Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994

Searching for Family

When did you find out about members of your family?

I don't think they started coming back 'til the summer of '45. Both from labor camps and from concentration camps. Until then we didn't know. Other than that. I mean, one night my boyfriend came back and we ??? him downstairs and we, the caretaker knew him. And started calling, "Miss! Miss! Such and such is here..."

[interruption in interview]

...??? people, we, who were friends of family members, started coming back and, and that's how we found out. We really did not know until then what was going on, how it was going on, who was alive and who wasn't. And from the small towns hardly anybody came back. Really, I would say ninety percent of the surviving Hungarian Jews survived in Budapest. Very, very few from--there was hardly anybody hiding in the uh, in the small towns. And those few who survived the concentration camp were the only ones who came back. So we had family in two different uh, towns in ??? and in ??? and not, not one of them came back. Young or old, not one. And that's all we heard about how and what, and uh, one of them was a s...second or third cousin was a doctor who uh, at the time when the deportations the--not the deportations but the, the ghettos started in the small town and the, and the men were taken into slave labor camps. He was told by, he was a very well known gynecologist. And he was told by one of his uh, patients, I mean, her husband who was in a high position in the government, he said, "If you as a doctor volunteer as a, uh..." I don't know what the name for that is--a country doctor who, who works in a certain area in the country. Is there a name for that, that?

General practitioner?

No, no, no, particularly for a, a, let's say a farm communities, three or four farm communities that he would go from one place to the other. There was a, a Hungarian expression, I don't know what it is in English. So if he would volunteer for that that he would probably escape being caught for slave labor camp. And he volunteered and he went up to ??? somewhere up in the, in the northern part of Hungary with his mother. And he was doing this for maybe two or three months and then he was taken to Auschwitz with his mother. So he didn't escape it there either. But why did I start to say this though?

There were people who came back.

Oh, he came back.

Oh he did, he survived.

He survived. His mother didn't. Came back looking like this. And he was t...he, that's how we started knowing the stories. What went--I mean, not 'til then. Not 'til then we were aware of the gas chambers or how these labor camps, nothing. We knew that they were in slave labor camp and that they were taken East.

Was there ever a time when you, during the war or after, saw some of your schoolmates from German school?

No, we uh, this--by the time things normalized, it was middle of '45. Q:???

And uh, I don't think there was anyone. And we left in '46. We left Hungary in 1946. You see Leslie, my husband, had a visa to come to the United States in 1941. He was--his luggage and all his belongings was already in Lisbon to take a boat from Portugal, from Lisbon. And uh, his parents were here, his parents were here since 1939. And when they came--that's another long story, I don't want to get into. If you wants, ask Leslie he will tell you the story. But anyway, he was ready to leave the day Pearl Harbor happened. And he was taken off the airplane. Because he was in the age where he would become, go into the army. So why did I start to say this now?

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