Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zwi Steiger - March 27, 1982

Joining the Local Militia

And after you finished...

I lost a few years in between because I--from the eighth grade--from a Czech school I had to switch to a Hebrew school and I had to take some, some extra courses in, in, in Hebrew. I mean, I fell back because of--I wasn't getting ready. I didn't prepare myself to go to a gymnasium.

What's the gymnasium?

The--that's the high school--the Hebrew high school.

The one you referred to...


...in uh, Munkacs and Ungvar?

...yeah, yeah, but you know, you ask, you--Czechoslovakia started falling apart uh, earlier as you know, in '38--in, in the spring of '38 after the Hitler annexed uh, Austria, there was a mobile...mobilization in Czechoslovakia because there were some reports that he may try to invade Czechoslovakia in, in the spring of '38. And I was--at that time in Munkacs, I was sixteen years old. And Hungarian infiltrators that uh, tried to sabotage and uh, explode certain areas were coming in. And they asked us to join the, the local militia. I remember at that time getting a, a gun and, uh...

Some training?

And uh, training was about half an hour. The training just how to shoot and uh, establishing a post to guard the, the waterworks.

How much older was--is your brother?

My brother is about sixteen months older.

So where was he at this time?

He--in '38 he was uh, he graduated in '38.


From the gymnasium.


Yeah, and in '38 he went to--in the fall, he had a hard time getting into any uh, the Czechs at that time started giving a hard time to the Jews. Because in '38, if you remember--in October the Sudeten were already taken by the Germans. He was in Prague at that time and I think he was studying uh, engineering. And he stayed there 'til uh, 'til March of '39, when we became Hungary. The Czech Republic fell apart completely and Hitler invaded uh, Prague. He stayed there 'til that time and then he made his way back to our hometown through Czechoslovakia and Hungary. And he stayed at home 'til uh, '40, 1940--the spring of 1940 when he left for Israel.

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