Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

The Munich Conference

Do you remember the Munich Conference?

Well I've read about it afterwards but when I was a child it didn't mean anything to me. I knew that we had to--Hitler was coming and we had to get out.

Because of the Munich Conference.

Yes, because of the Munich Conference but I didn't take much notice of it afterwards he marched into the whole of Czechoslovakia and that I remember as well.

In March?

The March was later. But the first day he came my father had a friend on a border town where he, where he marched in and this friend phone him at four in the morning that Hitler's marching in. When he marched in there were, there were posters up that--of ??? brothers, anybody who is bringing an ??? brother gets a surprise on the head because he didn't find the money they had left out with everything. They didn't leave anything behind. He thought he would find God knows what. And my father and his brothers went over the mountains to Poland, and one went to Hungary, and some went England. Two had businesses in England so they were there and that's how they got out from the men. And my oldest cousin--he was already over 18--so he also went with them and he didn't survive, I think he was the second--the other person who didn't survive.

Kristallnacht, was this before or after?

Before. Thirty-eight--well no, it was the same time about. Kristallnacht was in November and we left all in October. Our synagogue--the non-Jewish--the non-reli...sorry, it wasn't--it was Jewish--the non-religious synagogue, they burnt on Kristallnacht, it was completely gone. Now this, of course, I found out much later.

What did you feel as a child with all these awful things happening forcing you to move and...

Well, I didn't realize what made me--I just realized one thing, one day we were rich people and one day we had nothing, we didn't even have a roof over our heads. We didn't even have where to sleep. And why we had to prepare food didn't eat anything but kosher but we found food, you know, you can get things like vegetables, you could get bread and cheeses and things so we were all right for that but we couldn't cook, not until we were in that hotel. And then we cooked for six months. The cooking going on there, you could smell the fish on Friday nights.

So, your mother continued to make fish even in the hotel.

Yes, in the hotel. Well we had to, we lived six months there. My brother was a baby, he was a very small boy.

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