Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009


The following is an interview with Mrs. Lola Taubman on December 22, 2009 at the University of Michigan--Dearborn. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky. Could you tell me your name please and where you were born?

My name is Lola Taubman and uh, I was born July 15, 1925 in a, in a village called Svalava or Szolyva in Hungarian.

And was this part of the Hungarian Empire? Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

Yes, yes.

And what, what was the name you were born with? The name you were born with?

I uh, I was Lola Goldstein. Goldstein. My, my father's name was uh, Maximilian or Miksa Goldstein and my mother's name was Jenka, or, or Jenny.

And this was in...

It was in Carpathia. The most east...

Carpata Rus.

Carpata Rus.

So it was, the town was called Shaliva?


Szolyva, in Hungarian.


What is Shaliva? Is that...


Shaliva is...

No, has nothing to do with it.

Daughter: It's either Szolyva or Svalava.

Szolyva or Svalava.

Svalava, which is what, Ukrainian?


Czech, okay. Can you tell me a little bit about your life before the war?

Yes. Uh, my mother gave birth to seven children and three died in infancy. I was the oldest of four children, I had three brothers. Uh, they were a year apart and the, the uh, fourth one was uh, born in 1932. So uh, my father was in, in business. We had a whole sale grocery and grain business. And uh, uh, I started in Czech schools. I went for two grades. And when the anti-Semitism started, several of my--my, my parents and several of, of the friends got together and established a Hebrew day school--a one-room school. So I, I started third grade, fourth grade, then fifth grade. After the fifth grade I, I went to gymnasium, which was in Munkacs. You've heard of Munkacs.

I have heard.


So was this a religious gymnasium?

The community was religious, but the ones who started the school were Zionists.


They were religious, but modern religio...streimels. No ???, no ???.

Munkacs had a very famous rebbe.

Rebbe, I know.

Shapiro, was that his name?

Yes, he made it to, to Israel.

Yeah. He was not a fan of Zionism.

Oh, terrible. He used to throw stones at the Zionist students. But our teachers came from all over Europe--from Russia, Poland uh, Slovakia and uh, Hungary. It was a very--one of the best uh, Jewish schools in Europe.

Now was your family very religious?

Well, my father went to shul. My mother went once a, once a month to shul. She had her head covered. But no, no beard--my father would have no beard.

Bord and payes they didn't have.

Right. But you, they had their heads covered, both men and women, and children.

You said there was--anti-Semitism started.


When was that and how did that start?

Uh, it started actually in '39. In '39 when, when uh, Germany occupied first Austria and then Poland and it was getting worse and worse. And by 1942, half of the Jewish population was taken away and they couldn't prove that they were citizens. And we never heard from them again. We knew that they were taken to Poland, but we didn't know where and why.

You said you were in third grade.


So that would have been 1933, '34?

Well, I, I started school '25 uh, in '31. In '31 was first grade.

So '33 maybe.


But was anti-Semitism then that you remember?

It started little by little. They, they did business with the Jews, but they didn't like them. And we had a lot...

Did your father have non-Jewish customers?

Pardon me?

Did your father have non-Jewish customers?

Oh sure, sure they did. And we had a lot of uh, uh, Swabes-Swake.

Swabian, yeah.

...that were living there. The, the, the, the barber was, was German. The ice cream men was--were German and uh, and a lot of Ukrainians. We, the languages we spoke were, were Jewish, Czech, Ukrainian and Hebrew.

So you spoke Yiddish at home?

Yeah, part of the time. Yiddish and Hungarian because they grew up under Austria-Hungary...


...so they spoke Hungarian too. Uh...

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