Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Schey - June 10, 1994

Hungarian Anti-Semitism

Um, do you remember hearing about the Arrow Cross Party?

Not then yet. That was, that was quite a bit later because already on the--well, we knew it existed, but it wasn't a big threat. They were not that strong and they don't--naturally, you have to understand that Hungary had the numerus clausus laws from way back. Uh, you know what that means?

Mm-hm. It was six percent.

Yeah. So that existed for years. But uh, when the war broke out and when we were really involved, I think that was one of the ways that Hungary was able to keep the Germans out of Hungary because they complied with these rules and regulations, uh. And the universities had quite a few uh, anti-Semitic uprisings and the Arrow Cross then started getting more involved. We in school didn't fear that, but the universities did. The more--the older ones already had quite a few uh, clashes and, and fights and, and things going on.

Did, did you know S...Szálasi's name?

Oh yes, oh yes. It was, it was the red, red flag. Absolutely. Uh, even--I don't know, do you have any other questions?


Until March 19...of '44 when the German Army marched in and that is a day which--as much as I don't remember a lot of things, that I will never forget. Uh, Budapest is a town which is divided by the Danube and it's--the Buda hills are really beautiful. And it was customary for young people on, on Sundays to take outings into the hills. And Sunday afternoon, about six, seven o'clock in the evening, coming back from one of these outings, through the uh, bridges from the Buda side to the Pest side, we see hundreds of, of uh, trucks and tanks and full of German soldiers. And this was not the case before. We hadn't seen any German soldiers in Hungary. And it was a very frightening sight. And I remember one of my friend's uh, brother-in-law was a uh, the captain--maybe not captain, I don't know exactly what his, what his uh, uh, not sure what his title was in the Hungarian uh, police department. He was a, a big shot. And as soon as I got home my girlfriend called that her brother-in-law called and said everything was taken over by the Germans already. The radio stations, the police stations. There was no television at that time. Uh, all the news, the papers--the newspapers. And he doesn't know what's going to be, but stay home. Don't, don't leave the house. Actually, nobody felt like leaving the house anyway.

Now he was with the gendarmes.

Yes, yes. No. The gendarmes were csen...

Were different police.

No, this was the police. No.


It's not the same. He was in, in one of the city offices, the, the head of that department. I don't know exactly what his title would be. Captain, I think. And he just called her and said, "Be sure you stay home, we don't know what's going to be." That, "We are completely--we have no power anymore." The Germans took over unbelievably within hours. Everything. Radio, newspapers, police stations. Gendarmerie came later. That was when already the Arrow Cross and the--that was just the beginning, the first couple of days. Uh...

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