind of a um, environment. And my experiences of, really, that school and the Germans there is wonderful. It so what happens, my father died when I was seven and a half years old. And this was an expensive school and my mother didn't know if she could afford it any longer to pay the uh, tuition. And so she went into the school to tell them that she unfortunately will have to pull me out next year and send me to a regular school. And they suggested that she should apply for a reduced uh, tuition, which was unheard of for non--for non-Germans, not--for Jews especially. And without any problem I received half tuition. And when I graduated from the fourth grade, which is elementary school, they suggested that she should apply again because the uh, it was a higher amount for high schools, but that possibly I would get it and I did. So I--my experience there was very pleasant. Uh, my father died when I was very young and from a very well-to-do family, all of a sudden to ??? I was gone. And my mother uh, learned to be a millinery. And also since my father was a banker, through the bank we received the uh, permit to sell uh, lottery tickets, which there went through banks. And between the two, she made a very decent living. And since I can remember as a young girl I always helped in the lottery office or in whatever else. And I had a very nice uh, upbringing with piano lessons and gymnastic and ice-skating and skiing and all the things which most of my friends had.

Were you an only child?

Yes, I was an only child. My father was thirty-four years old when he died, my mother was twenty-nine. And uh, it was a very nice life and I had a nice social life and my mother and I were very close because she was so young. And as you--as I became older we double dated. We had a very, very close relationship. And...

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